FAQ Page

Three logos, from left to right the government of Ireland logo, the European Union logo and the Eastern and Midland Regional Assenbly logo

Please note, as new FAQs arise, we will update this section; you may need to clear your cache to view the latest version. 

If you do not find the answer to your question, please contact our customer services team CustomerSupport@failteireland.ie

About the scheme

  • 1. We’ve a lot to learn on biodiversity and accessibility. Will this scheme help us with that?
  • Yes- all tourism related businesses in the EU Just Transition Fund Territory will be eligible to apply to participate in the Tourism Learning Network which will include capability building courses, peer learning, insights and good practice case studies in all aspects of Accessibility and Sustainability for tourism. This element of the funding scheme launched in January 2024,and will remain open for Intake 1 applications until 22nd Feb (see here). Applicants can also access funding for Accessibility enhancements under category 5 of funding scheme B.As part of this scheme, eligible applicants will access an accessibility audit will to be undertaken which will identify the improvements that need to be made. Under the criteria in category 5 you can see the types of projects that will be covered.

  • 2. What if we are just starting on our sustainability journey?
  • Capability supports are now open for expressions of interest under the EU Just Transition Tourism Learning Network. This element of the scheme will provide for capability building to develop your understanding in sustainable tourism practices and regenerative tourism. It will provide an understanding of key areas in sustainability and climate action, carbon emissions and their impact on the climate and the importance of making the right investment choices for you and your business. These capability supports offered will complement investment in more sustainable technologies, available under the separate Investment Grant-Aid Scheme for Private and Community SMEs to advance your sustainability efforts.

  • 3. Are counties restricted to a certain number of applicants?
  • No, but they must be within the EU Just Transition region or municipal district

  • 4. What is Regenerative Tourism?
  • A guide has been prepared and can be found here.

  • 5. What is the EU Just Transition Fund?
  • The EU Just Transition Fund is a fund created under the 2021-2027 programming round. It operates under Regulation (EU) 2021/1056 within the framework of the EU Cohesion policy. The Fund’s objective is to support the regions and communities in Europe that are most negatively affected by the transition to climate neutrality, ensuring that no one is left behind. 

  • 6. What are the key dates associated with this scheme?
  • EOI Closing Dates:
     
    The closing date submitting an EOI under Category 4 is the 30th November 2023.
     
    The closing date for submitting an EOI under Categories 1,2,3 and 5 is the 2nd July 2024.
     
    Investment Grant Application Form Closing Date:
     
    The closing date for submitting an Investment Grant Application form for Categories 1,2 and 3 is the 12 Noon on 13th January 2025.

    This investment grant scheme will be open to applications on August 30th, 2023. Projects awarded funding must be completed by the end of August 2026. 


    All grant-aided costs must be fully paid by the end of September 2026 by the grantee and drawn down from Fáilte Ireland by the end of October 2026. Any grant claims that are outstanding after the end of October 2026 will be terminated.

  • 7. When can we draw down the funding support? What is the implementation timeline for the scheme?
  • The EOI process for the Investment Grant-Aid Scheme for Private & Community SMEs will be open from August 30th. All grant-aided costs must be fully paid by the grantee by the end of September 2026 and claims submitted to Fáilte Ireland by the end of October 2026. 

  • 8. What is an SME?
  • An SME is defined as follows: 
     
    (a) The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’) is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million. 
    (b) Within the SME category, a small enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 10 million.  
    (c) Within the SME category, a micro-enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million. 

  • 9. What is State Aid?
  • Fáilte Ireland have developed a State Aid Handbook  for your information however we advise the applicant to seek their own legal advice. 

  • 10. How does this scheme provide ex-Bord na Móna workers specifically with employment?
  • It provides support for individuals looking to develop or set up a business based in the region through the Investment Grant Aid Scheme.

Eligibility Queries

  • 11. Our business isn't accessible. Will we be eligible if we haven’t had achievements in this area?
  • Yes, you can access funding for Accessibility enhancements under category 5 of this funding scheme. An accessibility audit will be undertaken which will identify the improvements that need to be made. Under the criteria in category 5 you can see the types of projects that will be covered. In addition, supports will be offered under the Tourism Learning Network.

