Taoiseach | Shared Island Initiative
To ask the Taoiseach the extent to which developments have taken place on the Shared Island Initiative.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
To ask the Taoiseach the extent to which Irish authorities continue to support moves to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly, with particular reference to any funding initiatives through the Shared Island approach.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
To ask the Taoiseach the degree to which he expects the Shared Island approach to influence the evolution of north/south and east/west relations in the future.
– Bernard J. Durkan
A Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions 9- 15 together.
As provided for in the Programme for Government, we are continuing our Shared Island initiative, to deliver benefits for the whole island and work with all communities for a shared future, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.
– unprecedented cooperative all-island investment, through our €1billion Shared Island Fund;
– hearing from all communities on how practically we can better share this island into the future; and,
– providing a stronger evidence base and analysis of the whole island, through a programme of published research.
The initiative is taken forward by Ministers and their Departments on a whole of Government basis, driven and coordinated through the Shared Island unit.
Over the last two years, Government has allocated €191m from the Shared Island Fund to move ahead with long-standing commitments, like the Ulster Canal and Narrow Water Bridge, and to deliver new all-island investments.
These projects respond to common interests and concerns for people right across the island, including on climate action and biodiversity conservation; regional development; innovation; and deepening our societal connections.
So far this year, on 12 January, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs commenced a new €3m Shared Island Civic Society funding scheme.
And on 19 January, the Minister for Transport announced a call for a new €15m Electric Vehicle charging scheme. This will develop a network of publicly accessible, community-focused, EV charging points, at sports clubs across the island of Ireland.
The Government will seek to undertake significantly more all-island investment cooperation with a new Northern Ireland Executive and with the British Government.
The continuing absence of the Executive and inability of the North South Ministerial Council to meet does impact what is possible and there is an urgent need to get all of the political institutions of the Agreement operating again. I held constructive discussions with the leaders of the main political parties in Belfast on 12 January and the Government will continue to work with the British Government and with the leaders of the parties in Northern Ireland, to get the institutions in place again as soon as possible.
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