Ireland and France seek funding for joint post-Brexit energy scheme

Ireland and France have made a joint pitch for EU funding for a one billion euro electricity link between the countries as part of post-Brexit energy planning.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and French President Emmanuel Macron have submitted a joint request to the European Commission seeking financial support for the Celtic Interconnector.

The proposed connector between the south coast of Ireland and north-west coast of France would stretch for 500 kilometres under the sea.

Mr Varadkar and Mr Macron co-signed a letter on the issue during a bilateral meeting before a gathering of the European Council in Brussels on Tuesday.

They have written to commission president Jean-Claude Juncker requesting support for a grant application that would see the EU foot 60% of the bill.

Mr Varadkar said the first direct link between Ireland’s electricity network and mainland Europe would be vital in the post-Brexit landscape.

The Taoiseach and Mr Macron had already pledged to pursue the project at a recent meeting in Paris.

“The Celtic Interconnector will help to reduce electricity prices, support climate action, and provide greater energy security for Ireland,” said Mr Varadkar.

“Our two countries are working together to seek EU funding for 60% of the overall one billion euro cost of the project, with the balance coming from commercial revenue.

“I’m delighted that France has agreed to join Ireland in making this grant application, and I particularly want to thank President Macron for his personal support.

“This demonstrates the ever-closer relationship between Ireland and France, which will be Ireland’s closest EU neighbour when the UK leaves.

“I also welcome the excellent co-operation between the Irish and French national regulatory authorities.”