Dublin's Silicon Docks, where international tech giants have their European headquarters, represent a main driver for the Irish economy

Ireland’s new regional development strategy - ready for changes ahead

Ireland’s new regional development strategy - ready for changes ahead

It identifies three main regions in the country, each with its own economic focus and untapped potential

Today, Ireland unveiled its new strategy for regional investment and development called Smart Specialisation Strategy. The strategy will be funded through the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Fund to the tune of 396 million euros and will focus on developing region-specific industries in the country, based on local strengths.

The investment period for the strategy will run from 2022 to 2027 and will focus on universities and the transfer of knowledge between small and medium-sized businesses and higher education.

Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar explained that implementing the plan would be a vital tool for Ireland to prepare for a future of change and uncertainty.

He pointed to climate change and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, inflation and economic competitiveness, as well as what he called "Putin’s war in Ukraine" as the main issues the republic has to face in the coming years.

Furthermore, Varadkar framed the regional development strategy as Ireland’s bid to solidify and protect its economic progress.

Diving Ireland into specialised regions

The Irish regional investment plan has two main pillars of investment. One focuses on specific sectors in the economy related to the regions and their economic foundations. The other is a set of five priority areas, that would benefit the economy as a whole.

Here are the priority areas:

  • digitalisation and digital transformation;
  • green transformation for enterprise;
  • innovation diffusion;
  • international collaboration on research, development and innovation;
  • improving the national/ regional enterprise research and innovation system.

These should help strengthen industries that lawmakers have identified as running through the entire country. They include information and communication technologies, pharmaceuticals, agrifood and the growing renewable energy sector.

In terms of regional development, Mr Varadkar explained that there are three main regions that authorities had identified. For the North and Western regions, he pointed to the creative sector and the so-called ‘blue’ economy, meaning activities related to the Atlantic Ocean.

For the East and the Midlands, containing Dublin and the famous ‘Silicon Dock’ where multinationals like Facebook and Google have their European headquarters, he pointed to advanced manufacturing, food and financial services. Additionally, he identified design and the automotive sectors as key for the Southern region.



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