Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said that the European INTERREG fund must be protected in the wake of Brexit.
Liadh Ní Riada made the comments during a visit to IT Carlow, where she led a fact-finding delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament Committee on Budgets.
Speaking from Carlow Liadh Ní Riada said:
“Interreg is a vital funding support used to foster cohesion and growth across borders that exist within the EU, and has been a funding stream for projects in Ireland for over 20 years. During the 2007-2013 funding cycle, over €52m was provided in funding for INTEREG projects across Ireland and Wales.
Intereg was the main funding programme used to support the Ireland Wales programme between 2007 and 2013, and has been renewed again for the 2014 – 2020 period.
“This EU fund is worth over €79m to Ireland for the 2014-2020 Ireland Wales programme, and must be protected in the wake of the Brexit departure of Wales. Irish communities, particularly those within the south east, should not lose out to funding supports due to Tory electioneering.
Brexit is due to take place in the middle of the current INTERREG funding cycle. However, there has been little discussion of the impact of this on our south eastern projects which are currently supported.
“In terms of the South East, INTERREG is particularly important. It supports a variety of areas such as adaption to climate change, culture and heritage, and innovation in the region.
In Waterford and Wexford, INTERREG has supported fisheries and heritage projects such as Celtic Wave and Creative Oracle.
Age Friendly Communities in Killkenny is another INTEREG-supported project which has benefited the lives of the elderly within the community.
Carlow has also seen success with the INSPIRE project, which supported the innovation of researchers in the area.
All successful and recognised projects within their communities – all projects which may now be in jeopardy.