Following the “European Week of Regions and Cities” which took place in Brussels from the 7th to 10th October 2019, Wexford County Council was delighted to play our part in promoting the various projects that are supported by EU funding under its remit, through an Open Morning at County Hall on Momday last 14th October 2019,
The event was attended by members of the public and elected representatives where they learned more about the European co-funded projects currently underway here in County Wexford. A total of eight Projects are being funded and representatives were on hand to answer questions and promote in relation to each project.
Ireland Wales European Territorial Co-Operation (4 Projects)
The Ireland Wales 2014-2020 European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) programme is a maritime programme connecting organisations, businesses and communities on the West coast of Wales with the South-East coast of Ireland. The programme is one of a family of ETC programmes which provide opportunities for regions in the EU to work together to address common economic, environmental and social challenges.
The Ireland Wales programme focuses on seeking solutions to shared challenges on both sides of the Irish sea, to improve the economic and sustainable development priorities of Wales and Ireland, focussing on such issues as cross-border innovation, Adaptation of the Irish Sea and Coastal Communities to Climate Change, Cultural and Natural Resources and Heritage.
The Welsh Government manages the programme with partners, the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA) and the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER). The overall value of the programme is €100m, utilising €79m from the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The BUCANIER operation seeks to increase innovation capacity within SMEs and social enterprises by collaborating with Higher Education institutions and other public bodies across the Ireland Wales Programme area. BUCANIER will invest in ideas for the design, development, testing and delivery of new products, processes and services by applying design based innovation that will bring new product/service ideas closer to the commercial market thereby contributing to the increase in cross-border productivity. BUCANIER intends to increase the number of cross-border collaborative research, development and innovation (RD&I) clusters and networks between research institutions and SMEs. The operation will work with renewable energy, food and drink and life science sectors across the Irish Sea Border.
The CELTIC ROUTES project aims to encourage visitors to explore new areas of Wales and Ireland en route to their final tourist destination, primarily through marketing and promotion. Led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the project will focus on the areas of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion in Wales and Waterford, Wicklow and Wexford in Ireland.
It aims to transform less well known areas from transit zones to new touring sites, increasing the time visitors spend in these regions and capitalising on the opportunities to boost local economies.
The project will be developed through customer research, trade events and workshops as well as cross border visits by businesses in Ireland and Wales to bring together expertise and ideas. The aim is to increase the visitor appeal of the targeted areas, including through the development of new trails linking local culture, heritage and the natural environment.
“REDISCOVERING ANCIENT CONNECTIONS – THE SAINTS” seeks to revive the ancient links between communities in Pembrokeshire and Wexford using our shared heritage of St David and his pupil and protégé St Aidan. St David is the patron saint of Wales, commemorated in the city of St David’s where he spent much of his life, whilst St Aidan is closely associated with Wexford, in particular Ferns.
One objective of the operation is to motivate both communities to rediscover their shared heritage; to be a mentor for each other; and to share knowledge, experience and skills. Another is to use this shared heritage as a means of attracting people to the cross-border region, specifically to Wexford and to Pembrokeshire (both “coastal communities”), who would not otherwise do so.
PORTS - PAST AND PRESENT. The Project aims to bring life and colour to the ports, enhancing the experience of modern travellers of all ages and interests, and encouraging people to spend longer in these towns. It aims to work with tourism stakeholders and local communities to make passing tourist aware of the deep history of these places.
The project teams will produce information in various formats, working with port authorities, tourism agencies, and local artists and writers to generate new tourism sites/sights/traffic, and commission creative works in the visual arts, literature and film. New audiences will be sought through digital technology including apps and social media. Irish and Welsh language material will be fully integrated throughout the project content.
Designated Urban Centres Grant Schemes, European Regional Operational Programme
The Southern & Eastern Regional Programme 2014-20 is a funding package of approx. €500 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Irish Exchequer.
Wexford County Council has one project under the Designated Urban Centres Grant Scheme in this Programme, which aims to improve the urban environment and revitalise urban areas. CRESCENT QUAY is a central site within the Economic and Spatial Strategy project area and represents a unique feature of Wexford town’s public realm. It is proposed to transform the Crescent into an active public space, reduce vehicular dominance and enhance the public realm. The development of a mix of commercial and public realm spaces will make the area a landmark feature within the town. Additionally, enhanced connectivity with the Main Street, Trinity Wharf and the Quays forms an integral part of the proposal.
