The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, and Minister of State Jack Chambers have welcomed the announcement of the latest round of projects to be supported by the government’s Shared Island initiative.
The projects being developed include three from across the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, with investment of over €15 million.
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Tourism: €7.6 million for a new all-island tourism brand collaboration and marketing initiative, to be administered by the tourism agencies on a cross-border basis. The vision of the proposal is to connect the Causeway Coastal Route and the Wild Atlantic Way in the north-west in such a way that the visitor is motivated to stay longer and spend more, thereby bringing greater economic benefit to the region. The two routes are already internationally known, but there is an opportunity to bring these two assets together, to improve the overall performance of tourism to the island of Ireland and create international marketing standout. The project will also bring benefits to areas that are in the hinterland of these two routes, bringing new opportunities to these areas, to create lasting economic benefits.
Creative Ireland: €6 million for a shared-island dimension to the government’s Creative Ireland Programme 2023-2027. The initiative will seek to deploy creativity on a shared-island basis to:
- increase opportunities for cross-community cultural and creative initiatives between children and young people;
- support local authorities to enhance networks of creativity in support of vibrant and inclusive people-to-people and community-to-community partnerships;
- position Ireland as a global leader in demonstrating the value of creativity and mental well-being; and
- deepen collaborations for a more environmentally and socially sustainable island.
Gaeltacht: €2 million for new cross-border Irish and Ulster-Scots language, culture and heritage projects, including funding for the development of community-run facilities and cross-community cultural events. This will complement and build on broader support by government for the Irish language on an all-island basis through Foras na Gaeilge and in Northern Ireland, as part of commitments under the New Decade, New Approach agreement, and support for the Ulster-Scots language, culture and heritage through increasing awareness across the island.
Welcoming the announcement, Minister Martin said, “These proposals will help both to deliver very worthwhile projects, but also help to foster increased North-South cooperation. The tourism project will enhance the already strong cooperation that exists in the sector on the island, with particular benefits for the north-west. The Creative Ireland projects will provide welcome opportunities for communities, North and South, to work together on cultural and creative initiatives. I am delighted that there will be a focus on young people in these projects, too.”
Minister of State Chambers added, “This additional investment, recognising the importance of the Irish language, as well as Ulster-Scots, is a very positive step towards further development of a shared understanding of our cultures and traditions. This will be enhanced by cross-cultural exchanges. I look forward to continued cooperation on language and culture on an all-island basis in the years to come.”
Meanwhile, a statement published on FailteIreland.ie, welcoming the aforementioned news, quoted its CEO, Paul Kelly, as saying, “Fáilte Ireland welcomes today’s shared-island announcement, which will have a significant, positive impact on tourism development on the island of Ireland. The €7.6 million allocated for the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route tourism collaboration will support a shared vision for developing the tourism offering along the north and west coasts of the island. Connecting these two internationally known routes will strengthen the tourism offering along this spectacular area of our shared island’s coastline and drive economic benefits for communities throughout these regions. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Donegal and Sligo County Councils, Tourism Ireland, and relevant stakeholders in Northern Ireland in delivering this project and creating a world-class visitor experience, which will appeal to both domestic and international visitors.”
The statement published on FailteIreland.ie also quoted Tourism Ireland’s director of corporate services, policy and Northern Ireland, Shane Clarke, as saying, “Tourism Ireland warmly welcomes today’s announcement by an Taoiseach of funding for a range of shared-island initiatives, including over €7 million for tourism. We look forward to working with Fáilte Ireland, our partners in Northern Ireland, and other key partners in developing standout experiences, which will appeal to our international visitors and will position the island of Ireland as a compelling, world-class destination.”