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‘Call for Housing 2020’ has been issued by Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, to property owners and developers with vacant properties to make them available for use as social housing.


Members of the Irish Council for Social Housing have rolled out a range of measures to meet the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.





Clann aims to address the growing demand for innovative housing for older people by delivering over 800 new homes before the end of 2022. County councils in Kildare, Meath and Wicklow have rolled out a Housing First model that will focus on ending homelessness for people with complex needs across the three counties.





Dublin City Council has received approval for the regeneration, construction and redevelopment on a range of social housing, commercial and community schemes around the city.












An additional investment of €15bn over the next six years in infrastructure and housing is needed to solve the housing and climate change crises in the long-term, according to the Construction Industry Federation.

The new Waste Action Plan contains a range of measures to improve waste planning and management to move Ireland towards a circular economy under the new five-year policy.

With people-friendly places rolled out by Cork City Council, the ‘Reimagining of Cork City’ plan has enabled changes to the configuration of city streets, traffic, modes of transport and quality of life.





Climate Action Strategy Page 22

Meath County Council’s user-friendly employee engagement app is now available for both indoor and outdoor staff, with the roll out of Thrive.App, following last year’s pilot project.

The 2023 European Green Capital and the 2022 European Green Leaf Awards will again serve to recognise the commitment by those cities in becoming more sustainable regions.





Meath Council App Page 31

The European Commission’s Green Deal aims to reach climate neutrality across Europe by 2050. The Irish Green Building Council is leading a number of projects to support local authorities during this transition.

Waterford’s Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan, which forms part of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region, provides a high level framework for the sustainable development of the overall Metropolitan Area.







Construction Industry Page 17

The County and City Management Association, in collaboration with the Climate Action Regional Offices, is developing a strategy to meet the scale and ambition of the Local Authority Climate Action Charter.

One of Kildare County Council’s latest social housing schemes, under Rebuilding Ireland’s Action Plan, has seen the delivery in Rathangan of 18 new properties to families and individuals who are on the council’s social housing list. Mike Flannery, CEO of Bartra Capital Property says there’s a troubling myth which implies that shared living puts greater risk on the health of residents in a Covid-19 environment than those living in apartment or house shares.


Waterford North Quays SDZ Page 42

Waterford City and County Council has granted planning permission for the North Quays Strategic Development Zone – an eight-hectare real estate mixed-use scheme in the heart of the city, which comprises the North Quays, Frank Cassin Wharf and the former IAWS site.

With construction now underway on three new infrastructure projects at the Adamstown Strategic Development Zone in South Dublin, the €20m development is due for completion in 2022. JOURNAL FOR CITY AND COUNTY COUNCILS


South Dublin’s Adamstown SDZ Page 50

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From 2018, the role of conducting audits on the external parties receiving SICAP funding has been subsumed into the internal audit function of Local Authorities. At Crowleys DFK, we have the expertise to conduct SICAP audits for Local Authorities’ Internal Audit Units and Local Community

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COUNCIL REVIEW 14 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-6785165 Email: admin@councilreview.ie www.oceanpublishing.ie/council-review Editor Grace Heneghan Managing Director Patrick Aylward Graphic Design John Sheridan Advertisement Co-ordinator Audrey Fitzgerald ‘Follow’ the magazine on Twitter @councilreviews and ‘Like’ us on Facebook /councilreview.







Wicklow’s County Development Plan for 2021-2027 has set out future projects across economic development, settlement strategy, tourism and retail strategy, climate change, green infrastructure, sustainable transport and town planning.

Local authorities can make use of a blueprint for an effective community response to the Covid-19 crisis under the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, according to Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.





Wicklow County Council Page 72

Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) has made funding available for planning, training, capital and marketing to make rural communities smarter and more sustainable for the long-term. A recent ‘Smart Villages’ workshop heard that the initiative could be duplicated in other rural regions around Ireland.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is supporting a new UCD pilot project to enable and empower citizens to monitor local traffic data and air pollution, by installing sensors in their own properties.





Human Rights & Equality Page 77

Limerick City and County Council and the Land Development Agency are driving regeneration and affordable housing development, as part of a mixed-use city quarter initiative in the area surrounding Limerick’s Colbert Station.

Tomás Ó Siochán, CEO of the Western Development Commission, outlines the WDC’s current five-year strategy, as part of its statutory role in supporting balanced social and economic development across seven western and north-western counties.





Kilkenny LEADER Partnership Page 80

Cllr Mick Cahill’s time at the helm of Association of Irish Local Government – the national organisation that represents elected members of Ireland’s 31 local authorities – has seen a progressive vision take hold, linking both local and national politics.

The ‘Adopt A Monument’ scheme will be reviewed next year to measure how well it is meeting community needs, best conservation practice and the aims of the Heritage Council, which is encouraging communities to take a more active role in maintaining historical monuments in their area.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information included is correct, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for errors,omissions or discrepancies. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher.





Tomás Ó Siochán, CEO Western Development Commission Page 93

Larry Fenelon, solicitor and co-founder of a legal tech company, outlines how technology is helping local authorities to reduce public liability claims by delivering appropriate solutions to digitally collate the correct data.

With Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards 2020 due to be presented on 26 November, we look back on last year’s ‘Local Authority of the Year’ Award winner – Fingal County Council.

All rights reserved Council Review © 2020

AILG President Page 97



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IRELAND WILL NOT MEET ITS 2020 CLIMATE CHANGE TARGETS - CCAC The Climate Change Advisory Council CCAC has stressed the urgency of shifting from planning to action to reduce emissions, to meet our climate targets and to put Ireland on track to achieve a net-zero emissions economy and society by 2050. However, a radical shift in gear is required to meet the 2030 targets, since it is clear Ireland will not meet its 2020 targets, according to Prof John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Council. The CCAC’s Annual Review contains strong recommendations for additional policies and measures to ensure Ireland meets its existing targets, and the ambition contained in the Programme for Government 2020 and developments at EU level add more urgency to the recommendations of the Council. The Review’s findings reveal that overall national emissions showed no significant change in 2018. There was a 10% reduction in the electricity sector, largely due to reduced operating hours at Moneypoint. Meanwhile, other sectors have not delivered emissions reductions on the scale required, with increases seen in some sectors. The Review highlights that 2019 was the ninth consecutive year with temperatures above normal in Ireland and the winter of 2018/2019 was the warmest winter on record in 119 years. “The imperative for climate action remains, despite the understandable immediate focus on COVID-19. Climate change is happening now. Recent extreme events, such as storms Ellen and Francis in August show that we are vulnerable and that adaptation to climate change is essential,” noted Prof Fitzgerald. “With limited resources, the policy focus must be on delivering cost-effective, socially sustainable and environmentally compatible measures that achieve decarbonisation and climate resilience by 2050,” he added. The Council recommends that the carbon tax be raised to €35 per tonne of carbon dioxide in Budget 2021, rising to €100 per tonne by 2030. The increase in the carbon tax is required to address the effects of the fall in fossil fuel

A radical shift in gear is required to meet 2030 targets, according to Prof John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC). prices over the last year, which would otherwise lead to an increase in emissions. “The Council is clear that the burdens and benefits of policy measures necessary to tackle climate change must be fairly distributed across the population, ensuring that those on lower incomes or with other vulnerabilities are not disadvantaged – in other words, that there is a ‘just transition’,” he added.

The CCAC is an independent body set up under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 to advise the government on climate change policy and assess Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy by 2050. For further information visit www.climatecouncil.ie.


This year’s Electric Vehicles Summit on Thursday 15 October is going virtual in order to adapt to the current environment and the growing demand for delegates to join the conference online. Delegates will have the opportunity to step into the unique virtual summit environment, which includes access to the main virtual conference stage for the full day, live speaker and panel Q&A sessions, copies of presentations and content post-event, as well as the opportunity to network with other attendees, speakers and partners in real time.

For further information the visit www.evsummit.ie/agenda


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E-WASTE RECYCLING REGISTERED A RECORD 15-YEAR HIGH IN JULY A nationwide post-lockdown buying spree for electrical goods has seen the country’s largest recycling scheme record July as the biggest month in its 15-year history. WEEE Ireland recovered 3,763 tonnes of electrical waste during the month of July – the equivalent of 12,800 fridges or 1.7 million small appliances – resulting in a new national monthly e-waste record. A total of 58% (2,200 tonnes) of large and small items came back through free collection points at retailers, which saw an 18% annual increase on last year, attributed mainly to a rapid rise in sales of electrical goods. “There was an increase in waste recovered from local authority recycling centres, due to household clear-outs, but the real driver in this record month has come through the ‘We’ll Take It Back’ retail programme,” said Leo Donovan, WEEE Ireland’s CEO (pictured below).

