The Government will get a total of €920m by December 2023
Ireland will receive a €361m payout from the EU’s €5.4bn Brexit fund by the end of the month, the first payment to any country since the envelope was agreed this summer.
The European Commission approved the transfer on Monday given that Ireland is the country worst affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Ireland’s total allocation from the fund is worth around a billion euros.
“Brexit has had a negative impact on many people's lives. Within the EU, it is the people in Ireland who feel it the most,” said EU regional commissioner Elisa Ferreira.
“In moving forward, we don't want to leave anyone behind. The funding that Ireland will receive will contribute to improve living standards, support economic growth in the country and mitigate the negative impacts in local communities.”
Ireland is by far the biggest recipient of aid from the fund, which was agreed this summer after changes were made to accommodate France’s demands for more cash.
The Government will get a total of €920m in current prices (just over €1bn in 2018 prices) for supports granted between January 2020 and end-December 2023, which cover Brexit-related costs incurred before January 2021.
EU countries don’t need to obtain advance approval from the European Commission on how to spend the money, unlike the €1bn allocated to Ireland from the bloc’s €750bn pandemic recovery fund.
However, it must go to regions or sectors directly affected by Brexit, and cannot be used to shore up banks or financial firms.
Funds can be used to compensate businesses that have lost out on trade, to help fishing communities that lost access to UK waters or to build extra customs facilities at ports or airports.
The second instalment will be paid before April 2022, with the rest to follow in 2023 and 2025.
The Department of Finance has allocated around €500m from the fund to the food and drink sector this year and next year, given firms’ continued dependence on the UK market.