Electric vehicle charging points are to be installed at sports facilities north and south of the border under plans approved by the Cabinet.
More than €70 million is to be allocated to support various projects as part of Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s Shared Island initiative. Some €15 million of this is to be spent on the rollout of 90 rapid electric vehicle charging points at sports facilities around the island.
The Government has been liaising with the governing bodies of sports including Gaelic Games, rugby and football about the plan. While the charging points will be located on sports grounds, they will be fully accessible to all members of the public that wish to charge their vehicles. The plan is said to contribute to the Government’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy.
There is an ambitious target of getting around 1 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2030 as part of the effort to cut carbon emissions in the battle against climate change. A further €3 million of the Shared Island funding to relates to the Community Climate Action Programme.
The bulk of the funding – some €40 million – is to be allocated to Phase Three of the Ulster Canal project, which will restore the waterway between Clones, Co Monaghan and Upper Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.
There will be €7.4 million for a Shared Island arts investment projects including cross-border writing, artistic and traditional music collaborations to be announced in the coming months.
Another €5 million will be allocated to the Shared Island Local Authority Development Funding Scheme, which provides grants of up to €250,000 for cross-border council partnerships.
Announcing the funding, Mr Martin said the Shared Island initiative is “gathering pace”. A sum of €50 million was previously allocated in 2021.
The Taosieach said the funding is for an ambitious programme of work “which will bring communities, North and South, together to work on shared strategic priorities”. The Government said it wishes to work in cooperation with the Northern Ireland Executive and the British government in advancing the Shared Island project.
Minister for Rural Development Heather Humphreys, a Cavan-Monaghan TD, welcomed the funding for the Ulster Canal project. She said it has been a priority for her since her time as a member of Monaghan County Council and continued back it as a Minister with €12 million in funding provided last year.
Highlighting how the canal project will link with the River Shannon, she said that when it is complete “it will mean you can jump in your boat in Clones and head to places like Athlone and Limerick”. She said it was “hugely important” for the wider border region.