“Our retail partners have seen a sharp rise in sales of bigger ticket items, such as white goods, many of which were not practical to buy during lockdown and need installation. “There is also an upsurge in demand for TVs and screens of all types as consumers integrate their home and working lives with more office equipment. The take back of e-waste through retailers is higher in Ireland than in any other country in Europe.” He said that both retailers and manufacturers have reported a marked increase in sales of electrical goods in recent months, prompting a record rise in waste items being recycled at over 500 store locations throughout Ireland. “As well as Ireland having a limited amount of local authority recycling centres compared to other European member states, there is a mandatory take-back requirement in place by retailers under Irish WEEE regulations. With increased retail sales comes increased recycling of old and broken appliances under WEEE Ireland’s ‘We’ll Take It Back’ programme,” he added. The programme was launched in 2014 by WEEE Ireland and industry stakeholders to support electrical retailers across Ireland in their legal obligation to take back e-waste, waste battery and lighting equipment for free from consumers. Since establishing in July 2005, WEEE Ireland has diverted more than 418,200 tonnes of e-waste from landfill, 56% of which came through retailers. For an interactive map of local authority recycling centres and participating retailers and to find out more about what can be recycled visit weeeireland.ie


The Lord Mayor’s Awards, which usually take place annually, will now take place monthly until April 2021, to honour those who have worked tirelessly on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the next seven months members of the public will be invited to nominate either a frontline person or organisation whom they think has gone above and beyond their duties during the pandemic. At the end of each month Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu will decide the winner and present each one with a piece of specially-commissioned sculpture and a gift voucher worth €1,000. “Since March we’ve witnessed the Trojan effort by frontline workers to keep our communities going. This is a chance for people in Dublin to thank someone who has made a real difference in their life during Covid,” said the Lord Mayor. The nominations will be held over seven months in the following categories: • • • • • • •

Nominations for October close on 16 October, and can be made online www.dublincity.ie/lordmayorsawards.

October: Nursing Homes November: Transport December: Hospital Services Staff January: Retail February: Emergency Services March: Hospital Medical Staff April: Community

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu plans to thank all monthly winners at a special reception in the Mansion House before next summer.



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NEW MEATH CIVIL DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS OPENS IN NAVAN The new Meath Civil Defence HQ in Navan, which represents an investment of over €2.6m from Meath County Council with a contribution from National Civil Defence, was officially opened by Justice Minister Helen McEntee TD, at Mullaghboy Industrial Estate, Navan in late September. The building will be named ‘Moat View House – Arás Radharc an Mhóta’ and is Meath County Council’s first building with an A3 Energy Rating and includes 21 solar PV panels producing a maximum of 4.5kw of electricity for use in the building. The new 970m² sustainable building encompasses a vehicle bay area, kitchen with adjoining dining room, training room, offices, changing rooms/toilets, stores, comms room and radio room, with an outdoor training area also on site. On officially opening the building, Justice Minister McEntee said that during this pandemic Meath Civil Defence volunteers have done so much good in so many ways over the last seven months by helping out other state agencies, or simple things like

dropping off medication or shopping to those in need with a friendly smile behind the mask. “The 190 Meath Civil Defence volunteers can feel a sense of pride and achievement in their new state of the art building, and also in their strong local track record that helped make the business case for this investment.” Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive of Meath County Council, commended

the work of the 185 volunteers who have undertaken over 500 Covid-19 taskings since the beginning of the pandemic. “Civil Defence is very important to Meath County Council and to the people of Meath. It has played a key role in supporting the principle response agencies during the pandemic, such An Garda Síochána, the Fire Service, the HSE and other frontline agencies,” Maguire noted.

Pictured at the opening of Meath Civil Defence HQ (l-r): Mayor of Navan Cllr Francis Deane, Meath’s Chief Fire Officer Sheila Broderick, Justice Minister Helen McEntee, Garda Inspector Peter Gilsenan, Civil Defence Officer Michael Fitzsimons, Meath County Council’s Chief Executive Jackie Maguire, Cathaoirleach Cllr David Gilroy, Director of Services Des Foley, Fr Declan Hurley and Canon Clarke.


A new multi-denominational special needs school in Co. Cavan is currently under construction, and the proposed timeframe of the €11m development has been extended, due to Covid-19 protocols, with work expected to take in the region of 24 months to complete. The Holy Family Special School is a special national school for pupils aged four to eighteen years, from the catchment area of the counties of Cavan and Monaghan. The multi-denominational school caters for pupils with severe/profound learning disabilities, moderate/multiple learning disabilities and for pupils with autism who also have a moderate/multiple or severe/ profound learning disability. When the doors are finally opened, the new Holy Family

School in Cootehill, Co. Cavan, will consist of a new one to two-storey replacement Special Needs School building with 26 classrooms and associated ancillary accommodation, with 94 car parking spaces, bus drop-off, one sports pitch, play areas, sensory garden and site boundary treatment with landscaping to include connection to external perimeter pavement. A 16-classroom single-storey prefabricated modular temporary school is being constructed on an alternative site for decant purposes during the construction of the new school. The existing school building, prefabricated structures and derelict bungalow have been demolished, including the removal of asbestos in the existing structures to make way for the new school building. The main contractor Tracey Group from Co. Fermanagh, and of mechanical and electrical subcontractors started work on the development in July 2018, with the In October 2018, the then first sod cut on the site Taoiseach Leo Varadkar cut the of the new school in first sod on the site of the new October 2018 by the then Holy Family School, Cootehill, Co. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Cavan.

The new Holy Family School will consist of a one to twostorey replacement Special Needs School building with 26 classrooms and associated ancillary accommodation.


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CORK FINISHES FIFTH IN LEAGUE OF EUROPEAN CITIES AND REGIONS Cork City has been hailed the fifth overall best city in Europe for economic potential, according to the Financial Times FDI European Cities and Regions of Future 2020/2021 league, ranking higher than European cities including Amsterdam, Oslo and Frankfurt. Welcoming the accolade, Cork City Council’s Chief Executive Ann Doherty said: “Cork City Council has worked hard with IDA Ireland, UCC, MTU and Enterprise Ireland to make Cork a global investment capital where businesses are enabled to flourish and expand. Because we are an agile, compact city each investor who comes to Cork City can enjoy focused attention from the agencies to support the needs of business.” The prestigious ranking looks at metrics such as GDP growth, credit rating, economic freedom and labour productivity with Cork scoring highly in each of these areas.

A total of 75 European cities were ranked according to Economic Potential, Innovation & Attractiveness, FDI Performance, Cost Effectiveness and Start-up Environment, as well as by a sixth category around broad FDI Strategy. As the fastest growing city in Ireland, it is projected that Cork’s population will continue to grow over the next 20 years, reaching over 350,000 by 2040. Fast growing indigenous companies as well as multinationals have chosen Cork to take advantage of Ireland’s ecosystem’s vast strengths, combined with the quality of life and environment that exists here. Over €1bn of office, hotel and apartment developments are currently underway in the city, while the Cork Docklands area is set to provide 179 hectares for business regeneration with employment projections of 30,000 jobs and 30,000 residents.

INTERNATIONAL GREEN FLAG AWARDS FOR DUBLIN, GALWAY AND WATERFORD International accreditation for park excellence in Ireland has jumped again this year, during a season which has seen a massive increase in park visitors, with a surge in urban park Green Flag accreditations across cities in Dublin, Galway and Waterford. There has also been a further expansion of the scheme to include new types of public green spaces. For example, the Waterford Greenway was accredited, while in Cavan a UNESCO Global Geopark become a Green Flag Award Site for the first time. Numbers of International Green Flag Award Sites for the best parks and gardens in Ireland have surged again this year. New green flag parks and gardens, accredited by teams of trained volunteer judges, include for the first-time sites from Cavan, Donegal, and Waterford. Only awarded for exceeding tough environmental standards in green space management, and excellence of visitor attractions – the Green Flag Award for Parks is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world. A total of 84 Irish Parks and Gardens from across the Republic of Ireland received their 2020 Green Flags. From among 15 countries whose parks met the standard this year there were once again more Green Flag Awards secured by Irish parks and gardens than by any country, other than the UK where the scheme originated in 1996. This year participating countries included Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, and the USA. The 2020 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, nature parks and green spaces from across the country. This year has seen the number of Green Flag Community Award sites in Ireland more than double from last year. Additional community run parks and gardens were accredited in Carlow, Donegal, Fingal - North County Dublin,

The Waterford Greenway was accredited with an International Green Flag award for 2020. Kildare, Galway, Roscommon and Wexford. The Green Flag Award also includes community initiatives such as community gardens and parks, and Tidy Towns projects. In Ireland the Green Flag Community Award Scheme is co-ordinated with the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development.

