Taoiseach marks one year of Shared Island Initiative

Published on: 03 December 2021

€50m allocated from Shared Island Fund for North/South Investments

Over 1,000 people and organisations participated in Shared Island Dialogue Series

Research programme delivers outputs on Healthcare, Climate & Biodiversity and Economy

Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. has launched a week-long series of events with participation by Ministers across Government showcasing the Shared Island initiative to date and looking ahead to the ambitious programme of work for the years ahead, culminating in a landmark engagement with the Taoiseach at Dublin Castle on Thursday (9th December 2021).It’s one year since the Taoiseach launched the Government’s Shared Island initiative, to harness the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement to enhance cooperation, connection and mutual understanding on the island and to engage with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future.Over the past twelve months, the Government has allocated over €50m from the Shared Island Fund to move ahead with strategic investment projects such as the Ulster Canal, Narrow Water Bridge and the North-South Research Programme.  Seven Shared Island Dialogue events have been held with participation by Government Ministers and over 1,000 people from different sectors and across all regions, communities and traditions on the island.  A comprehensive programme of research with partners in the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), the Irish Research Council (IRC) and others is progressing, with a number of publications and announcements being made over the course of this week.The British Irish Chamber of Commerce are hosting a discussion on ‘Public Investment Priorities on a Shared Island’ on Friday (3 December 2021). A new civil society partnership project between The Wheel and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action on Shared Island practices will be launched on Monday (6 December 2021), and the first two papers from the ESRI’s research on The Economic and Social Opportunities from Increased Cooperation on the Shared Island  will be published on Tuesday (7 December 2021).  NESC will host a seminar on its recently published paper Collaboration on Climate and Biodiversity: Shared Island as a Catalyst for Renewed Ambition & Action on Wednesday (8 December 2021). The research projects awarded funding under the Shared Island unit partnerships with the Irish Research Council and the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (SCoTENS) will also be announced next week.Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said, “Last year, I set out the Government’s Shared Island initiative – to bring people together, increase connections, and provide a space for open and honest conversations about a shared future on this island.  I am really encouraged by the level of engagement by civic and sectoral groups across this island, and the progress being made on landmark cross-border infrastructure, research and community projects.  Through the Shared Island Fund, we have seen long-standing cross-border infrastructure initiatives such as the Ulster Canal and Narrow Water Bridge unlocked and advanced, as well as the development of significant new all-island investment opportunities like the Government’s major new North-South Research Programme.“The Shared Island initiative is a whole of Government priority, to bring more ambition, more resourcing and more impact to what we achieve through the framework of the Good Friday Agreement. Working with the Northern Ireland Executive, the UK Government, Local Authorities and our partners in the European Union, the Government will continue to drive this positive and proactive agenda to create a more connected, sustainable and prosperous island for all communities and traditions.”In October the Government set out its investment priorities for the Shared Island initiative across virtually all sectors, as part of the reviewed National Development Plan (2021-30), backed by an increased financial package totaling more than €3.5bn.This will deliver tangible benefits for communities in border regions and right across the island over the next decade, completing many long standing cross-border investment commitments, and developing and delivering a new generation of projects and initiatives focused on meeting common strategic challenges and taking up all-island opportunities.More information is available at www.gov.ie/sharedisland

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