  • 12. If I'm an existing or potential accommodation provider, do I need to be Fáilte Ireland approved?
  • Yes.

  • 13. What costs are eligible?
  • Please refer to the guidelines in the section 'What are eligible costs'? 

  • 14. Does my business need to be on the peat/bog lands to qualify for funding?
  • All applicants must operate within the Just Transition Fund defined area. While the applicant may have a headquarters outside the defined area, only activities occurring within the Just Transition Fund area will be eligible for funding. 

  • 15. Can community heritage groups apply for this scheme?
  • Yes, local community groups can apply for the scheme. This scheme is open to private and community sector to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro Enterprises. Applicants may be commercial, not-for-profit or charitable enterprises. It is open to existing businesses and Start-ups/ New Enterprises. Full details can be found under the ‘Who can apply to this Investment Grant Scheme?’ section in the Guidelines

  • 16. We have multiple project ideas; do we need to make individual applications for each project?
  • Yes, if the projects are at different sites or fall under the different categories within the scheme they will require a separate application. 

  • 17. What projects are eligible?
  • The guidelines contain a detailed list of eligible projects etc.

  • 18. Can food producers apply for this funding if they're putting in a visitor experience?
  • Yes, provided the conditions in the guidelines are met. The guidelines can be found here.

  • 19. Are there any criteria around what constitutes a visitor experience?
  • The scheme supports a wide range of visitor experiences and is open to innovative tourist offers. A detailed list of types of eligible projects are set out in Appendix 1 of the scheme guidelines.

  • 20. In Tipperary, does it only apply to Carrick-on-Suir and Thurles?
  • The areas permitted to apply for these grants must be in the designated municipal districts outlines in the EOI form. Please consult the EU Just Transition Fund Territory page for further information.

  • 21. What is a Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO)?
  • A Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) is an organisation which promotes a location and its breadth of products and experiences as an attractive tourism destination for visitors. They can also be known as a Destination Management Organisation.

Funding

  • 22. Do I need to pay for the project myself upfront and ask Fáilte Ireland for the funds later?
  • Yes, claims will only be paid with verified paid invoices on eligible costs. 

  • 23. I've heard the term "Match Funding" What is this and how will affect my application?
  • Match funding is required for all Investment Grants above €10,000, with the exception of Investment Grants awarded under Category 4 (Digital Transformation). The applicant will be required to contribute a minimum of 20% of total project costs as match funding. Match funding may consist of the applicant’s own funds, investor funds, borrowings or other sources of public funding subject to state aid rules.   

  • 24. Do we need capital to invest in the project or does Fáilte Ireland provide it all?
  • Micro investment grants can be offered up to a value of €10,000 at a grant-aid rate of 100% of total project costs (or lower, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland and as State Aid rules allow) Investment grants of between €300,001 and €2,000,000 may be offered at a maximum grant-aid rate of 80% of total project costs (or lower, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland and subject to State Aid rules).Investment grants of between €10,001 and €300,000 may be offered at a maximum grant-aid rate of 80% of total project costs (or lower, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland and as State Aid rules allow).

    Awards of investment grants greater than €2,000,000 may be considered, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland, for projects that will deliver a significant high economic impact. Grant-aid rates will be determined by State aid rules. Grants awarded under Category 4 (Digital Transformation) will be offered at a rate of up to 100% of eligible project costs where EU State Aid rules allow. 

  • 25. How much funding are we permitted to apply for?
  • This scheme is operating under both the De Minimis Regulation and the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). Grants will be awarded under de Minimis or the GBER Exemptions as appropriate.

  • 26. What level of funding is available under De Minimis?
  • Under the De Minimis Aid Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/2831) the current ceiling for all De Minimis aid, regardless of the source, awarded to any single undertaking by any State agency or public body over a three-year fiscal period is €300,000. This regulation came into force on 1 January 2024 and represents an increase on the previous ceiling of €200,000.

