Government commits €84.5m to midlands Just Transition

The Government has agreed to 100% match the proposed €84.5m allocation from the EU Just Transition Fund for the midlands region.

The Just Transition Fund is designed to support communities transitioning to a low carbon economy.

Minister of State Pippa Hackett, speaking following Cabinet’s consideration of the draft Territorial Just Transition Plan today, welcomed Government’s agreement to match EU funding as well as the details of the draft priorities for investment.

The decision confirms that the EU Just Transition fund allocation will be 100% matched with Exchequer resources, allowing for a combined total allocation of up to €168.9m over the period up to 2027.

Up to €84.5 million has been earmarked for Ireland under the EU Just Transition Fund over the period to 2027.

It had been stated that the Government would complement this with Exchequer resources at a co-funding rate of between 30% to 50%.

Minister Hackett said: “I have pushed for Exchequer funding to be 100% and today’s decision is an endorsement by Government of the importance and the direction of the Just Transition Plan and Programme.”

The decision was made as the Government considered the draft territorial Just Transition plan at Cabinet today.

The draft plan, which sets out how Ireland proposes to invest funding from the EU Just Transition Fund, followed a public consultation process earlier this year.

The plan after being agreed by Government is to be submitted to the European Commission for approval

Minister Hackett said: “This draft plan forms the basis for negotiations with the European Commission and ultimately the EU Just Transition Fund allocation for the Midlands region. Time is of the essence and I am delighted that the draft plan will now proceed to the European Commission for observations and negotiation.”

She said the decision on the plan will allow organisations in the midlands to finetune their proposals for future funding.

‘Today’s Government decision on the draft Territorial Just Transition Plan is a trigger point for agencies, local authorities, business communities and social enterprises to align their activities to one or more of the priorities and fine tune project proposals. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Midlands region to invest in our future, a future of vibrant and viable, inclusive rural and urban communities.’

Minister Hackett outlined that the draft Plan proposes 3 priority areas for investment:

“Priority 1, with an indicative allocation of €94m, proposes to support local initiatives through a competitive grants scheme as well as regional tourism and enterprise strategies.

“Priority 2, with an indicative value of €50m, supports innovative approaches to regeneration and repurposing of land. Priority 2 includes a particularly exciting proposal for the development of a Centre of Excellence to undertake research on farming on peat soils in the Midlands.

“Priority 3 focuses on the development of sustainable transport in the territory through investments by the National Transport Authority in the decarbonisation of existing routes and fleets and will contribute to increasing the capacity of environmentally friendly public transport in the Midlands,” she added.