All of the regions in Ireland have potential for economic growth and employment creation. It is critical that we focus on the potential within regions to position them as key contributors to Ireland’s national growth and the creation of employment.
Between June 2015 and January 2016, the Department published eight Regional Action Plans for Jobs, aimed at raising employment levels in the regions and facilitating them to achieve their economic potential. The initiative is a central pillar of the Government’s ambition to create 200,000 new jobs by 2020, 135,000 of which are outside of Dublin.
Each plan contains a series of actions with timelines for delivery between 2015-2017, to be delivered through improved collaboration between enterprise agencies and other stakeholders supporting enterprise development in the regions.
The primary objective of these plans is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020 and to ensure the unemployment rate of each region is within one percentage point of the State average.
Twice yearly updates are published for each plan. The most recent Progress Reports published are available on the Regional Action Plan for Jobs website www.regionalapj.ie.
Regional Enterprise Development Fund
To support regional enterprise development, in May 2017 Enterprise Ireland launched the Regional Enterprise Development Fund with funding of up to €60m. The purpose of this Fund is to support the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects that can sustain and add to employment at a national, regional and county level: Enterprise Ireland > Regional Enterprise Development Fund.
This funding is being delivered through two Scheme calls. The first call under this Fund concluded last August, with results announced on 11 December. 21 projects were successful, totaling €30.5m in aggregate grant support. The second call is expected to issue in Q1 2018.