Taoiseach announces over €50m in new funding for Shared Island programmes

Published on: 13 December 2022

Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD has today announced over €50m to deliver a new suite of Shared Island programmes. 

The Taoiseach outlined the funding allocations as part of a speech at the 2nd Shared Island Forum at Dublin Castle this morning (5 December 2022), which are: 

  • €11m for all-island biodiversity actions on peatlands restoration and biosecurity;  
  • €7.6m for new all-island tourism brand collaboration and marketing initiatives; 
  • €8m for a Shared Island dimension to the Creative Ireland programme and cultural heritage projects over 2023-2027; 
  • €2m funding contribution to a new Shared Island Civic Society fund; 
  • €12m for development of a cross-border innovation hub; 
  • €10m funding contribution to a second round of the North South Research Programme. 

The Taoiseach also confirmed a contribution of €20m from the Shared Island Fund for Co-Centres for Research and Innovation on Climate and Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems. 

These new investment cooperation projects will be delivered through North/South and East-West partnerships and all-island funding programmes, by Ministers and their Departments working with Northern Ireland and UK Government partners.  

Today’s announcement brings to over €190m, the amount allocated from the Shared Island Fund over the past two years, to deliver the Shared Island investment objectives in the Programme for Government and the revised National Development Plan 2021-30. 

A comprehensive report on the second year of implementation of the initiative was published by the Department of the Taoiseach for the 2nd Shared Island Forum and is available at www.gov.ie/sharedisland. 

In his keynote address to the 2nd Shared Island Forum, the Taoiseach said:“With whole of Government support, I established the Shared Island initiative over two years ago, to unlock the potential of the Good Friday Agreement and deepen cooperation and connections across borders and communities. 

“Our actions today North and South, will shape what follows; what kind of future is possible. As a Government, we are taking sincere, ambitious, sustained action to enable the best prospects for our shared future on this island - however it may be constituted.”  

On the Shared Island Fund allocations by Government, Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said: “Through today’s Shared Island investment announcements, we will take forward new all-island opportunities including on climate action and biodiversity conservation, capitalising on the island’s tourism offering, celebrating our diverse cultures and traditions, and enabling world class research and innovation capacity on the island of Ireland.“This forward-looking and positive ambition is at the very heart of our Shared Island initiative. We will do more in the years to come - with priorities set by Government on enterprise, education, active travel and transport - to create a more connected, sustainable and prosperous island for all communities on the island of Ireland.” 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD said:“My Department remains strongly supportive of and actively involved in the Shared Island initiative and I particularly welcome the allocation of €2m from the Shared Island Fund to support a new Shared Island Civic Society Fund in the Department of Foreign Affairs. This funding scheme will complement the vital work that is already supported through my Department’s Reconciliation Fund to promote North-South cooperation and enhance cross-border civic, economic, cultural, and political links across the island.” 



Notes to Editor: 

The Shared Island initiative is a whole of Government priority to engage with all communities and political traditions to build consensus around a shared future on the island, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement. 

The Shared Island initiative is backed by the Government’s Shared Island Fund, with at least €1billion out to 2030 ring-fenced for delivery of all-island investment commitments and objectives in the Programme for Government and revised National Development Plan 2021-30; informed by a programme of engagement with people across the island through the Shared Island Dialogue series and a comprehensive policy research programme, which provides a stronger evidence base and analysis of the island Ireland across a range of economic, environmental and social areas.The Taoiseach announced today Government allocations of more than €50m from the Shared Island Fund to a number of Departments for delivery of new Shared Island investment cooperation projects.  These include: 

€11m for All-Island Biodiversity actionsThe Minister for Housing, Heritage and Local Government will take forward new biodiversity actions: 


(i) Cross-border peatland restoration: €10m contribution to a cross-border peatland restoration programme led by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. To conserve vital peatland ecosystems and reduce carbon emissions, working with partners in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The project will reduce carbon emissions of 6,000 tonnes C/yr and restore 4,000ha of blanket bog within and adjacent to protected sites, across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

(ii)Shared Island invasive species and biosecurity initiative: €1m funding investment in a new all-island invasive species and biosecurity partnership, to protect the island of Ireland’s unique ecological resources. This will include strategic all-island risk assessment and trend analysis on invasive species; biosecurity strategy; alignment of current and future pathway actions and contingency plan; and a citizen science invasive species programme.These programmes will be delivered and overseen by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (D/HLHG) with counterpart agencies North and South. 

€7.6m for All-Island Tourism brand collaborationThe Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media will make available up to €7.6m for tourism agencies to progress a new collaboration to link the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route tourism brands.The funding will enable tourism agencies to conduct joint work to connect these two internationally-recognised brands, to achieve longer visitor stays and greater economic benefits in the North West and Northern coast regions. The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media will oversee the project in consultation with the Department for Economy (NI). 

€2m for a new Shared Island Civic Society FundThe Minister for Foreign Affairs and his Department will take forward a new Shared Island Civic Society funding scheme to enable civic society and community organisations to develop new cross-border links, further strengthen existing partnerships, and create or broaden cross-border connectivity, complementing vital work supported through the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund.  

A pilot call for the scheme will commence in the coming weeks for applications from organisations to take forward cross-border civic cooperation initiatives in areas such as: climate and environment; community development; heritage and conservation; social enterprise, charity, and voluntary sector; and sport. 

€8m for Shared Island dimension to the Creative Ireland programme and cultural heritage projects  

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media will take forward a major Shared Island dimension to the Government’s Creative Ireland Programme 2023-27 and make available funding for all-island cultural heritage projects. 


The Shared Island dimension of the Creative Ireland programme 2023-27 will enable existing elements of the programme, such as Cruinniú na nÓg, the national day of free creativity for children and young people, to be developed on an all-island basis. Local Authorities’ Culture and Creativity Teams will be encouraged to use and develop cross-border networks to support and take up cultural and creative cooperation opportunities. New cultural heritage projects, to foster greater appreciation and enjoyment of the diverse linguistic and cultural heritage of the whole island, including the Ulster Scots and Irish traditions will also be developed. 


This will complement the €7.4m allocated from the Shared Island Fund in July for Arts investment projects developed in consultation with the Arts Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 


€10m for North South Research Programme administered by the Higher Education AuthorityFollowing on from the success of the first round of the Government’s new North South Research Programme with more than €37m awarded to 62 projects in March 2022, the Minister for Further and Higher Education Research Innovation and Science will launch a second round of the programme in the second half of 2023 enabled by a Shared Island Fund allocation of €10m and following a review by the HEA of activity under the first round. 


€20m for Co-Centres for Research and Innovation administered by Science Foundation IrelandThe Shared Island Fund will contribute €20m for new Co-Centres for Research and Innovation administered by Science Foundation Ireland with match funding from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and UK Research and Innovation. 

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, together with his Northern Irish and British Government counterparts, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Northern Ireland and UK research partners, announced the establishment of Co-Centres for Research and Innovation on 24 October.  


Science Foundation Ireland opened a call on 24 November for proposals on Climate, and Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems. Each Co-Centre will be funded for a duration of 6 years.These will be joint, virtual Research Centres to strengthen the research and innovation base across Ireland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, supporting a competitive economy and addressing societal and environmental challenges. 

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