The Committee received Mr Colm McColgan, General Manager, Ernact who gave a power-point presentation on the current projects being carried out by Ernact and their future plans highlighting the following areas:
- Ernact – European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology
- Setup on a cross-border basis by Derry City and Strabane and Donegal County Councils in 1991
- The NW Councils appoint the ERNACT Board
- 10 regions from across Europe
- Working together to develop ICT, ‘tech’ or digital projects
- Secure EU funding
What We Do
- European Office is in Letterkenny
- Develop Funding Proposals
- Manage international ‘tech’ projects
- Assignments for EU and network members
- Gather European Digital Intelligence
- Develop European partnerships
- EU Grants - 2016 - €256 2019 - €352
- Other Councils (incl Donegal) - 2016 - €101 2019 - €139
- Derry City and Strabane District - 2016 - €56 2019 - € 41
- Total €413 €512
- Twelve projects being progressed
- Interreg and Management Committee
- Audit and Finance Committee
- Tested operating processes
- 5 staff: “tech£ focus, Masters level, 2 Spanish
- Co-operation Platform: Teamworker
- Audited Accounts, Internal audit, Risk Register, audit and finance sub- committee
- All systems in cloud (accounts, web, files, costing, office)
- North West Development Needs: work more closely with Ernact regions in tourism, energy, digital
- Innovation Image: project the innovation image of the North West
- European Tech Gateway: Enhance potential of North West as gateway to European Union (Newfoundland example)
- Post Brexit: Mechanism to maximise EU for Derry/Strabane
Match Funding Resources
2016 2017 2018 2019
EU Grants €256 €283 €339 €332
Other Councils (inc Donegal) €101 €124 €107 €139
Derry City & Strabane Council € 56 € 62 € 41 € 41
Total €413 €469 €487 €512
Mr McColgan circulated additional information for Members on the European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology and the various projects in which ERNACT was currently involved.
In conclusion, Mr McColgan said he hoped Council felt it was receiving value for money from its membership of Ernact and felt it had, to some extent, assisted in the preparation for Brexit. He regarded Ernact as a way of maintaining a secure connection between those cities and regions involved.
The Chairperson thanked Mr McColgan for his presentation and commended him on the content.
Members then raised the following points:
- Acknowledged the excellent work carried out by Ernact much of which remained unseen and the level of funding which had been drawn down by the organisation.
- Referred to the impact of Ernact on the delivery of Council services and the implementation of various Council projects for the City and district.
- Referred to the fact that Ernact had raised its profile considerably in recent years.
- Referred to specific projects from which Council had benefited namely, the Tides project and its positive impact on the Maritime project.
- Acknowledged the status and unique nature of Ernact and their ability to draw down funding and the positive impact thereof on this Council area.
- Referred to the importance of funding made available through Ernact in regards to the better delivery of Council services particularly in terms of technology and digital services.
- Anticipated that Brexit would not have a significant or negative impact on the work of Ernact.
- Pointed out that the coming weeks were vital in terms of European funding projects and given the extent of the projects coming forward in this regard anticipated that Council would be participating in this process.
- Welcomed the Digital Europe Project which corresponded with the digital context of Council’s work.
- Referred to the need for Council to maintain its level of participation with Europe in regards to securing funding.
Mr McColgan thanked Members for the opportunity to address Committee and he withdrew from the Meeting.