Wexford County Council has secured €1.0m under ERDF funding which, with matching funding from the council will provide a budget of €2.2m for the initial public realm enhancement project.
The Priority Objectives of the Designated Urban Centres Grant Scheme is to:
- To support low carbon sustainable, multimodal urban mobility in designated urban centres.
- To revitalise, regenerate and improve the urban environment in the designated urban centres as part of integrated urban strategies.
Local Enterprise Office - European Regional Operational Programme
The Regional Operational Programme Priority Objectives for this Programme are to increase employment levels in micro-enterprises in the Southern and Eastern region by supporting business start-ups, business expansion and higher innovation levels in micro-enterprises.
The LOCAL ENTERPRISE OFFICES (LEO’s) support innovative and growth oriented micro-enterprise business start-ups and expansions. They have a particular emphasis on supporting potential high-growth and growth sectors through the provision of business information, advisory services, capability building, mentoring and financial supports.
Financial supports are targeted at value added micro-enterprises in the manufacturing and potential international traded services activities, which do not lead to deadweight and/or displacement. The non-financial supports are broader, ranging from business advice, mentoring and specific capability development training for start-up and micro enterprises.
The Local Enterprise Office is the First Stop Shop for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. There are 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network and Local Enterprise Offices offer you a wide range of experience, skills and services. Under the banner of “Making it Happen” Local Enterprise Offices have tailored solutions delivered to Pre-Start, Start and Grow enterprises in the Region. These solutions are important in:
- Driving the development of local enterprise, putting local micro and small business at the heart of job creation in Ireland.
- Driving and supporting business start-ups and promotion of a ‘can-do’ business culture.
- Increasing the job potential of new and existing micro and small businesses.
- Increasing the number of innovative businesses with potential to export.
- Proactively responding to the needs of their clients.
The funding is invested in the S&E region of Ireland under five priority areas, Strengthening RTDI, ICT Infrastructure, SME Supports, Low Carbon Economy, and Sustainable Urban Development.
Leader - European Social Fund
LEADER grant aid of almost €8million will be invested in innovative community and enterprise projects throughout the county between now and 2020.
The LEADER Programme is 63% funded by the EU & 37% by the Irish Exchequer and focuses on promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas. Wexford Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) in partnership with Wexford Local Development (WLD) has responsibility for the delivery of the new Programme in County Wexford under the remit of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs.
Following a public consultation process across the county, a number of key objectives which focus on Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Rural Environment have been agreed. These objectives reflect the key challenges facing Co Wexford with regard to economic recovery, employment creation, tackling social exclusion and on a national level, reducing the impact of global warming and resource depletion. The objectives cover the key areas in need of the greatest support and are sufficiently broad and flexible to facilitate a wide range of projects throughout the county.
SICAP – Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme – European Social Fund.
SICAP 2018-2022 is funded by the Irish Government through the Department of Rural and Community Development and co-funded by the European Social Fund under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.
The funding Programme is aimed at tackling tackle poverty, social exclusion and long-term unemployment through local engagement and partnership between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies to make a real difference to those in our communities that are suffering disadvantage.
SICAP provides a range of supports to targeted individuals and groups including:
- Community development support for projects and participation
- Educational supports for children, families and young people
- Training and Education
- Enterprise Supports
- Work placement programmes
- Youth employment supports
The programme is funded in Co. Wexford by Wexford Local and Community Development Committee (LCDC) who are the contracting authority, as part of the national programme funded by the Department of Rural & Community Development
Free to use attached photo : Support staff of EU co-funded projects attend EU Day at County Hall
Notes for Editor:
The newest edition of the Eurobarometer shows that Ireland is among the most pro-European member states with 89% of respondents to their latest survey stating that membership has benefitted the country and 69% saying that their voice counts in the EU that compares to an EU average of 68% and 56% respectively.
This year's EU elections also marked a record turn-out. The results of the post-electoral Eurobarometer survey, one of the most comprehensive quantitative surveys on the last European elections publicly available show that the turnout was mainly driven by enthusiastic young voters across the continent.
“The very significant boost in voter turn-out in May’s European elections shows that people, especially the younger generation, value their democratic rights and believe that the European Union is stronger when acting in unison to address their concerns,” commented David Sassoli, recently elected President of the European Parliament.