Regions of Ireland: the Border

                          Border Regional Authority

Contact:      Ms. Caroline Brady (Director)

Email:         info@border.ie

Web:            www.border.ie

Address:     Corlurgan Business Park, Ballinagh Road, Cavan

Tel:               +353 49 4362600

Fax:              + 353 49 4372044

 

The Border Regional Authority's full 'Profile of the Region' document was completed and launched in February 2013.

It is a statement of fact document and summarises much data and statistics into one document in relation to demographics, housing, training and the economy within the Region and compares aspects to National Trends.

Executive Summary

 

Profile of the Region

         

The Border Region derives its name from its location in relation to Northern Ireland. The region comprises the necklace of the following units of primary local government along the Southern side of the border, Louth County Council, Cavan County Council, Monaghan County Council, Leitrim County Council, Sligo County Council and Donegal County Council, and stretches from the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast to the Irish Sea on the east coast. The Border Region is an area with many natural assets. It is the source of Irelands two longest rivers, the Shannon and the Erne, which have been connected to form the 300km Shannon Erne waterway, one of the worlds largest waterways. The Region also has a rich cultural heritage and was home to two of Ireland most well known poets, W.B. Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh. The varied rural landscape and natural assets of the Border Region make it an ideal location for outdoor pursuits, including fishing, water sports and walking. The region has a number of key urban settlements, including the towns of Letterkenny, Sligo, Dundalk, Cavan and Monaghan. In recent years there has been significant investment in upgrading the region’s infrastructure and the regional economy has experienced steady growth. This recent economic development has been assisted by the presence of a highly educated, skilled and entrepreneurial workforce. The establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the North South Ministerial Council and the relevant Cross-border Implementation Bodies under the Good Friday Agreement, and the recent economic growth in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, provides new opportunities for peace and economic prosperity in the Border Region, where for many years development has been hampered by the “troubles” in Northern as well as by typical border issues.

 

  The Border Region Authority map                                                                                  

Socio –Economic Profile

Nuts Level

III

 

Area (sq kms)

12,156

 

% of area of State

17.3%

 
     

Population (2002)

432,500

 

% of National Population

11.03%

 

Population Density( persons/sq km)

36

 
     

Regional Capital (town/city)

Dundalk

32,000

 

Sligo

20,000

 

Letterkenny

15,000

 

Cavan

6,000

 

Monagahan

5,000

     

Regional GDP (2002)

9,019m

 

GDP (% of State, 2002)

71.0%

 

GDP (% of EU25, 2002)

94.4%

 
     

Workforce 2003

181,200

 

Unemployment Rate 2003

6.4%

 

Employment in key Industries:

   

1. Agriculture

10.0%

 

2. Industry

31.6%

 

3. Services

58.6%

 
     
     

 

Regional Structures

The Border Regional Authority is one of eight Authorities established by the Government under the Local Government Act 1991 (Regional Authority Establishment Orders 1993). The Authority comprises 38 elected members from the constituent Local Authorities within the Region: Cavan (6), Donegal (7), Leitrim (5), Louth (7), Monaghan(6) and Sligo(6). The members of the Regional Authority meet once a month. The Authority is also assisted by two committees, the Operational Committee and the EU Operational Committee. The Operational Committee’s function is to assist and advise the Authority in the discharge of its functions. This committee is chaired by the Authorities Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) and membership is drawn from senior management from Local Authorities and other public service agencies in the region. The EU Operational Committee assists the Authority in matters relating to EU assistance and the monitoring of various EU Operational Programmes applicable in the Region. There are 52 members of the committee which is chaired by the Cathaoirleach of the Authority.

The main role and function of the Regional Authority are:

(a) to promote co-ordination and, where appropriate, co-operation , joint action , joint arrangements, agreements, communication or consultation between local authorities or other public authorities in the region or between such authorities of other regions.

(b) To promote co-ordination, consistency and compatibility with programmes, plans policies, proposals or objectives of the Government or any Minister of the Government.

 

Regional Priorities


The development of the Border Region is challenged by some difficult socio economic and physical barriers. The Region has little natural geographic or economic cohesiveness or identity and it has always been characterised by peripherality and disadvantage. The distortion effect created by strong urban centres close to the border in Northern Ireland has also impeded development. Persistent weaknesses in infrastructure have undermined the ability of the Region to compete for employment on a national or international scale. The vision for the future development of the region focuses the provision of a high quality built and physical environment with essential infrastructure (housing, transport, water services, schools, healthcare, retail, community and recreational facilities) and on the restructuring of economic and employment activity, with the achievement of scale and capacity in key sectors. The recently published ‘Regional Planning Guidelines’ for the Border Region set out a twenty year vision for the region.

 

European Priorities

The role of EU projects and partnerships has, and will continue to play an important role in achieving the regions objectives. In recent times there has been a ‘shift in emphasis’ as regards the role of such projects and partnerships. Previously much attention was focused on infrastructure projects in bringing transport and service                   (water/waste water) provision up to date. However, as the Border Regions strives to become more competitive and compete not only at national, but also at international level it is increasingly looking at ways to become more innovative and to develop new products and services. Increased investment in R&D and innovation are essential for the Border Region to achieve its objective of becoming a competitive region. By participating in EU projects/partnerships in these specific areas the region will attempt to exchange experience and knowledge and build strategic alliances with other EU regions.

European Experience

The Border Region has benefited considerably from the investment of EU funds in the region over a number of years. Travelling from east to west across the region there is scarcely a town or village which has not in some way benefited from EU support. The Border Region has, in particular, benefited from the Interreg IIIA programme. The range of projects that have received funding under this programme include tourism and waterways projects, childcare facilities and projects in the food sector.

                                                    

Example of EU Project

Project name: TechLink

The TechLink project aims to develop and exchange of innovative practices among the participating regions. The partners in the project are Business Innovation Centres (BICs), Technical Institutes and Developing Agencies, which have considerable experience of supporting the development of small and medium enterprises. The participating regions have a strong tradition of entrepreneurship but are now facing increased competition from countries with a lower cost base. The regions involved are therefore faced with the common challenge of building new strengths of competitiveness based on knowledge and innovation.

The TechLink Project aims to establish a co-operation network among the participating regions and to develop a strategic plan to guide innovation in the regions also. This will be achieved by promoting interaction among the regions through regional and inter regional seminars, missions of entrepreneurs and developing a programme with university students and young graduates  It is anticipated that the project will promote a greater awareness of the importance of Innovation, provide greater insight into innovation management techniques and that participating regions will learn from other regions who are leaders in innovation and best practice

EU Partners: NET – Novas Empresas e Tecnologias S.A.-Bic Porto (Portugal), Idit –Instituto de Desenvolvimento e Inovacao Tecnologico (Portugal), ADI Agencia de Inovacao (Portugal), BIC Berrilan (Spain), Tekniker (Spain), Tech – Quimper (France), Westbic (Ireland), Border Regional Authority (Ireland), West Regional Authority (Ireland) and the Midlands Regional Authority (Ireland)

Total Funding:              €2,343,760

EU Contribution:          €1,321,728

Contact Details:

Martins, Jose de Almeida, Chief Exectuive BIC do Porto.

NET – BIC do Porto (lead partner)

Contact in Ireland: 

Gert O'Rourke
WESTBIC
Galway Technology Centre
Mervue
Galway

Tel: 091 730850
Fax: 091 730853
E-mail: info@westbic.ie

 

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