Government commits €800m to cross-border projects to make island of Ireland ‘better for everyone’

Government commits €800m to cross-border projects to make island of Ireland ‘better for everyone’

THE Irish Government has confirmed a €800m funding pot for cross-border projects that will improve the lives of “everyone who calls the island of Ireland home”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar revealed the cash injection from the Shared Island Fund today, which he confirmed is “the largest ever package of Government funding for cross-border investments”.

The lion’s share of the funding has been committed to the development of the A5 road.

Some €600m will be spent on work to improve the A5 north-west transport corridor which will “improve connectivity between north and south” on the island.

Elsewhere €50m in funding has been earmarked for the redevelopment of Casement Park stadium in west Belfast, while €12.5m will support the development of a new hourly-frequency rail service between Belfast and Dublin.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Environment Minister Eamon Ryan outline new Government funding commitments for Shared Island investment priorities today

Announcing the plans, Mr Varadkar said: “The return of the power-sharing Executive is hugely important for the people of Northern Ireland and has brought renewed hope for what can be achieved through the Good Friday Agreement.

“The funding announced today shows our commitment to working with the new Executive, and with the UK Government, to make the island of Ireland a better place for everyone who calls it home.”

He added: “At approximately €1billion, it is the largest ever package of Government funding for cross-border investments.”

The Taoiseach confirmed that construction of the new A5 could start later this year, “which will bring road connectivity to the North-West on a par with other parts of the island”.

He explained that the redevelopment of Casement Park stadium will help “maximise the benefit for Northern Ireland of hosting games in the UEFA EURO2028 championship”.

The announcement was made in Dublin today

A further €10m has been earmarked for a major regeneration of the Battle of the Boyne site in Co. Meath.

“This funding is about all-island investment, boosting the all-island economy and improving connections North and South, benefiting both jurisdictions and all communities,” Mr Varadkar said.

“It is about understanding that, whatever the constitutional future of Ireland brings, investing in people, in quality of life, in opportunity, and for the generations to come, are all of our responsibilities and a common good we can best progress by working together.”

Welcoming today’s funding announcement, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said the financial commitment is “significant” and “should help to supercharge some of these projects that have been talked about for years”.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has welcomed the news

“The commitment to the A5 is substantial and is higher than previously reported, underscoring the urgent need to get this road built,” he said.

“I also welcome the financial commitment to Casement Park - this will be a transformative project for West Belfast and for Ulster GAA, stimulating investment in a community that deserves it.”

He added: “It is time to put narrow politics aside and get behind redeveloping this site which will bring one of the biggest soccer tournaments in the world to the North and provide a permanent home for Gaels in Ulster.

“The SDLP Opposition at Westminster, in Stormont and in councils across the North will now be pressing for detailed delivery plans to make sure these projects happen quickly.

“No more hanging about, it’s time to get things done.”