Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) announces plans for investment in 5 regional cities

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), has announced plans for investment programmes in each of Ireland’s 5 regional cities – Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kilkenny.

The new initiative will be a cornerstone of ISIF’s new investment strategy, being launched today, and will result in major investment being targeted to each city in the form of new places to work, places to live and enabling investments resulting in regeneration of our regional city centres. ISIF, in addition, will target investments at emerging and scaling businesses in the regional cities and other opportunities to support sustainable growth.

While ISIF’s statutory mandate to invest for a commercial return in investments that support economic activity and investment in Ireland remains unchanged, the focus of the new strategy will be on long-term transformational investments addressing key strategic challenges facing the country. These include climate action, housing and enabling infrastructure, scaling indigenous businesses, and food and agriculture.

Other key elements of the new strategy include:

− The scaling-up of successful start-up businesses to enable them to reach the €1 billion “unicorn” valuation within 5 years.

− ISIF funding the delivery of 25,000 new homes by 2030 through a range of equity and debt investments. The new initiative will build on ISIF’s existing delivery of housing, which has seen it already commit €950 million to housing investments that are on course to deliver 16,000 new homes over the coming years.

− ISIF’s previously-announced plans to invest €1 billion in transformational climate action investments that will support Ireland’s transition to a Net Zero low-carbon economy.

− Investments will focus on four key themes: Housing and enabling infrastructure; Climate; Scaling Businesses; and Food and Agriculture. Existing priority themes of Brexit and Regional Development will be incorporated in each of the 4 new themes.

− ISIF will retain the flexibility to invest outside of these 4 themes if necessary, using a new pool of capital under a National & Compelling theme which will be dedicated to unforeseen macroeconomic events such as the shock triggered by the Covid pandemic.

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, said:

“I welcome the launch of ISIF’s new Investment Strategy with its focus on long-term transformational investments addressing key strategic challenges facing the country including climate action, housing, scaling indigenous businesses, and food and agriculture.

I am greatly reassured by the fact that ISIF retains the flexibility to invest outside of those 4 themes, if necessary, using a new pool allocated to National & Compelling investments, dedicated to unforeseen macroeconomic events such as the shock triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Having this flexibility allows the Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund (PSRF), established in response to the pandemic, to be wound down.

I am also very pleased to see that a cornerstone of the strategy is a €500 million city-specific investment programme to unlock the full economic potential of Ireland’s 5 regional cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kilkenny.”

ISIF Director Nick Ashmore said:

“Our new strategy shows just how flexible and adaptable ISIF can be in targeting its resources in the most effective manner possible to support economic activity and employment in Ireland, by addressing the critical challenges facing the state through transformational investments.

We are planning a material step-up in our regional investments with a new initiative to unlock the economic potential of our 5 regional cities by backing transformational projects in each.

This programme will generate economic benefits, supporting employment and making Ireland a more sustainable, competitive and attractive place both for the people who live here and the employers who can create jobs for them.

Our new strategy also sets out a range of investment programmes that will back scaling-up businesses; deliver additional housing to build on our progress to date; and underpin the ambition displayed in our domestic food and agri sector, which has become a true global success story.”

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