AS Wales and Ireland face off in the Six Nations rugby today, Counsel General Jeremy Miles announced funding worth more than €6 million for three new projects aimed at strengthening ties between our two nations.
The Welsh and Irish Governments have been working together, supported by funds from the EU’s European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) programme, to address areas of shared interest such as climate change, technological research, sustainable development and tourism since 2007.
The schemes announced today will:
Grow duckweed on agricultural waste waters to produce animal feed for the beef and dairy industry, while helping to kick coastal and freshwater pollution into touch;
Capitalise on the natural and cultural heritage of the Llŷn peninsula in Wales and Iveragh peninsula in Ireland to boost sustainable year-round eco-tourism opportunities in coastal communities;
Convert detailed study of the population and habitat of two species of water bird to better understand how climate change will affect coastal communities on each side of the Irish Sea.
Each of these projects emphasises the advantage of cross-border handling of shared concerns, linking projects and tackling shared interests to benefit communities and businesses on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Announcing the new funding, Mr Miles said “Wales remains an internationally connected nation. Our relationship with our near neighbours Ireland and Europe remains strong, and vital cross-border team work like this will continue to be an essential part our international strategy, launched last month.
“These are great projects which handle major issues in an imaginative and creative way. Welsh Government has a fantastic track record on helping push collaborative projects over the gainline, which is why it’s so important that we’re able to continue to invest funds like this in future in the regions of Wales which need it most.
“We are pressing the UK Government to make sure Wales and the UK remains part of the next phase of the ETC programme, so that we can stay onside and collaborate as part of major programmes working across borders on these issues. Our team work with Ireland through this programme, and with the rest of the European continent, is valuable and essential.”
Eluned Morgan, Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, commented, “These projects are a fantastic example of Wales’ International Strategy, through which we aim to bring everyone together, ensuring that we are using our assets to work in partnership with others and protect the interests of the people of Wales.
“The Ireland-Wales programme is part of the European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) programme. It is vitally important that Wales and the UK are part of the next phase of ETC. We need to make sure that we are all pulling in the same direction, working together to maximise our efforts, and collaborating in major programmes working across borders to protect shared interests – both with Ireland, as we are through these projects, and with the rest of the European continent.”