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Taoiseach | Shared Island economic significance

To ask the Taoiseach if efforts continue to be made through the Shared Island concept to ensure that the benefits of a shared-island approach can be of major economic significance to the island of Ireland, North and South.


Through the Government’s Shared Island initiative, we are engaging with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future; and delivering tangible benefits for the whole island, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.

This work is proceeding on a whole of Government basis, and we are working with the Northern Ireland Executive and UK Government, and with cross-border local authority, education institution and civil society partnerships.

To date, the Government has allocated €140.4 million from the Shared Island Fund to move forward with projects that implement commitments and objectives on Shared Island, as set out in the Programme for Government and the revised National Development Plan.

Shared Island Fund projects are taken forward by the relevant Minister and their Department, working through all-island partnerships. Allocations are included in Departmental Votes as needed over a multi-annual period, managed by the relevant Department with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The allocations from the Shared Island Fund to date are:

– €5m for the Shared Island Local Authority Development funding scheme; €3m to bring the Narrow Water Bridge project to tender; and, €47m for Phases 2 and 3 of the Ulster Canal restoration, taken forward by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage;

– €40m for the North South Research Programme and €20m for All-Island Research Centres, taken forward by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science;

– €15m for the Shared Island Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure scheme, and €3m for a Shared Island strand to the Community Climate Action Programme, taken forward by the Minister for Transport and for Environment, Climate and Communications;


– €7.4m for Shared Island Arts investment projects taken forward by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Fostering inclusive and constructive dialogue is also central to our Shared Island approach.

More than 2,200 citizens and civic representatives have participated in 12 Shared Island Dialogue events so far, which have this year been held in-person and on a regional basis across the island.

The All Island Women’s Forum, convened by the National Women’s Council, was a very welcome follow-on from one of the early engagements as part of the Dialogue series with women’s representatives.

The Forum aims to address underrepresentation of women and further develop women’s role in peacebuilding and civic society. Its work has been supported through the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

I was pleased to launch the Forum’s first report on 8 September, which set out their first term of work and made recommendations for both jurisdictions on the island related to tackling gender-based violence; civic engagement; education; media and women’s political participation.

The Government will consider and positively engage with the Forum’s recommendations, consulting with the Executive and the UK Government as relevant.

The Government looks forward to continuing to engage with the All-Island Women’s Forum as it continues to provide an important, necessary space for civic dialogue led by women, contributing to wider public debates and helping to shape the all-island civic agenda.

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