Sunday 8 December 2019

Ireland to get €3.36bn structural funds over six years, says Hogan

European Union Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan
European Union Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan

Tom Molloy

IRELAND will get €3.36bn in structural fund over the next six years, according to the new European Union Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

The figure, which will be used to boost employment and business here, is more than six times what the Republic got in the past six years.

Former Environment Minister Mr Hogan was only appointed as Agriculture Commissioner last month.

He made the comments when speaking to reporters in Brussels yesterday, while also announcing some "support and compensation" to Baltic nations to offset impact of Russia sanctions in the dairy sector.

The structural funds were created to help regions within Europe whose development is lagging behind.

In the past few years structural funds have helped pay for a crystal centre in Waterford, build a bypass for Tullamore and fund a Traditional Currach Making Course on Inisbofin.

The regional programmes will cover the Border, Midland and Western region (the so-called BMW region) and the Southern and Eastern Region.

Ireland has been allocated around €1.19bn in cohesion funding with €68.1m to help fund the the Youth Employment Initiative.

The Commission said yesterday that priorities for projects here include combating long-term and youth unemployment, promoting research and development and the competitiveness of the business sector and green technology.

The €901m invested between 2007 and 2013 helped create more than 4,500 jobs and extend access to broadband to an additional 150,000 people, the Commission added.

It calculates that 848,000 people have benefited from the last round of structural funds.

Turning to beef prices, Mr Hogan accused supermarkets and processors of "squeezing" farmers and driving down the price because of their dominant market position.

However Mr Hogan would not comment on the controversy surrounding Irish Water, saying he "looked forward to hearing what the Government has to say tomorrow".

Irish Independent

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