  • 27. What level of grants will be awarded?
  • Micro investment grants can be offered up to a value of €10,000 at a grant-aid rate of 100% of total project costs (or lower, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland and as State Aid rules allow). Investment grants of between €10,001 and €300,000 may be offered at a maximum grant-aid rate of 80% of total project costs (or lower, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland and as State Aid rules allow). Investment grants of between €300,001 and €2,000,000 may be offered at a maximum grant-aid rate of 80% of total project costs (or lower, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland and subject to State Aid rules). Investment grants greater than €2,000,000 may be considered, at the discretion of Fáilte Ireland, for projects that will deliver a particularly high economic impact. Grant-aid rates will be determined by State aid rules.  Grants awarded under Category 4A (Digital Transformation – Productivity Enhancement) will be offered at a rate of 100% of eligible project costs where EU State Aid rules allow.

  • 28. What is security?
  • Where funding is more than the De Minimis threshold of €300,000 and is offered to projects in private ownership, the grantee will be required to provide adequate security to the satisfaction of Fáilte Ireland to secure the investment grant for the operative period. This means placing a charge over an asset to the value of the investment, which has increased from €200,000 to €300,000.

     

Further Information

  • 29. Who is EMRA and what is its role in EU Just Transition Fund?
  • The Eastern Midlands Regional Assembly (EMRA) is the Managing Authority for the management and implementation of the EUJTF Programme in Ireland.  The role of the EMRA includes the management of forecasts of claims, management of evaluations, verification of payment for account submission and compliance with EU policies and communications. Under Just Transition, Fáilte Ireland has been appointed an intermediate body which acts under the responsibility of the EMRA, tasked with the administration of €68 million for a Regenerative Tourism and Placemaking Scheme. Through this scheme Fáilte Ireland will oversee and administer investment in the sustainable development of tourism in the Midlands with the aim of diversifying the regional economy by creating jobs and sustaining communities. The responsibilities of Fáilte Ireland as an intermediate body include selection of projects within the scope of the JTF, issue of grant offer in accordance with EU rules and these scheme guidelines, submission of claims for EU JTF co-funding to EMRA, and verification that co-financed products and services have been delivered. 

  • 30. We know we need help with business planning and business management. Will supports be available?
  • Under our EU Just Transition Fund Tourism Learning Network, these supports will be available. This element of the funding scheme is not being launched now but will be in October 2023.

  • 31. Do I need to supporting documentation with my application?
  • Yes, if you meet the recommended criteria to pass the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage a link to an application form will be provided to you. In the guidelines the full eligibility criteria and required documents our listed.

  • 32. Are there different levels of business supports?
  • Yes.

  • 33. What's a Municipal District?
  • A municipal district is an area of a council area that comprises one or more electoral area.

  • 34. Is the application approval timeline dependent on a consultation process?
  • There will be an evaluation team who will look at and evaluate all EOI submissions to determine eligibility based on the criteria of the scheme. Once approved those eligible will progress to the next stage of the process.

  • 35. What Expression of Interest Form should Community Groups use?
  • The Expression Of Interest Forms are the same for both Private and Community Group SMEs.

  • 36. Is there any support for completing the application form?
  • We have produced a webinar which takes you through the steps required to complete an Expression of Interest form.  A similar video will be created for the application form.

    For further information on developing an outline of your Interpretation Strategy, please click on this link and it will take you to Sharing Our Stories – a Guide to Using interpretation to improve the visitors’ experience at heritage sites.

  • 37. Are you sharing a recording of this webinar?
  • The Webinar is recorded and available to watch at your convenience and available here.

  • 38. Can you explain the timelines in detail?
  • The Expression of Interest stage closes on the 2nd July 2024 at 12 noon. The application form stage closes on the 13th January 2025 at 12 noon. Only those that have been deemed eligible at the Expression of Interest stage can proceed to complete an application form.

Planning & Ownership Requirements

  • 39. What do you mean by the 'Right to Undertake the Project'?
  • That the applicant owns the land or has a lease of acceptable duration.

  • 40. I need to apply for planning for my project. How should I proceed to secure planning?
  • Failte Ireland are not responsible for planning.  The Office of the Planning Regulator issued a series of guides circa 2021 which a set out the planning system and a guide to making an application. Please see below links to these guides: