Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced the successful award recipients under the Shared Island Local Authority Development Funding Scheme.
One of the successful applicants is Waterford City and County Council, which, in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, has been awarded almost €250,000 in order to initiate regeneration projects in Portlaw and Dunmore East in Waterford along with the partner communities of Portglenone and Glenarm in Antrim.
Nationally, more than €4.3m has been allocated to 15 lead local authorities in the South, working in partnership with nine Councils in Northern Ireland to develop collaborative cross-border investment projects over the next 12 months.
The successful projects are spread across a range of sectors including biodiversity, tourism, decarbonisation, the circular economy, rural and urban regeneration, education, business innovation, and cultural and creative industries.
The scheme, which is funded by the Shared Island Fund and managed by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, enables local authorities to progress feasibility and development work on new joint investment projects, which deliver local and regional development goals.
In announcing the successful projects, the Taoiseach said, “The Government is proud to support each of these 25 projects, as we work with all communities and political traditions on this island for a shared, reconciled future, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.”
The Waterford project, concentrating on the communities of Portlaw and Dunmore East, will specifically look at vacant, derelict and underutilised properties and facilities in these towns with a view towards their regeneration and repurposing and with a medium-term aim to source further Shared Island funding in order to advance the actual re-construction and regeneration of the sites.
In order to be successful, this will require significant collaborative effort – across communities, across state agencies and indeed across our shared border, working with community groups, property owners, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders to ensure the success of the project.
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary, said that he was delighted with the award and that the Council was looking forward to working with our local authority colleagues in Mid and East Antrim. “Any initiative which supports greater understanding, increased cooperation and shared commitment across our island, and, in particular, across our North-South communities has to welcomed. Waterford will do its very best in order to make this relationship a fruitful one.”
Richie Walsh, Head of Rural Development with Waterford City and County Council added, “This is the first time that Waterford has been successful in a Shared Island funding application and we look forward to working with our Northern Ireland partners in order to deliver a really successful project, a project that is not just successful in its own right but one that can act to leverage further North-South cooperation, local authority linkages and, indeed, funding opportunities.”