For further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes e-mail Robert Moss at rmoss@eeu.antaisce.org.


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THREE-MONTH EXTENSION BREAK ON LOCAL AUTHORITY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS The mortgage payment break, already in place for local authority home loan borrowers, will be extended by a further three months, for those continuing to face difficulties due to the Covid-19 emergency. In making the announcement, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD (pictured here) said that due to the continuing economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19, many local authority home loan borrowers continue to face difficulties in paying their mortgage or have very real fears that they will face repayment problems in the future. “To help people in this situation, I am extending the mortgage payment break period by another three months, allowing people a total of nine months to get back on their feet. I am also extending the deadline for applying for a payment break until the end of 2020 to provide for borrowers who may yet suffer setbacks in the coming months. Local authority home loan borrowers could already avail of two payment breaks totalling up to six months and borrowers who take up a third payment break will be contacted by their local authority during the payment break to assess their financial situation and discuss options if necessary. “Any local authority home loan borrower facing difficulties due to Covid-19 are urged to contact their local authority

as soon as possible, in particular, to access the application form and information that will be available on each local authority’s website. “Importantly, no additional costs to the original home loan balance will arise for the borrower who avails of these measures, as borrowers are not charged interest for the period of the breaks,” concluded Minister O’Brien.

CORK COUNTY TOWNS REVEAL A NEW VISION FOR THE FUTURE Eight towns across Cork County have been developing new visions for their respective towns as part of the ‘My Town, My Plan’ Community Training Programme, with the concept of developing greenways/trails and parks being a general theme across most towns. Community representatives from Carrigaline, Cobh, Clonakilty, Kinsale, Midleton, Rosscarbery, Skibbereen and Youghal committed to several months of engagement and participation to collaborate and develop new ideas. The Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence, part

of the School of Business at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) designed and delivered the programme, funded through SECAD Partnership CLG. The face-to-face training and consultative sessions began last September with the April and May sessions moving online when Covid-19 hit in mid-March. Dr Helen McGuirk, Head of the Hincks Centre said: “We noticed that one general theme across most towns is the idea of developing greenways/trails and parks, opening up new areas to be explored and enjoyed by locals and visitors. “This is particularly pertinent with many Irish holidaymakers opting for a staycation this year due to Covid-19. The shared learning between the towns has been incredible and the centre is delighted to have played a part in empowering these local communities.” The programme comprised of four core topics on developing community projects and enterprises, moving from ideas to validation, legal structures/governance and strategic planning, delivered in each town over eight evening sessions. In addition to these topics, each town group selected four specialist topics most relevant to their own town’s future development. Two online shared learning evening events on 29 September in West Cork and 7 October in South Cork showcased each town’s work so far, covering topics such as social enterprise, retail in towns and tourism.

Programme participants pictured at Fernhill House Hotel in Clonakilty (l-r): Sandra Gallagher, Skibbereen; Alan Clayton, Kinsale; Denis Calnan, Rosscarbery and Margaret O’Donovan, Clonakilty including Ballineen, Enniskeane and Dunmanway.

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Respond, the not-for-profit Approved Housing Body

TECTURAL TEAM (AHB), and service provider, recently welcomed An

Taoiseach Michael Martin TD, Mayor of Fingal David

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and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, to a new development in North County Dublin where Respond is building 59 new homes. This development, currently under construction at CTURALCarr’s TEAM Lane, Malahide Road, will consist of a mix of 22 one-bedroom apartments; 30 two-bedroom apartments GLOBAL REACH and seven three-bedroom apartments, with associated car parking and cycle parking spaces. The scheme is located close to a range of retail and public facilities including schools, health services and sports venues. The homes have been built for general needs housing and have been acquired through Capital Advance Leasing Facility from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage funding and private finance from the Housing Finance Agency, in partnership with Fingal County Council under Rebuilding Ireland. The scheme is due for completion in the third quarter of 2020. Niamh Randall, spokesperson for Respond, said that support from government partners is essential to the work of Respond. “With 1,288 homes currently in construction on sites all around the country we expect this number to increase by year end. This development is only possible with the ongoing co-operation of our partners. HROUGHOUT IRELAND   “We would like to thank Fingal County Council, the ITECTURE + URBANISM  Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Housing Finance Agency. We remain committed to LL PLACED TO SERVICE    our part building homes throughout the country and playing




An Taoiseach Michael Martin TD pictured on site, where Respond is building 59 new homes at Carr’s Lane on Malahide Road.

providing services for families and individuals who are in need.” Respond’s Strategic Plan 2019-2023 sets out the plan to build at least 2,500 additional social housing homes 2019-2023, and Randall said that they are well on the way to exceeding this target by an additional 200 homes per annum despite the impact of Covid-19. “We are building homes throughout the country for families and individuals who are in housing need. We see first-hand the devastating impact of homelessness and insecure housing in our work with families and children. “Our long-term aim is to provide lifetime social and affordable homes and support in vibrant and diverse communities. Over the last 38 years we have built 6,370 properties in total including homes, community buildings and group homes.”





Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD has paid tribute to the ongoing work of all local authority community call teams around PLACED TO SERVICE    country who are supporting thousands of the more vulnerable citizens the OJECTS NATIONWIDE  during the pandemic. Community Call teams been providing vital practical supports such as the collection and delivery of essential food and medicines to those cocooning, as well as support for those experiencing isolation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since 31 March, the teams have received more than 55,000 calls and made 21,500 follow-up calls to citizens. On his recent visit to the offices of Dublin City Council, Minister Burke (pictured right) paid tribute to the “ongoing excellent work of DCC’s Community Call team”, and all teams nationwide. “Local authorities are here to serve and reach out to communities in whatever way they can during these awful Covid-19 times. This message is now particularly important in Dublin, where we are urging everybody to be more vigilant and reduce their contacts.”



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An additional investment of €15bn over the next six years in infrastructure and housing is essential to overcome the impact of Covid-19 in the short-term and to solve the housing and climate change crises in the long-term, according to the Construction Industry Federation.


of how the industry and government operate to ensure essential housing and infrastructure is delivered optimally.” He said that the CIF will engage with Government to identify the key projects based on the immediate need for stimulus and sustainable and balanced regional development within the NDP and Project Ireland 2040. He added that CIF members have reported a slowdown in housing (down 45% year on year) and infrastructure projects, particularly in the regions. “Companies now need a strong, ambitious commitment to increasing investment to bolster the industry’s confidence in a very challenging environment,” he noted.

he Construction Industry Federation (CIF) maintains that the Government should take advantage of the current low interest rates to invest an additional €15bn over the next six years in infrastructure and housing. A CIF delegation, led by Director General Tom Parlon, met with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Micheal McGrath in mid-September to identify critical infrastructure and housing projects that could underpin economic recovery in other sectors such as tourism and retail in the short term. The CIF’s pre-budget submission contained an economic impact assessment of the construction industry on the wider economy. It notes that every €1bn invested in infrastructure, housing and other construction-related activity leads to €1.85bn in additional GDP output, 1,200 additional jobs and €140m in Exchequer revenue (excluding levies etc), The CIF’s economic impact analysis shows that construction generated directly and indirectly over €50bn for the economy, contributing €19bn to the economy through wages and profits. The construction body suggests that the €15bn stimulus package would, by these figures, generate an additional €27bn in output, 18,000 FTE jobs, €2.1bn in Exchequer revenue and €10.2bn in wages and profits up to 2027.

SHARED EQUITY SCHEME The CIF is calling for the Government to introduce a shared equity scheme, as one of its main recommendations to alleviate Ireland’s housing crisis. In conjunction with the Help-to-Buy (HTB) scheme, it claims this will remove the ever-growing group in society locked out of the market and further adding pressure to the rental market. The CIF also recommends that the HTB scheme be available until 31 December 2025 to provide certainty to the market and enable homebuyers to secure mortgage deposits for new homes. Recommendations included in the pre-budget submission include a multi-annual deep retrofit scheme for homes (based on the Home Renovation Incentive model); increasing Irish Water’s operational budget to €2bn per annum; an additional €3bn for regional projects over a three-year period, and to establish a €50m SME-focused fund to support companies in taking on new apprenticeships. The CIF Director General said that the construction industry is best-placed of all economic sectors to rebuild Ireland’s economy in 2021 and shape a sustainable, dynamic, and citizen-focussed Ireland 2040. “Our research shows that every euro invested in the construction industry today has the greatest positive impact across the economy.”

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY CIF Director General, Tom Parlon said that the Government has a unique opportunity to drive recovery, solve the housing crisis, build climate change resilience and facilitate Ireland’s Covid-19 response by increasing investment in infrastructure, housing, and other construction activity. “The reality is that the construction industry is the economic sector best-placed to generate the economic activity to erode the debt from dealing with Covid-19 as we have proven we can operate at capacity within the Covid-19 context. “We believe the ambition to do so is there within the Government. What is required now is a fundamental recalibration



FIVE-YEAR PLAN OF ACTION SETS TARGETS TO TACKLE WASTE A range of measures to tackle waste planning and management to move Ireland towards a circular economy under the new National Waste Policy 2020-2025, was recently announced by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan TD.


he Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy forms part of the government’s commitment in the Programme for Government to publish and start implementing a new National Waste Action Plan. This new five-year national waste policy, in giving direction to waste planning and management in Ireland over the coming years, will be followed later this year by an All of Government Circular Economy Strategy. Under the new plan the government has set a number of targets to halve food waste by 2030, introduce a deposit-andreturn scheme for plastic bottles and cans, and to ban certain single-use plastics from July 2021 and place a levy on disposable cups. Other measures include applying green criteria and circular economy principles in all public procurement, a waste recovery levy to encourage recycling, and ensuring all packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2030. CLIMATE TARGETS On announcing the Waste Action Plan on 4 September, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan said that a transition to a circular economy offers Ireland the possibility of a sustainable alternative future, adding that it was a fundamental step towards achieving climate targets. “This action-focused plan will place Ireland at the vanguard of EU efforts. This new policy will require us to move beyond a position of merely managing waste, to one where we question our use of resources and materials, how to reconsider product design to reduce waste generation and extend the productive life of the goods and products that are used.” Minister Ryan added “We all know that our current model of production and consumption is unsustainable in terms of resource use, waste disposal, climate change and loss of biodiversity. What we need to do is rethink our relationship with our stuff – how we produce it, use it and dispose of it. This plan sets out how we will go about that in a way that benefits people and planet.”

The Waste Action plan outlines a range of new measures to tackle waste planning and management in Ireland.

OVERARCHING OBJECTIVES • To shift the focus away from waste disposal and treatment to ensure that materials and products remain in productive use for longer, thereby preventing waste and supporting reuse through a policy framework that discourages wasting resources and rewards circularity; • To make producers who manufacture and sell disposable goods for profit environmentally accountable for the products they place on the market; • To ensure that measures support sustainable economic models (e.g. by supporting the use of recycled over original materials); • To harness the reach and influence of all sectors including



Some of the measures can be implemented immediately, while others will require legislative or institutional change. The Minister recently signed three Regulations transposing EU Directives, which will form the legislative foundation for Circular Economy provisions, while a new Waste Management (Circular Economy) Bill will be introduced for national measures. The work of the crosssectoral Waste Advisory Group which has assisted in developing this plan will move now towards supporting its implementation.

The plan is a fundamental step towards achieving climate targets, according to Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. the voluntary sector, R&D, producers/ manufacturers, regulatory bodies, civic society; • To support clear and robust institutional arrangements for the waste sector, including through a strengthened role for local authorities.

KEY TARGETS OF ACTION PLAN Households and Businesses • Recycling targets for waste collectors. • Standardised bin colours across the State: green for recycling, brown for organic waste and black for residual. • Environmental levies – for waste recovery and single use coffee cups to encourage recycling and reuse. • Waste oversight body to manage consumer rights. • Education and awareness campaign to improve waste segregation.

Food Waste • Halve food waste by 2030 • Sustainable food waste management options for all homes and businesses • Waste segregation infrastructure for apartment dwellers Plastic, Packaging and Single Use Plastic (SUP) • Deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans • Single Use Plastics ban, including cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, stirrers, chopsticks, straws, polystyrene containers and oxodegradable plastic products from July 2021. • Commitment to ban further products such as (but not limited to) Wet wipes (non-medical); SUP hotel toiletries; SUP sugar/sauce/mayonnaise etc. items. • Reduce number of SUPs being placed on the market by 2026 Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) • Mandatory EPR for all packaging producers before 2024 EU deadline

FACTS AND FIGURES AT A GLANCE… At current rates of consumption Ireland will need three planet earths to meet resource needs by 2050. 200 million coffee cups are disposed of in Ireland every year; this equates to six every second. In 2016 Ireland produced 15 million tonnes of waste, equating to 3.2 tonnes for every man, woman and child in the State. Ireland wastes one million tonnes of food annually, costing the average household €700 every year. Between 1996 and 2012 it has been estimated that the amount of clothes purchased in the EU per person increased by 40%. However, more than 30% of clothes have not been worn for at least one year. • In 2018 an EPA report found that approximately 70% of all waste in residual bins from the commercial sector could potentially be diverted to either recycling or brown bins. • • • • •


Glenturas Construction’s particular expertise lies in windfarm work where we carry out large volumes of cable laying and the construction of the associated sub-station control buildings. We have also undertaken large scale groundwork projects in sub-contract format. This work takes us all over Ireland and mainland UK. Over this last 6 years we have continued to expand and have also moved into the social housing sector in the Principal Contractor role. We have the professionalism to take a project from planning stage right through to completion stage whilst continually offering a high level of workmanship. The projects we have completed to date are testament to the diversity of our skills/ expertise and how we take care of the finer details ensuring that every project is precision engineered to the client’s satisfaction.

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• Producers liable for eco modulation of fees • All packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030

Enforcement • Expanded role for WERLAs to address priority waste enforcement challenges • Unauthorised sites action plan and anti-dumping toolkit • Fixed penalty notices for breaches of waste law • Government Leadership on Circular Economy • High level All of Government Circular Economy Strategy • Take the necessary steps to include green criteria and circular economy principles in all public procurement. • Develop Circular Economy Sectoral Roadmaps • Explore how Ireland’s digital sector can accelerate transition to a circular economy.

Construction and Demolition Waste • Revision of the 2006 Best Practice Guidelines for C&D waste • Streamline by-product notification and end-of-waste decision making processes • Working group to develop national end-of-waste applications for priority waste streams • Textiles • Textile action group to explore options to improve future circularity in textiles • Work with Irish designers and retailers to promote eco-design for clothing and textiles • Consider global impacts of the international trade in used textiles

This new circular economy will present opportunities in job creation and long-term sustainability. “Every sector, household, business and organisation across Ireland has a role to play in the transition to a circular economy. “Through increased awareness, better-informed consumption decisions and buy-in to a shared responsibility, Ireland can become a leader in delivering environmental, social and economic benefits,” noted the Minister.

Treatment • Review State support for development of recycling infrastructure • Examine legislation and procedures for development of waste management infrastructure • Standardise waste streams accepted at civic amenity sites


Environmental groups – VOICE and the Conscious Cup Campaign – have welcomed the Government’s new Waste Action Plan and its focus on waste prevention and the circular economy. Mindy O’Brien, Co-ordinator of VOICE and member of the National Waste Advisory Group stated: “We applaud the collaborative approach taken by the Department to listen and discuss the views put forward by a wide group of stakeholders, and we look forward to further collaboration in the implementation of this action plan. We must ensure that many of the aspirational aspects of this plan come to fruition.” Many of the policy measures outlined in this action plan are designed to redefine how we look at resource use and waste, embracing a circular approach and investigating how to prevent waste at the beginning rather than building disposal systems to get rid of the waste at the product’s end. O’Brien continued: “We must design out waste and change current business models. The existing extract, consume and dispose consumption model has been revealed to be the cause of many of our environmental troubles, poisoning our oceans with plastics and harming developing countries living with the legacy of plastic mountains, contaminated water and polluted air. “We cannot continue to consume as if the earth has unlimited natural resources. Some businesses have shown great leadership but the majority of businesses will only change their manufacturing and operating systems when faced with strong government policy.” The new waste action plan’s many actions embrace sustainable production and consumption and the objectives set out in Sustainable Development Goal 12. Sorcha Kavanagh, Co-ordinator of the Conscious Cup Campaign and a member of the National Waste Advisory Group, welcomed the levy on single use cups. The environmental campaign group has also welcomed the following actions and is urging their quick implementation: • The establishment of a Deposit Refund Scheme for plastic bottles and cans to reduce the amount of litter found on streets, beaches and in the marine environment and to meet the mandatory 90% collection rate for plastic bottles as set out in the EU Single Use Plastic Directive; • The imposition of a latte levy as an economic incentive to encourage the take up and use of reusable cups, thus reducing the 200+ million disposable cups used in Ireland each year; • The future adoption of levies on ‘to go’ food containers to reduce the amount of unsustainable packaging used in this country and to pivot towards a new way of doing business, using more reusable and sustainable options; • Extending the ban of single use plastic items to include disposable coffee cups, condiment sachets and wet wipes, which are more and more often found littered on beaches and rivers.



LOCAL AUTHORITIES SET TO LEAD ON CLIMATE ACTION Local authorities need to develop a more concentrated effort in meeting their climate action targets and to engage and empower others to act to mitigate climate change. The CCMA, in collaboration with the Climate Action Regional Offices is developing a strategy to meet the scale and ambition of the Local Authority Climate Action Charter, writes David Mellett, Climate Action Regional Co-ordinator for the Atlantic Seaboard North.


he potential for local government to influence and deliver climate action at a local level is well outlined in the Climate Action Plan 2019, which notes: “Our local authorities occupy a pivotal role in their respective local communities and can act to demonstrate public sector leadership on climate action in their areas as well as key mobilisers of action at a local and community level.” Local authorities have a critical role to play in managing climate risks and vulnerabilities, due to their essential local knowledge of the natural and man-made environment. They also deliver over 1,000

services to the public either directly or in partnership with other government departments, each of which offers a significant opportunity for climate action. As evidenced in the joint CCMA/ LGMA publication in January 2020 (Climate Change – Global Issue, Local Leadership), the sector has already taken considerable action to address the climate challenge and is uniquely placed to drive forward the transition to a low-carbon climate resilient and environmentally sustainable society. Local authorities have a huge ambition for what the local government sector can achieve and the Local Authority

Pictured (l-r) at the launch of the LGMA/CCMA publication ‘Climate Change – Global Issue, Local Leadership’ in January 2020: Paddy Mahon, Chair of the CCMA Environment and Climate Action Committee; Dr Bernie O’Donoghue Hynes, Head of LGMA’s Research Unit, and Ciarán Hayes, Chairman of the National Local Authority Climate Action Steering Group. 22

Climate Action Charter, signed by all local authorities, commits signatories to be advocates for climate action in policies and practices. The Charter also ensures that they play a key leadership role locally and nationally in delivering an effective transition and behavioural change among citizens. MEETING THE TARGETS To meet this increased ambition for climate action, a more concentrated effort is now needed from the local authority sector to meet its own climate action targets and to engage, motivate and

As evidenced in the LGMA/CCMA publication, the sector has already taken considerable action to address the climate challenge and is uniquely placed to drive forward the transition to a low-carbon climate resilient and environmentally sustainable society.


programme of citizen engagement integral to achieving wider societal change. The creation of such a culture of climate action within local authorities should ensure that the sector alters the way it operates, is valued as a role model for climate action by society and opens itself to opportunities for partnerships with organisations and businesses with similar visions and goals.

empower businesses, industry, communities and individuals to act to mitigate climate change. To address this, the CCMA in collaboration with the Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) is developing a strategy to meet the scale and ambition of the Charter and identify how local authorities could deliver much wider change in the years ahead. The key pillars to meet this ambition: • Internal Change Management – Building a Culture of Climate Action • Climate Adaptation • Energy and Carbon Emission Management • Community Capacity Building and Behavioural Change • Biodiversity and Land Use Planning

CLIMATE ADAPTATION ACTIONS Climate change impacts are manifested locally, and the local authority sector is at the coal face of responding to these impacts. All 31 local authorities delivered their Climate Change Adaptation Strategies/Action Plans by September 2019, as required under the National Adaptation Framework. A range of adaptation actions (green, grey and soft) were identified across all local authority departments for implementation in the short to long term to offset these adverse impacts and to take advantage of any opportunities presented by these changes. The adaptation strategies and the Charter place a huge burden of responsibility on the sector to act early, plan well for adapting to climate risk and undertake preparatory actions that will decrease significantly the eventual costs of climate change impacts. Implementing the adaptation strategies and actions will be a dynamic process and local authorities will need to build knowledge through research, data collection and monitoring of the risks, opportunities and impacts at a local level.

INTERNAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT The Local Authority Climate Action Charter requires the sector to be “Advocates for Climate Action”, and the Climate Action Plan notes that as well as adopting some of the centrally designated frameworks, such as Green Procurement, “the challenge must be internalised”. The new goal for local authorities is to embed climate action into the vision of Local Government to ensure that the sector plays its part in the national transition objectives and to be promoters of change across society. A paradigm shift in the way local authorities currently deliver all their functions is required to mainstream and internalise the challenge with a coordinated, resourced and consistent

Mayo County Council and the Eco-Congregation organised the ‘Climate Fest’ – a day of talks, workshops, performances and conversation aimed at helping communities to make simple changes to their day-to-day lives to help tackle the climate emergency.


CONTACT WITH DEPARTMENT AND AGENCIES The sector will also need to closely liaise with the department and agencies, which have a responsibility for implementing the various sectoral adaptation plans that were submitted to the Government in September 2019. The sector will need to change the way it delivers services and develop new standards, codes, plans, policies or programmes to take account of future climate changes that enables incremental but effective change over time. Local authority departments will need to communicate

THE NATIONAL THE NATIONAL AMBULANCE AMBULANCESERVICE SERVICE In recent years, the NAS has embarked on a strategic investment programme to develop a modern, quality service that is safe, responsive and fit for purpose. The service is implementing a significant reform agenda which mirrors many of the strategic changes underway in ambulance services internationally as they strive for high performance and efficiency whilst coping The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is the statutory pre-hospital emergency and with a continuously increasing intermediate care provider for the state. In the Dublin area, ambulance services are provided demand on services.

by NAS and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB). Aero Medical services are provided by the Irish Air Corps and the Irish Coast Guard by agreement with each organisation. At a local level, the NAS is also supported by over 275(Mar 2020) Community First Responder schemes, responding to particular types of medical emergencies (i.e. cardiacand arrest, respiratory arrest, The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is the statutory pre-hospital emergency intermediate care chest pain, choking and stroke) where it is essential for the patient to receive immediate lifeprovider for the state. In the Dublin area, ambulance services are provided by NAS and Dublin Fire saving care whilst an emergency response vehicle is en route to the patient.

Brigade (DFB). Aero Medical services are provided by the Irish Air Corps and the Irish Coast Guard by In recent years, NAS has embarked on aisstrategic investmentby programme to develop agreement with each organisation. At the a local level, the NAS also supported over 275(Mar 2020) a modern, quality service that is safe, responsive and fit for purpose. The service is Community First Responder schemes, responding to particular types of medical emergencies (i.e. a significant reform agenda which mirrors many of the strategic changes cardiac arrest, respiratoryimplementing arrest, chest pain, choking and stroke) where it is essential for the patient underway in ambulance services internationally as they strive for high performance and to receive immediate life-efficiency saving care whilst an emergency response vehicle is en route to the patient. whilst coping with a continuously increasing demand on services.





CONTACT DETAILS: National Ambulance Service, Health Service Executive, Rivers Building, Tallaght, Dublin 24, D24 XNP2 PHONE: 01 463 1624/26 E-MAIL: director.nas@hse.ie





Pictured (l-r): Chief Executive Ann Doherty, Lord Mayor Cllr. John Sheehan, Fergus Gleeson, Senior Engineer, David Joyce, Director of Services (Operations) and Cormac O’Sullivan, Senior Executive Engineer following the announcement that Cork City Council is gearing up to roll out 76 electric vehicles. across functions and with other agencies to develop compatible and synergistic policies that translate into concrete programs and project activities that support adaptation measures or build adaptive capacity. As well as risks, there can also be positive effects of climate change and the sector needs to look at the ways in which can support communities and businesses to make the most of these opportunities. This could be through the introduction of new activities or services delivered through the LEO, or infrastructure projects to support projected tourism increases due to warmer summers in the future, or innovative products from companies in relation to responding to extreme weather events such as IT solutions or flood protection. ENERGY & CARBON EMISSIONS Local authorities have made significant

advances in terms of improving energy efficiencies in recent years. Under the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan the public sector was required to improve its energy efficiency by 33% by 2020. By year-end 2018 the sector had achieved 25% energy efficiencies which represents substantial energy savings for the sector (relative to 2009 baseline). More recently, the Climate Action Plan 2019 set more onerous targets on public sector bodies regarding energy efficiencies, whereby they must achieve energy efficiencies of 50% by 2030 relative to 2009 baselines. In addition, local authorities are also tasked with additional measures under the CAP, including: • Delivering a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. • Improving the energy efficiency of public sector buildings by 50% by 2030.


• Upgrading of public housing stock more than 40 years old to a B2 equivalent Building Energy Rating (BER) by 2030. • Demonstrating leadership in low emission transport options. There are, therefore, significant challenges ahead for the local government sector to achieve the 50% energy efficiency target by 2030. Greater investment and bundling of energy projects, such as that being delivered under the public lighting project, will be needed in the future. COMMUNITY CAPACITY BUILDING ‘Putting People First – Action Programme for Effective Local Government’ identifies the need for Local Government to build strong relationships and gain the interest of local people to provide for better engagement with citizens. As part of the ambition of local

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authorities to mobilise change, the approach to engage citizens must go beyond the range of communication, consultation, awareness raising, and citizen participation mechanisms used in the past. The challenge of transitioning the country to a low carbon climate resilient society is significant and requires meaningful actions and ongoing, long-term, deep engagement at local community level. Community action and support will be about enabling people to build their capacity to shape the society of which they are a part and to help communities become better able to address climate change and make the necessary changes in lifestyle. The sector needs to build capacity and resources to support local people to understand the impacts and opportunities of climate Mayo County Council has installed an 84kW solar PV array on Aras an Chontae, Castlebar. The 301 change in each community, PV panels will provide over 11% of Aras an Chontae’s electricity usage and will offset over 30,000kg the urgency of the situation, of CO2 per year. and to promote and example, safe cycling options are good for important functions including but not collaborate on local actions enhancing human health and the mobility limited to; provision of habitat, increased which go beyond volunteerism. of young people, and local food sourcing biodiversity, ecological corridors, climate It is important that use is made of the can provide an opportunity for the kind of change adaptation and mitigation, water existing structures and functions within community engagement that the localism treatment, water retention, local amenity each local authority including the PPN, and health agendas are seeking to foster. provision, air quality improvement, community groups, tidy towns etc, but cultural and heritage preservation, a the scale of the challenge will require IN CONCLUSION mentally restorative environment and dedicated resources on the ground that flood mitigation. understand local issues and constraints Moving towards a low-carbon climate The application of green infrastructure and can adapt the message and supports resilient and environmentally sustainable and nature-based solutions planning accordingly. society is the greatest challenge and at local and regional level provides opportunity of our times. It requires a strategic planning approach that BIODIVERSITY & LAND USE PLANNING decisive action now and investment in recognises interdependencies, protects Spatial planning is considered to be one resources, research and innovation to and enhances the networks of natural of the key policy areas with leverage in redesign our society. assets and delivers best outcomes for both mitigation and adaptation to climate The local authority sector has already biodiversity and climate. change and arguably can be the strategic demonstrated its strength and ability Nature-based solutions and green framework through which both are to lead on climate action and has the infrastructure also offers an opportunity positioned in the broader perspective of potential and ambition to bring people, to develop integrated strategies around sustainable development. communities and industry through this economic development, place-making The potential for the natural and rural development. These policies environment to act as a balance to necessary transition in a way that opens up also achieve other social objectives. For climate change serves a wide variety of opportunities and leaves nobody behind. 27

Why Cork City? Cork is Ireland’s second city and earmarked to be the


under Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan

Cork City has been hailed the



according to the Financial Times FDI European Cities and Regions of Future 2020/2021 league




FRIENDLIEST CITY EUROPE in a poll by Condé Nast Traveller’s 2018 Friendliest Cities in the World



BASE OF GLOBAL LEADERS It’s home to clusters in life sciences, ICT, financial and international services

ahead of both Dublin (€96,000) & London (€104,000)


of professionals who relocated to Cork are SATISFIED OR VERY

SATISFIED WITH THEIR MOVE according a survey of 27 different nationalities working in Cork

than Dublin


Cork was ranked as one of Europe’s



by the European Commission in 2017, in its EU-wide ‘Cultural & Creative Cities Monitor



employing almost

and the fastest growing airport on the island last year

IRELAND’S ANCIENT EAST and on the doorstep of


Cork offers

100 GBIT TIER 1 CONNECTIVITY with the lowest telecoms latency between the EU & US





with nearly

of those living in the city centre born outside Ireland

ENROLLED IN THIRD LEVEL COLLEGES including international students from



Office occupancy costs in Cork are approximately






Cork City is part of also generating the highest revenue per person in Ireland (€105,000 per person)





CORK’S TRANSPORT SYSTEM under the Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS)


‘REIMAGINED’ CORK CITY RAPIDLY RESPONDS TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC With 14 people-friendly places recently rolled out by Cork City Council, the ‘Reimagining of Cork City’ plan has enabled changes to the configuration of city streets, traffic, modes of transport and quality of life. The main focus is support local business while creating a more liveable and safer city.


ork City Council has quickly re-energised the existing core partnership (a representative group consisting of key stakeholders, including elected members of Cork City Council, Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association, An Garda Síochána, Iarnrod Eireann, Bus Eireann, as well as representatives from the retail and hospitality sectors in the city). Brian Geaney, Assistant Chief Executive, is chairing a City Council Cross-Directorate Action Team as ’a war cabinet’ to co-ordinate collaboration and strengthen its relationships with businesses, key stakeholders and the public to create and hammer home a rapid response to the pandemic. The public response to this initiative, a more pleasant, safer, and greener city centre is heartening and suggests that people are open to change. A survey by Cork Chamber had already prioritised issues such as public transport, cycling and green spaces. The council’s speedy stakeholder consultation got similar feedback. It awakened the city, encouraged footfall, protected public health, and facilitated responsible behaviour; thus, improving the visitor experience and quality of life. At the heart of this is the creation of 14 new ‘people friendly’ pedestrianised streets in the city with a multi-million euro enhancement of pedestrian and cycling options and improvements to city amenities (for details visit www.corkcity.ie). The transformation means that up to 1,000 residents and visitors to the city can eat and drink alfresco.

and from local businesses who, in some cases, have a larger turnover than before. The plan is funded by public and private investment. Substantial investment was made by businesses. The council has tapped into funding pools, in particular from the National Transport Authority (NTA) from existing programmes and its own resources. However, there is a grander plan. “The future of the physical city is dependent on how we live in it, how we congregate in it and carry out our leisure activities. It must be good inside, at the heart. Cork City needs to remain compact, be light on its feet, and be one of the best. This is just the opening salvo in our journey. The City centre was burned to the ground 100 years ago this year; we too will overcome our challenges and emerge stronger together from this,” noted Brian Geaney. Open spaces are critical to the informal economy, which many people depend on for their livelihoods. Geaney considers that Cork City needed to change anyway to be sustainable, the pandemic has only served to accelerate the process, a positive rethinking. He added that the media has been awash with praise for this creative plan, particularly environmentalists who support limiting cars into city centres, not to mention from the retail sector – ‘Here is a great example of a collaborative effort to find new ways of enhancing the consumer experience,’- Retail Excellence Ireland. So, quick off the mark on this one, let’s watch out for the next move from Cork City Council!

COLLABORATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS According to Geaney, “The key to our initial success was collaboration. It was not going to happen otherwise; tremendous efforts were made to enable this; the success and public acclamation of the project is testament to our iterative Stakeholder Engagement Plan. You must be authentic, build trust and constantly nurture relationships. It was important to consult and tweak plans even though this takes time.” This involved regular meetings to bring all facets of the project together, including the legal and regulatory changes necessary to close streets, redirect traffic, adjust street furniture, reorganise operations, extend footpaths and modify the public realm, add signage and messaging. This meant cross directorate collaboration at a level never witnessed before. The council has measured results from the public and media reaction, the data showing increased visitor numbers to the city


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MEATH COUNCIL STAFF THRIVE ON GREATER ENGAGEMENT! Meath County Council’s user-friendly, employee engagement app is now available for both indoor and outdoor staff on mobile and computer desktops, with the full roll out of Thrive.App, following the council’s successful pilot project last year.


eath County Council has over 850 employees comprising both indoor and outdoor staff. However with 35% of employees having no regular access to work emails or a desktop along with the current challenges presented by Covid-19, enhancing the level of communication and promoting employee engagement has proved to be very essential for the local authority. Jackie Maguire, Meath County Council’s Chief Executive, said: “Before the app, we used paper-based communication to alert staff of important information, and there was a communication barrier to outdoor staff who felt like they were the ‘last to know and hear’ information.” As previously reported in ‘Council Review’, the App has been developed to provide a weekly staff newsletter, HR policies and procedures, information on job vacancies, staff updates and social club events. And since the outbreak of the pandemic, the App now also provides information on health and safety and wellbeing, Covid-19 updates and more. “It’s helping us to provide a supportive and healthy working environment which is especially important during these challenging times. We’re empowering and enabling our employees, managers and supervisors with the right information at the right time to carry out their duties effectively,” Maguire noted. LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT Staff members can share images during extreme weather alerts that can then be shared by the council to customers on social media platforms. Staff can also engage with HR by submitting feedback and recommendations to assist the continuing development of features of the App. She added that as the council continues to encourage a culture of learning and development, “we have managed to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor staff by ensuring

Jackie Maguire, CEO of Meath County Council, pictured at the launch of the employee engagement app with council workers Ferenc Dancsa, Kevin Murphy and John Collier. everyone receives and contributes to the same information at the same time and in real time”. Meath County Council is the first local authority in Ireland to launch this employee engagement app, in partnership with Thrive, a Belfast-based software developer. And according to James Scott, CEO and Co-Founder of Thrive, as businesses continue to navigate these challenging times, effective employee engagement has never been so important. “We look forward to continuing to help Meath County Council achieve this in the weeks and months ahead and are delighted to be working with them. Our goal is to help as many organisations as we can to shift their communications from traditional methods such as printed newsletters, notice boards and team briefings to instant, modern, secure and engaging mobile apps that their employees love.” 31

THRIVING TECHNOLOGY Thrive is providing the technology and support to assist organisations in igniting their internal communications through these employee apps. Every employee can easily access real-time information they need to support their role, organisational updates across all areas of the business and feel supported and recognised as they carry out their duties. The app brings everyone together, including outdoor staff with limited or no access to corporate emails or intranets. Its client base includes councils, healthcare companies, manufacturing businesses, food firms, retailers and other organisations across the UK, Ireland and internationally. This software solution enables HR, Marketing, Internal and Corporate Communications, IT, Operations and other professionals to create and promote important, relevant, timely and customised information.


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EUROPEAN COMMISSION LAUNCHES COMPETITION TO FIND EU’S GREENEST CITIES The European Commission has launched the competition for the 2023 European Green Capital and the 2022 European Green Leaf Awards, which will again serve to recognise the commitment by those cities in becoming more sustainable regions. The deadline date for all applications in both award categories is Wednesday 28 October 2020.


he financial prize for both awards will be significantly increased to a combined €1 million, aimed at supporting cities to put in place urban sustainability measures. The 2023 European Green Capital winning city will receive €600,000, while up to two EGLA 2022 winning towns/cities will receive €200,000 each. This increased financial prize reflects the importance of cities for delivering on the objectives of the European Green Deal, including the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “Sustainability is not a luxury, it is a necessity. During these difficult times we want to help those European cities who are facing economic and social challenges to realise their sustainability vision. Past winners have shown it’s perfectly possible to live in a cleaner, greener environment and protect citizens’ health while having a thriving economy.” EUROPEAN SEAL OF APPORVAL Winning either of these awards is a seal of approval by the European Commission and brings many benefits such as increased international media coverage, a boost in local pride, a greater focus on environmental projects, and increased foreign investment. All finalists and winning cities also gain access to a network of previous finalists and winning cities where they share learnings on how to overcome key challenges. And with the increased financial prize, the winners are expected

to take on additional responsibilities, such as committing to tangible projects to enhance their city’s environmental sustainability. The annual European Green Capital Award (EGCA) is open to cities with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants, while the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA) is for towns/cities with a population of 20,000 to 99,999 inhabitants. A maximum of two cities can win the European Green Leaf each year. Following Galway’s success in winning the EGLA in 2017, this year the accolade went to Limerick (alongside the Belgian city of Mechelen) in recognition of its commitment to better environmental outcomes. However, the Treaty City has had to amend its programme of events to mark its designation as EGLA for 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 33

GREEN CAPITAL AWARD Since 2008, the European Green Capital Awards have been rewarding and highlighting the achievements of Europe’s greenest cities – those that are making urban environments better and healthier places to live. With more than two thirds of Europe’s population living in urban areas, these awards play a vital role in informing and inspiring other cities and towns that strive for urban sustainability and ecoinnovation towards implementing the European Green Deal. Each year, a panel of independent urban sustainability experts assesses the performance of the competing cities against 12 environmental indicators and selects finalists, to present to an international jury. To date, 12 cities have been awarded

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the title of European Green Capital since the initiative began a decade ago. Stockholm, Sweden, won the inaugural title in 2010, followed by Hamburg, Germany (2011); Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2012); Nantes, France (2013); Copenhagen, Denmark (2014); Bristol, UK (2015); Ljubljana, Slovenia (2016); Essen, Germany (2017); Nijmegen, The Netherlands (2018); Oslo, Norway (2019); Lisbon, Portugal (2020); and Lahti, Finland (2021).

DATES FOR THE DIARY 28 October 2020: Deadline for applications. April 2021: Announcement of finalists. June 2021: Jury presentations and announcement of winners.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Websites: ec.europa.eu/europeangreencapital or ec.europa.eu/europeangreenleaf; Emails: info@europeangreencapital.eu or info@europeangreenleaf.eu Twitter: @EU_GreenCapital (and use #EGCA2023 #EGLA2022) Facebook: @EuropeanGreenCapitalAward

Limerick City and County Council was given a prize of fund €75,000 on winning the EGLA to deliver on environmental objectives for 2020. Pictured (l-r): Laura Ryan, Karen Burke, Sinead McDonnell, European Commissioner Karmenu Vella, Simon Jennings, Derartu McDonnell, and Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Sheahan. GREEN LEAF AWARD Following the success of the European Green Capital Award, the European Green Leaf Award was established in 2015 to recognise the environmental efforts and achievements of smaller towns and cities (with populations of between 20,000 to 99,000

inhabitants). The same panel of 12 independent urban sustainability experts assesses the applications received based on six environmental topic areas, before the finalists are selected. To date, nine cities have been awarded the European Green Leaf title – Mollet del Vallès, Spain (2015); Torres Vedras, Portugal (2015); Galway, Ireland (2017); Leuven, Belgium (2018); Växjö, Sweden (2018); Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain (2019); Horst aan de Maas, The Netherlands (2019); Limerick, Ireland (2020); and Mechelen, Belgium (2020). For further information on the rules and application details visit www.egcaeglaportal.eu/

TREATY CITY TOPS EUROPEAN GREEN LEAF AWARDS FOR 2020 Limerick City’s programme of events to mark its designation as the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA) winner for 2020 has been deferred due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Ireland. With a total of 12 cities from across Europe having entered the EGLA competition, this year’s award was given as much for Limerick’s vision and commitment to a more sustainable future as it was for anything already achieved, along with the city’s ability to act as a green ambassador. Limerick showcased its ongoing commitment to monitor air quality and improve noise levels in the city and transform itself into Ireland’s first digital city by integrating several public services, creating smart neighbourhoods and energy districts. And the award follows on from Limerick becoming Ireland’s first ‘Lighthouse City’ in 2018, under the biggest research and innovation programme called Positive City Exchange, as part of EU’s Horizon 2020 project. The city will invest over €6.5m to establish Ireland’s first energy block in the heart of the mid-west. For updates on the new events programme visit www.limerick.ie/European-Green-Leaf-City


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The European Commission’s Green Deal to address climate and environmental challenges aims to reach climate neutrality across Europe by 2050. However, it will be critical to see this is implemented on the ground, according to Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council, and says the Council is now leading a number of projects to support local authorities and industry during this transition.


2050 CLIMATE NEUTRALITY The first European Climate Law will write into law the Green Deal objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. To achieve this goal, all sectors will need to decarbonise. For the built environment, this will mean going beyond the existing near Zero Energy Building Standard (nZEB). To support this move, a renovation wave initiative will be launched in September. This will aim at increasing the speed and depth of energy renovation (i.e. at doubling the current retrofit rate). This is highly welcome but various reports highlight that for Europe to deliver on its climate objectives, the rate needs to triple. Besides contributing to CO2 emissions reduction, energy renovation is critical in supporting jobs creation as part of the Covid-19 economic recovery plan. However, to date, the general commitment to provide regulatory and financial support to double the renovation rate remains vague. For instance, there was no proposal to create a dedicated financial tool to boost energy efficiency in buildings as part of the EU Economic Recovery Plan.

n late 2018, the IPCC issued a stark warning. It highlighted that limiting global warming to 1.5°C is crucial to avoiding the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. It also clearly established that achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement will require action at an unprecedented pace and scale. Five years after the Paris Agreement, the launch of the EU Green Deal and the clear commitment to carbon neutrality and resource efficiency are highly welcome. The EU Green Deal is a unique opportunity to demonstrate what a 1.5 °C degree shift for major economies looks like. It also takes a holistic approach to the built environment, but like all high-level strategies, it will be critical to see how it is implemented on the ground. The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) is already supporting Irish local authorities and the industry in this transition. In the EU, the construction sector currently accounts for 36% of all emissions, 50% of energy consumption, half of all raw material extraction, a third of all waste and water usage, and 18 million construction jobs. It is encouraging that the EU policymakers acknowledge these multiple challenges and take an integrated approach across different policy areas. A series of initiatives published (or to be published) as part of the Green Deal relate directly to the built environment.

