Border, Midland and Western Region Operational Programme

Ireland

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The European Commission will actively participate in the development of Ireland by co-financing the Objective 1 programme for the Border, Midland and Western Region during the 2000-2006 period. As concerns regional development policy, Ireland is no longer considered as a single entity but has been divided in two separate regions. The programme falls within the Community Support Framework for Ireland and focuses on local infrastructure, local enterprise development, agriculture and rural development, as well as social inclusion and childcare. The Community will finance EUR 400.251 million out of the programme's total co-financed cost of EUR 805.92 million.

1. Action Priorities

The programme revolves around four priority areas.

Priority 1 : Local infrastructure
Improving non-national roads will be vital for linking the region's strategic transport infrastructure, to fortify tourist routes, and to provide access to ports and airports. Investment schemes for rural water and waste infrastructure will be important under this priority as will be urban and village development to rejuvenate the fabric of cities, urban areas, and villages. An emphasis will also be put on information society infrastructure to help peripheral, remote and less developed areas benefit from the advancements of the emerging new economy. In the same light, research and technological development and innovation facilities will be improved to increase the local employment opportunities for graduates of third level institutes.

Priority 2 : Local enterprise development
Measures under this priority will seek to tap into the entrepreneurial skills at the local level and to target projects where market failure has been demonstrated. Access to risk capital and in-company training will be particularly important. Tourism will be targeted in the less visited regions, commercial forestry will be encouraged to foster employment and environmental benefits, and infrastructural investments are planned in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

Priority 3 : Agriculture and rural development
Overall, the objective of this priority will be to ensure that primary agriculture becomes more competitive, to provide alternative sources of income for farmers through the diversification of their activities, to foster environmentally sustainable systems of production, and to promote rural development through community development at the local level.

Priority 4 : Social inclusion and childcare
The programme will support investments to improve and diversify the childcare facilities in the region to enable more parents, especially women, to reintegrate the workforce or to take up second-chance education and training opportunities.

2. Description of the eligible areas

During the previous funding period from 1994 to 1999 the Irish economy developed from a GDP per capita well below the EU average to a point where it reached parity in 1998. The high unemployment and budget deficits of the past are now the skills shortages and budgetary surpluses of a booming economy.

Although all regions have benefited from the rapid pace of economic growth, the recent pattern of development, including the increasing urbanisation and centralisation of economic activity, has highlighted imbalances between and within regions that have justified the designation of two new territorial entities in view of EU intervention.

While the GDP in the Southern and Eastern Region increased rapidly, the Border, Midland, and Western (BMW) Region only grew from 60% of the EU average to 74% in the same period. The weaker performance of the BMW region is largely due to lagging productivity. Unemployment is also varied among regions with 6.8% in the BMW region and 5.4% in the South and East.

Nevertheless, Ireland remains a peripheral country within the EU. Despite the economic growth already achieved the main bottlenecks for further development of the Irish economy are infrastructure, the increasing scarcity of labour, and the under-performing indigenous SME sector.

3. Management and contact details

The Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly is the Managing Authority with the primary responsibility of ensuring compliance with EU rules, co-ordinating the implementation of the programme -including its financial aspects- and organising the Monitoring Committee.

The Operational Programme Monitoring Committee is made up of the social partners and other representative organisations. The membership is based on a balanced ratio between men and women.The projects are selected by the Managing Authority following the criteria described in the Programme Complements and approved by the Monitoring Committee.

Financial and Technical information

Border, Midland and Western Region Operational Programme

Intervention Type

Operational Program

CCI no

2000IE161PO006

Number of decision

C(2004)5728

Final approval date

27/12/2004

Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
1 Local infrastructure 0 0 260 889 000
2 Local enterprise development 0 0 191 201 208
3 Agriculture and rural development 0 0 202 966 382
4 Social inclusion and childcare 0 0 75 492 000
Total 0 0 730 548 590

Financial Breakdown by Funds

EU Investment ERDF ESF EAGGF FIFG
Total: 402 369 340 261 918 000 37 063 000 87 318 340 16 070 000
100,00% 65,09% 9,21% 21,70% 3,99%