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Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., launches EU funding programme

Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D, today officially launched the ‘Access Europe’ Programme at an online event hosted by The Wheel, the association of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises. The Wheel will act as the National Contact Point for this programme, which aims to publicise European Union funding opportunities and provide a support service to NGOs, community groups and local authorities to better apply for and access EU funds.

On the launch of the Access Europe Programme, the Minister said;

‘At a critical time for the civil society sector, Access Europe will help organisations and communities tap into the many EU funding opportunities that are out there. This programme is a large undertaking, and I am delighted that The Wheel are now taking this forward as the National Contact Point.’

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel added, "This is a very significant investment in civil society and the social economy. The programme will give Ireland’s civil society organisations access to funding opportunities and a chance to engage in European affairs. The Wheel has a strong track record for delivering European programmes and we look forward to working with the Department of Foreign Affairs to deliver this project."

Over 250 participants from civil society organisations across the country attended the online event.

Queries relating to the Access Europe programme can be directed to




25 NOVEMBER 2020


Notes for Editors

-The EU provides funding and grants for a broad range of projects and programmes covering a wide range of policy areas. EU funding can be managed jointly by the European Commission and national authorities, directly by the European Commission or indirectly by other authorities inside or outside the EU, depending on the nature of the funding concerned.

- The July European Council agreed a new seven-year budget of €1.074 trillion with substantial funding for Cohesion, CAP, Erasmus, Horizon, migration and asylum, and the EU’s Neighbourhood and Development Instrument.

- The purpose of this capacity building programme programme is to assist civil society organisations (NGOs, community-based organisations, trade unions, professional associations, social movements and networks, media, academia as well as city and county councils and regional assemblies) to better access EU funding. This will be done including through website and social media channels and holding targeted training and information events.

- The Wheel is Ireland’s national association of charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises. With over 1,750 members, it is the largest representative body for the charity, community, voluntary and social enterprise sector. Visit for more information.

- This Access Europe programme will run for three years. The Wheel was awarded this contract following a tendering process. 

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