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Snippet Contents:

We have no intention of allowing the midlands to become a rust belt. I was the Minister who introduced regional action plans. It was the first time ever the State developed bottom-up regional enterprise plans for which we allocated €250 million in regional enterprise funds. That was the first time we had such a concerted approach. Under that, we have established an implementation committee for driving regional opportunities in the midlands. That is the vehicle we will use to work with Bord na Móna, which is a strong commercial State body with 80,000 ha of State lands, significant assets and experience, as well as a strong brand. There is a commitment to drive this forward.
We have the structures in place to address the needs. We have made funds available. The regeneration fund is €1 billion, the climate action fund is €500 million and the regional enterprise fund is €250 million. Every proposal will get a proper chance to be developed. Bord na Móna is doing exactly that. It is a powerful development agency with strong assets and best placed to drive this forward.
The creation of individual task forces does not add value when we have an implementation committee dedicated to the work of driving the midlands region forward. It has the leaders of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, along with all the key players and the private sector, driving those projects. That is the structure we need. They are tried and proven. We set a target of 14,000 jobs for the midlands region and that figure has been exceeded in the period.