Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Minister Eamon Ryan have announced new Government funding commitments of over €800 million for Shared Island projects including the long-awaited upgrading of the A5 road link to the north west.

The Government today committed €600 million to the A5 North-West transport corridor and is advancing work on linked road projects including the N2 Clontibret and Donegal TEN-T upgrades in 2024.

The Government also agreed to channel funding through the Shared Island Fund to a host of other projects, including:

  • to build the landmark Narrow Water Bridge connecting the Cooley Peninsula in Louth to the Mourne Mountains in Down, and complete the scenic Carlingford Greenway, boosting tourism and transport links in the east border region.
  • €50 million to a redeveloped Casement Park in Belfast, creating a high-quality sports stadium which can also host matches as part of the Euro2028 tournament.
  • €12.5 million for a new hourly-frequency rail service between Belfast and Dublin.
  • Investing €10 million in a renewed visitor experience at the Battle of the Boyne site due to reflect its unique historic significance to communities North and South.
  • Working with the Astronomical Observatories of Ireland on how the heritage and tourism value of its three sites at Dunsink, Armagh, and Birr can be harnessed.
  • Developing pilot cooperation schemes by enterprise agencies (up to €30 million) and on education (up to €24 million).

Making the announcement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:

“The return of the power-sharing Executive is hugely important for the people of Northern Ireland and has brought renewed hope for what can be achieved through the Good Friday Agreement. The funding announced today shows our commitment to working with the new Executive, and with the UK Government, to make the island of Ireland a better place for everyone who calls it home.

“At approximately €1 billion, it is the largest ever package of Government funding for cross-border investments. Construction of the new A5 could start later this year which will bring road connectivity to the North-West on a par with other parts of the island. The redevelopment of Casement Park stadium in Belfast will help maximise the benefit for Northern Ireland of hosting games in the UEFA EURO2028 championship which is a major East-West project. We also agreed today a major regeneration of the Battle of the Boyne site, including an allocation of €10 million from the Shared Island Fund. Investment in an hourly service on the Enterprise will greatly assist the development of business and person to person links between Dublin and Belfast as well as all the towns on the way.

“This funding is about all-island investment, boosting the all-island economy and improving connections North and South, benefiting both jurisdictions and all communities. It is about understanding that, whatever the constitutional future of Ireland brings, investing in people, in quality of life, in opportunity, and for the generations to come, are all of our responsibilities and a common good we can best progress by working together.”