As Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development I can confirm funding of €300,000 to the ten local authorities along the Atlantic Economic Corridor. The funding of €30,000 per local authority is to support the designation of an Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) officer in each of city and county councils included who will, in turn, work to develop the AEC and support the AEC Taskforce and sub groups.
The overarching objective of the AEC initiative is to maximise the infrastructure, talent and enterprise assets along the western seaboard and to combine the economic hubs, clusters and catchments of an area to attract investment, improve competitiveness, support job creation and contribute to an improved quality of life.
Working with my colleague, Minister Michael Ring TD, I am delighted to be able to support the city and county councils to designate an Atlantic Economic Corridor Officer.
The concept of an AEC Officer is based on the successful appointment of Broadband Officers in every city and county council in the country funding for which my Department has provided as part of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. Each Broadband Officer is a dedicated point of contact for phone coverage and broadband issues and the officers have been welcomed by all of the Taskforce stakeholders.
The AEC Officer, I’m confident, will play a similar role and help to develop and promote the AEC initiative while supporting the work of the AEC Taskforce and sub groups.
The development of the Atlantic Economic Corridor is central to both the Northern and Western Region and the Southern Region and features prominently in both the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan.
With the AEC we are working with stakeholders to develop the strengths and assets of our communities along the Atlantic Coast to balance with Dublin and the East Coast. Essentially no one should have to travel to Dublin unless they wish to or unless there is a very exceptional need such as highly specialised medical care.
The development of the AEC is a clear signal of the intent of Government to support regional and rural development and builds on the work to date including the creation of a dedicated Government department for Rural Development and the allocation, as part of Project Ireland 2040 and confirmed by my colleague, Michael Ring, of the new €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
Note: The local authorities are – Donegal County Council, Leitrim County Council, Sligo County Council, Roscommon County Council, Mayo County Council, Galway County Council, Galway City Council, Clare County Council, Limerick City and County Council, Kerry County Council.