Two flagship initiatives announced as part of EU Just Transition Fund
On Friday last I joined Ministers from across Government parties to launch Ireland’s Programme for the EU Just Transition Fund at Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre Co Longford.
You can read more about the event here;
At the event, I announced two flagship, Department of Agriculture, initiatives as part of the fund: Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiatives to a value of €20 million and a Midlands Carbon Catchment Study, to a value of €15 million. The announcement was made alongside the launch of the ‘Programme for the EU Just Transition Fund’ which represents an investment of €169 million in Midlands region.
I’m delighted to see this significant investment for the region from the EU Just Transition Fund. I’m particularly pleased that the €35 million for the Midlands Carbon Catchment Study and for Bioeconomy Demonstrations, will develop projects which will engage farmers and landowners to develop products, services and jobs that will support a sustainable, climate neutral economy.
Bioeconomy is not a word familiar to most of us but many in Offaly know Mount Lucas bog. The LOETB training centre is easily visible, as is the windfarm, but did you know that there is an aquaculture facility on site? Geared at supporting enterprise, job creation and research, and part funded by the Department of Agriculture, it has a strong bioeconomy focus. Bioeconomy is a circular model of production, in this case of trout, other fish and animal feed, which optimises a reduction in waste and the product or products are either carbon neutral or carbon positive.
As an aside but related, I am delighted to hear that initial recruitment is underway at Mount Lucas. I understand the project is already showing its potential as an accelerant for similar enterprises and to act as a site for eco-tourism and educational visits. I am looking forward to visiting in the next few weeks.
This announcement of Bioeconomy Demonstration Initiatives will be an open call for projects in the bioeconomy to demonstrate the viability and sustainability of the sector.
The Midlands Carbon Catchment Study is to pioneer research in reducing emissions from organic soils by working with farmers at a catchment level to test new and novel ways of alternative and sustainable land management, and to explore new economic models such as carbon farming. This is really exciting and has the potential to scale and to add significant value for participating farmers.
I will be keeping a close watch on these initiatives to ensure they deliver for the Midlands.
I wholeheartedly welcome the potential of the Midlands to become an exemplar in Europe’s mission to be the world’s first climate-neutral continent.