MacManus holds “productive” EU Commission meetings regarding decline of Ireland’s Northern & Western Regions
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, this week, met with European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, and Chair of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee, Younous Omarjee. The focus of the meetings was addressing the decline of the Northern and Western regions of Ireland, comprised of Connacht, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan. Speaking after the meetings, MacManus described the engagements as “productive”.
“Firstly, I was struck by how knowledgeable both parties were in terms of the specific challenges facing our region. Importantly they made it very clear their willingness to help. These were undoubtedly very productive engagements.”
Prior to the commission meetings MacManus met with various regional bodies to inform the basis of his Brussels engagements.
“In recent weeks I met with a number of regional stakeholders, including the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Western Development Commission, Ireland West Airport, Atlantic Economic Corridor Business Forum, University of Galway and the recently established Atlantic Technological University, to hear their views on how these regional development challenges can be addressed. These engagements directly informed my discussions with Commissioner Ferreira and Chair Omarjee. So it was very much a direct grassroots connection to the commission.”
“In the Commission meetings, I strongly defended the needs of the region from infrastructure like TEN-T inclusion and investment on green and digital technologies. I also drew attention to the fact Ireland hasn’t drawn down a cent of the €900m pot of the EU’s Recovery and Resilience fund. I also managed to secure several concrete actions from Mr Omarjee to draw specific attention to the region.”
“In my meeting with Commissioner Ferreira, she spoke passionately about the PEACE programme and the need for Britain to implement its side so the PEACE PLUS can start to take shape. It was heartening to hear her commitment to this programme as traditionally it has offered excellent development opportunities to our region.”
MacManus concluded, “It has become very clear that the Irish government presents a very Dublin-centric agenda in their dealings with Brussels. This series of meetings and the events that will follow have re-engaged Brussels to the reality of other regions such as the North and West. Sinn Féin will continue to have an all-island approach to development, especially in discussions at a European level. It is my hope that I can now organise further direct engagements by inviting Brussels’ decision-makers to visit our region in person.” ENDS
Chris MacManus MEP pictured, this week, with European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira