Productive Sector Operational Programme


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The European Commission will actively participate in the development of Ireland by co-financing the Productive Sector Operational Programme which falls within the Community Support Framework for Ireland. The Community will finance EUR 282.4 million out of the programme's total co-financed cost of EUR 844.3 million.

1. Action Priorities

The programme revolves around four priority areas and technical assistance measures. The Structural Funds will only contribute to Priority 2, Priority 4 and technical assistance.

Priority 1 : Industry
The measures included in this priority aim to improve the competitiveness of indigenous industry by supporting development capability and building knowledge networks. Besides this, actions will be implemented to increase job quality and integrate foreign owned companies in the economy. Efforts will also be made to improve the competitive position of the food and seafood industry, the Irish film sector as well as to increase the quality of life, the sustainability and self sufficiency of the Gaeltachta areas.

Priority 2 : Research, technological development and innovation (RTDI)
These measures aim at responding to the failure of the majority of firms to commit sufficient R&D resources to allow them to become and remain globally competitive. Thus, the measures seek to maximise the R&D potential of firms by promoting innovation networks assisting in the process the employment of researchers in the productive sector. Promoting the RTDI of firms must also be reflected in the higher education sector to enable the development of a world class research environment. The research capability in third-level and state research institutes must be strengthened by supporting inter-institutional cooperation and ensuring that the research community is appropriately equipped.

Priority 3 : Marketing
This priority aims to increase the level of exports in the indigenous sector. Emphasis will be put on SMEs and market diversification; assisting the marketing schemes of firms disadvantaged by their peripheral location and sectors that have yet to fully embrace marketing; and finally, to promote Ireland as a world-class tourist location by marketing activity-based holidays so as to contribute to regional development.

Priority 4 : Sea fisheries development
The fisheries development measure will provide funding to enhance the safety, quality and competitiveness of the fishing fleet. The revitalisation of the inshore fleet and diversification for coastal communities will also be addressed. Strategic initiatives will critically focus on enhancing the handling, storage and presentation of raw material so as to maximise the value generated from the catching sector.

Technical Assistance : Measures will be equally provided to assist with the management of, information on, implementation of, control and evaluation of all aspects of the programme.

2. Description of eligibility

The technology gap between Ireland and the Community is still significant. While gross expenditure on RTDI was around 2% of GDP in the Union in 1995 the value for Ireland was only 1.5% (1997), despite a major increase in RTDI intensity since the late 1980s. Business expenditure on RTDI is more or less on par. Foreign-owned companies accounted for 56% of business expenditure on RTD while Government expenditure on RTD amounted to 25%.

Regarding the productive sector, with the exception of agriculture, the economic structure of Ireland is relatively close to the European average. In terms of employment, industry is almost exactly at the average (28.5% compared to 29.4% in the EU), agriculture at 8.7% (1998) is little short of double the EU average of 5%, while services are a little below average (60.4% compared to 65.3%). The high-tech, high value-added industries are dominated by foreign ownership, while the low-tech, low productivity industry is largely in Irish ownership.

3. Management and contact details

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment 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

Productive Sector Operational Programme

Intervention Type

Operational Program

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
1 RTDI - Research &Technological Development & Innovation 0 0 710 606 242
4 Fisheries Development 0 0 118 350 000
5 Technical Assistance 0 0 688 000
Total 0 0 829 644 242

Financial Breakdown by Funds

EU Investment ERDF FIFG
Total: 282 403 322 240 283 322 42 120 000
100,00% 85,09% 14,91%