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State Aid Regional Aid

The EU Regional Aid Guidelines (RAGS) allow each Member State to provide enhanced rates of State Aid in the least economically developed areas of each country.

Regional Aid Background

The EU Regional Aid Guidelines (RAGS) allow each Member State to provide enhanced rates of State Aid in the least economically developed areas of each country.

Regional aid, also known as investment aid, is distinct from other forms of State aid, such as aid for research, development and innovation, training, energy and environmental aid, agriculture or for environmental protection which are covered under different State aid guidelines.

The 2014-2020 Regional Aid Guidelines entered into force on 01 July 2014. Under the terms of the 2014 -2020 RAGS, regions covering 51.28% of Ireland’s population are designated as ‘assisted areas’. 

Being located in an assisted area does not confer any right to financial assistance; rather, it allows the public sector bodies to provide certain types of assistance if they wish. Grants under Regional Aid come from the exchequer, i.e. there is no EU or other external funding.

Regional Aid is paid in the form of grants by the industrial development agencies, in order to support new investment and new employment in productive projects. Regional aid is also provided by other Departments under schemes for tourism grants, marine tourism, urban and rural renewal and other tax-based development schemes.

Please note that all of the Country, including those areas not entitled to Regional Aid, can qualify for the other forms of aid mentioned in the second paragraph above.

Areas designated

In summary, all counties have been designated apart from:

  • Dublin City and County
  • Cork City and County (apart from the named islands in the memo)
  • The Mid-East generally, i.e. Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.

The only exceptions to the Mid East’s exclusion is the designation of the below three Local Electoral Areas, which contain Electoral Divisions with amongst the highest unemployment rates in the country.

The three exceptions in the Mid-East that have been designated are:

  • Kells
  • Athy*
  • Arklow

*All of the Local Electoral Area of Athy has been added to the upcoming 2014-2020 Regional Aid Map, with the exception of the Electoral District of Ballymore Eustace (population of 1,475). Ballymore Eustace was excluded from the designated map in order to ensure Ireland adhered to its overall allocated national coverage of 51.28% of population.

Areas designated are also shown in the map at the below link: