Donegal and Derry region selected for EU intelligent cities challenge

17 Jul 2023

Image: © Madrugada Verde/

Local council member Conor Heaney said the programme will help ‘our desire to provide attractive, enjoyable places to live, work and visit’.

Two cities in Ireland’s north-west, Donegal and Derry/Strabane, have been selected by the European Commission to join its Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) to boost sustainability and liveability measures in the region.

Donegal and Derry/Strabane will now start the two-year programme to make the most of technologies available to increase the region’s “economic competitiveness, social resilience and quality of life”. This will be done through tailored support from advisers based in other EU cities.

Announced today (17 July) by the European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology, or ERNACT, the ICC programme is set to boost the region’s progress towards becoming more sustainable and low carbon.

Conor Heaney, a council member of Derry City and Strabane District as well as vice-chair of ERNACT, said that the programme is an opportunity for the region to access expert guidance for green-digital transition and to learn from other EU cities.

“These supports will help us to face increasing constraints on resources and progress our desire to provide attractive, enjoyable places to live, work and visit in an inclusive and sustainable way.”

The previous edition of the programme saw nearly €2bn earmarked for ICC cities’ actions and around €247m in public funding to help facilitate 336 actions planned by the 136 cities.

Dana Eleftheriadou, head of the cities and proximity team at the European Commission, said that the programme is important because cities are the “beating heart of Europe’s economy”.

“The new phase of the Intelligent Cities Challenge offers cities with the prime opportunity to put themselves on the map as a European intelligent city and to turn their sustainability and technological ambitions into action,” Eleftheriadou said.

“These will put your cities firmly on the path towards making the European Green Deal and the Green Deal Industrial Plan a reality, while scaling-up Europe’s net-zero industry.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic