The Taoiseach has announced more than €50 million in funding for a range of Shared Island partnership programmes.

Speaking in Dublin Castle at the second Shared Island forum, Micheál Martin outlined that over the last two years the Government has allocated over €140m from the Shared Island Fund for various projects.

This morning's announcement takes the total allocated from the fund during the past two years to over €190 million.

Mr Martin said: "We are ready to do far more with a new Northern Ireland Executive and with the UK government to invest collaboratively, in new ways, and at unprecedented scale. Our goal is to create a more connected, sustainable and prosperous island, for all communities".

In the new package and over the next three years, programmes to be funded include biodiversity actions on peatlands, tourism initiatives and an additional contribution to the North-South Research Programme.

It is part of the Government's Shared Island initiative to engage with all communities and political traditions on a shared future, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.

Today's announcement was Mr Martin's last engagement with the programme before he is replaced by Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar on 17 December.

Mr Martin said €10m will be provided for a cross-border peatland restoration programme led by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, along with an investment of €1m for a new all-island invasive species and biosecurity partnership.

Over €7m will be provided to tourism agencies to progress a collaboration between the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route.

"We are committing €12m for development of a new innovation hub in the north west next year to take up the real untapped potential of deeper cross-border enterprise links," the Taoiseach said.

"Given the success and impact of the North South Research Programme, we've allocated a further €10m from the Shared Island Fund, for the second call to commence next year. Supporting more strategic institutional connections in higher education across the island".

He added that the Government has also committed up to €8m for a major Shared Island dimension to the Creative Ireland Programme and for other cultural interactions on the islands.

A new €3m call will commence shortly for cross-border projects, led by communities working with local authorities to help reach climate and energy targets, north and south.

While a new €15m Shared Island electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure scheme is due to commence in January, to fund sports clubs across the island to install publicly-available EV charging point.

Priorities for 2023 were also set out by Mr Martin, looking at enterprise development, supporting education, rail connections as well as an island-wide greenway network to create greater links north and south.

"We will shortly be announcing a new Shared Island civic society fund under the auspices of the Department of Foreign Affairs, with a contribution of €2m from the Shared Island Fund over three years".

Mr Martin said the Shared Island initiative will continue once Leo Varadkar succeeds him as Taoiseach later this month.

He said it is a "core part of the programme for government" and his Cabinet colleagues are "very positive" about the initiative.

The initiative is very much associated with Mr Martin and he conceded today that in the beginning, some ministers "didn't quite realise what would transpire".

However, he said that at the last Cabinet meeting Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney were reflecting on the "positive impact it has already had".

Asked if he would like to remain responsible for the Shared Island initiative by becoming Minister for Foreign Affairs in the upcoming reshuffle, Mr Martin said: "I'm not going to speculate about what might transpire."

In recent weeks there has been heightened speculation that the Taoiseach will move to Iveagh House when the reshuffle is announced on 17 December.

Mr Martin added that he is "not surprised" that twice as many people from Northern Ireland would vote to remain in the UK rather than for Irish unity.

He said there is a long way to go to achieve unity, after the new survey also showed that there is a majority of more than four to one in favour of a united Ireland in the Republic.

He said he is "more concerned" about the substance of learning to share the island with different communities, rather than poll findings themselves.

"To me, since the day we signed the Good Friday Agreement, it's been a journey of trying to build reconciliation, mutual understanding, and we have a long way to go," the Taoiseach said.

Additional reporting by Paul Cunningham, PA