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DARD, Border Action & International Fund for Ireland in partnership to fund cross border cooperation

Published on:  24 Mar 2006

A new initiative focused on removing barriers to cross border rural economic development has been launched.

The Tyrone Donegal Partnership project “Removing Barriers to Cross-Border Rural Economic Development” was officially launched by Ms. Mary Coughlan, T.D. Minister of Agriculture and Food (Ireland) and by Roy McClenaghan, Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland).

The launch of the “Removing Barriers to Cross-Border Rural Economic Development” is one of several events taking place as part of Rural Life Week in Northern Ireland.  Highlighting its cross border nature the event was held in Castlefin, County Donegal on Friday 24 March 2006.   Rural Life Week is designed to showcase and celebrate rural life.  The current Rural Development Programme and the Peace II farm measures (which run from 2001-2006) are worth about £80 million and £21 million respectively. This funding aims to bring social and economic benefit to the rural areas, in particular women, young people, farm families and the unemployed.   DARD and Border Action are in partnership in the delivery of this funding on a cross border basis.

Today’s announcement highlights a unique funding partnership to be implemented by the Tyrone Donegal Partnership project, entitled ‘REMOVING BARRIERS TO CROSS BORDER RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, in which the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and Border Action under the EU Community Initiative INTERREG IIIA, and the International Fund for Ireland have come together to support the initiative.  Tyrone Donegal Partnership has developed a project designed to provide low capacity, disadvantaged and excluded groups in Tyrone and Donegal with a series of steps that provide support.  This will begin with access to information and culminate in the provision of grant support to implement a cross-border project:

At the launch, Roy McClenaghan, Deputy Secretary at DARD said: “This project seeks to strengthen the capacity of rural communities which is one of the key aims of the Rural Development Programme 2001-2006 and an aspect of DARD’s work which we are keen to highlight during Rural Life Week.   Tyrone Donegal Partnership will support, advise and assist rural communities on both sides of the border who wish to come together to acquire the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to develop projects that will contribute to enhancing the economic, social and environmental conditions of their area.“

Mr Patrick Molloy, Chairman of Tyrone Donegal Partnership commented:  “There are many rural community groups who as yet have not reached a stage of development that would enable them to participate in available programmes and funding. This reduces their capacity to interact with other groups on both sides of the Border, thus making sustainable progress and meaningful reconciliation very difficult.  The ‘Removing Barriers Programme’ will give these emerging rural communities and their members a “ Voice “ to enable them to participate effectively with other groups for the mutual benefit of all. The outcome of the ‘Removing Barriers Programme’ will be a Knowledge-based Sustainable Rural Economy in Border areas, and in which people of all traditions live in harmony with each other”.

Following this Mr. Paddy Logue from Border Action outlined that: “TDP have designed a project that covers the spectrum of support for communities and their cross border projects and it represents another effort on the part of TDP to stimulate social and economic activity on a cross border basis.  The project has been designed to build up the capacity of communities on both sides of the border to consider cross border activity and develop pathways that will lead to further cross border development”.

Mr. John McDaid, Board member of the International Fund for Ireland said: “This project is another example of Tyrone Donegal Partnership’s foresight and the view of the international Fund for Ireland that ‘Removing Barriers’, through its capacity building programmes and cross-border framework projects will be an important factor in creating a solid network of rural communities and enterprises across Donegal and Tyrone.  It will increase the contribution of the arts, culture and tourism to the local economy and is a good example of how local solutions can be applied to local issues.”  

The ‘Removing Barriers to Cross-border Rural Economic Development’ project represents an investment of €911,500/£588,065, with Interreg IIIA Ireland / Northern Ireland Programme providing a contribution of €585,638/£377831 through DARD in Northern Ireland and Border Action in Ireland and €227,875 from the International Fund for Ireland.

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