EFFICIENT USE OF RESOURCES The European Green Deal provides a roadmap with actions to boost the efficient use of resources. For the first time ever, the EU’s new Circular Economy Action Plan acknowledges that 37



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embodied carbon in construction must be tackled. Most of the industry and policy focus to date has been on tackling operational carbon - 29% of global emissions. However, the construction of new buildings and infrastructure accounts for 11% of global carbon emissions, before they are even used or operated. These ‘embodied carbon’ emissions result from use of carbon intensive construction products and wasteful practices in the design and construction process. In order to meet the imperative to maintain the global temperature rise below 1.5°C upfront embodied carbon must be addressed in addition to operational carbon. It is extremely encouraging that the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan opens the door to exploring setting whole life carbon targets for the building sector, addressing the issue of embodied carbon, and integrating whole life carbon assessment into green public procurement and sustainable finance policy. All these actions will be further detailed in the EU’s strategy for a sustainable built environment to be published in 2021. The strategy should be designed to ensure coherence across relevant policy areas – carbon, energy, resource efficiency and management of construction and demolition waste. Besides taking into account embodied carbon, the strategy will promote measures to improve durability and adaptability of building assets, as well as initiatives to reduce soil sealing and

The first European Climate Law will write into law the Green Deal objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. rehabilitate abandoned brownfields. It will also support actions to increase the safe, sustainable and circular use of extracted soils. As an organisation that has always advocated for a more holistic approach to sustainability in the built environment, the Irish Green Building Council welcomes these integrated policies. However, action plans will need to be well-designed and ambitious to unlock the full potential tied up in our building stock and support our transition to a more sustainable built environment. ADVANCING NET ZERO PROGRAMME The Irish Green Building Council is already leading a number of projects to support local authorities and industry during this transition. The Advancing

FACTFILE – Pat Barry, Irish Green Building Council Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council which he co-founded in 2010, is an architect with over 20 years of experience in Ireland, Europe and South America. He has a Masters in Environmental Design of Buildings from University of Cardiff and is a qualified Passive House and DGNB consultant. The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) is Ireland’s leading authority on green building best practices with a network of over 140 green building organisations spanning the entire built environment industry. The IGBC is affiliated with the World Green Building Council (a network of over 80 national Green Building Councils worldwide with membership of over 27,000 of the most progressive international organisations and businesses). For further information visit www.igbc.ie


Net Zero programme challenges local authorities to reach net zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to be net zero carbon in operation by 2050. A number of high-profile cities, including Copenhagen, Helsinki and London, have already committed to decarbonising their building stock by 2050 as part of this global initiative, led by the World Green Building Council. To support Ireland’s local authorities in that process, the IGBC has made available a number of resources, such as webinars and mail courses, through its new online learning hub. The organisation is also developing a universal framework to effectively measure the environmental, social and economic impact of deep building renovation as part of the Horizon 2020 funded ‘Build Upon’ project. The Framework, which is being piloted by Dublin City Council from July to December, will allow local authorities to better identify best practice and to make a better business case for energy renovation. It will also inform our national renovation policies. A number of resources are also available on the IGBC’s learning hub to support local authorities to transition to more circular constructions. These include webinars on life cycle assessment, circular construction and minimising waste on site. The IGBC has also supported ‘One Click LCA’ in launching ‘One Click Planetary’. This free tool allows building professionals to measure embodied carbon in Ireland.

The Southern Regional Assembly is implementing the National Planning Framework (NPF) Project Ireland 2040 in the Southern Region. We are committed to working with our partner Local Authorities and other stakeholders to build a strong and resilient region that will be a Creative and Innovative Region, a Liveable Region and a Green Region. To deliver this vision we have a Strategy - The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (the RSES) for the Southern Region, which provides a 12-year framework for the sustainable spatial and economic development of the Region that nurtures all our places– urban and rural. We provide a Direct Link to the European Union through managing EU Programmes and working locally with partners on EU Projects and actions. We are partners on many EU funded projects that help deliver the objectives of the RSES such as building on the Regions’ smart specialisations, implementing multi-modal transport options, promoting a responsible approach to innovation and reduction of carbon emissions. We have also adopted Metropolitan Area Strategic Plans for Cork, Limerick - Shannon and Waterford which set out a framework for investment in our cities and metropolitan areas addressing the delivery of actions and investment priorities. 1. Compact Growth 2. Enhanced Regional Accessibility

4. Sustainable Mobility 3. Strengthened Rural Economies 4. Sustainable Mobility and Communitie 3. Strengthened Rural 4. Sustainable Mobility 3. Strengthened Rural1. Compact Growth 2. Enhanced Regional 3. Strengthened Rural Growth4. Sustainable Economies1. Compact Mobility 3. Strengthened Rural Accessibility Economies Economies and Communities 1. Compact Growth and Communitie Accessibility Economies and Communitie 4. Sustainable Mobility Mobility 2. Enhanced Regional4. Sustainable 3. Strengthened Rural and Communitie 1. Compact Growth Accessibility Economies 4. Sustainable Mobility for the Southern Region 2. Enhanced Regional 3. Strengthened Rural 4. Sustainable Mobility and Communitie 2. Enhanced Regional 3. Strengthened Rural 1. Compact Growth 1. Compact Growth Accessibility Economies Accessibility Economies 4. Sustainable Mobility and Communitie 2. Enhanced Regional 3. Strengthened Rural 5. A Strong Economy and Communitie 1. Compact Growth 4. Sustainable Mobility 2. Enhanced Regional 3. Strengthened Rural Accessibility Economies 1. Compact Growth 4. Sustainable Mobility Accessibility Economies Enhanced Regional 3. Strengthened Rural and Communitie 5. A Strong Economy 6. High-Quality Language, 8. Low Carbon, Programme mark (Used for endorsement)7. Diversity, Programme with explicit government text 6. High-Quality and Communitie Accessibility Economies 4. Sustainable Mobility International Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient and 2. Enhanced Regional 3. Strengthened Rural 1. Compact Growth International Connectivity and Communitie Enhancement Sustainable Society Economies 5. A Strong Economy 6.Connectivity High-Quality Accessibility 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, Tionscadal Éireann Rialtas na Tionscadal Éireann 5. A Strong Economy 6. High-Quality 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, Project Ireland hÉireann Project Ireland and Communitie International Government Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient and 5. A Strong Economy 6. High-Quality 2040 International 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient and of Ireland 2040 Connectivity Enhancement Sustainable Society 7. Diversity, Language, International Connectivity Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient and Enhancement Sustainable Society 5. A Strong EconomySustainable Society 6. High-Quality 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, Connectivity Enhancement Culture and Heritage Enhancement Tionscadal Éireann Rialtas na Tionscadal Éireann International Climate Resilient and Culture and Heritage Project Ireland hÉireann Project Ireland A Strong Economy 6. High-Quality Government 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, 2040 Connectivity 5. A Strong 6. High-Quality Enhancement Sustainable Society 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, of Ireland Economy 2040 8. Low Carbon, Climate Resilient International Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient and International Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient and Enhancement Sustainable Society A Strong Economy 6.Connectivity High-Quality and Sustainable Society 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, Connectivity Enhancement Sustainable Society 5. A Strong Economy High-Quality 7. Diversity, Language, 8. Low Carbon, International Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient6.and Tionscadal Éireann Rialtas na Tionscadal Éireann International Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient and Project Ireland hÉireann Project Ireland 6. High-Quality 7. Diversity, Language, Low Carbon, Connectivity Sustainable Society 9. Sustainable, Planned and 8.Enhancement Government 2040 of Ireland 2040 Connectivity Enhancement Sustainable Society International Culture and Heritage Climate Resilient 5. and A Strong Economy 10. A Healthy and 6. High-Quality 11. Inclusive 7. Diversity, Language, 11. Inclusive8. Low Carbon, Infrastructure-led Development 9. Sustainable, Planned Connectivity InternationalClimate Region Resilient and Sustainable Society Enhancement International InternationalCulture Learning Region Regionand Heritage and Infrastructure-led 11. Inclusive Tionscadal Éireann Connectivity Rialtas na Tionscadal Éireann Sustainable Society 10. A Healthy and 11. InclusiveEnhancement 11. Inclusive Project Ireland Development 9. Sustainable, Planned hÉireann Project Ireland 10. A Healthy and10. A Healthy 11. and Inclusive Learning International 9. Sustainable, Planned International Region Government 2040 Learning Region International Region 11. Inclusive Region of Ireland 2040 and Infrastructure-led 10. A Healthy and 11. Inclusive Learning Region 9. Sustainable, Planned and Infrastructure-led International Region Region International Region Development Learning Region International Region and Infrastructure-led Development 11. Inclusive 10. A Healthy and 11. Inclusive 9. 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2. Enhanced Regional Accessibility 2. Enhanced Regional Accessibility 2. Enhanced Regional

Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy


Website: www.southernassembly.ie | Email: info@southernassembly.ie | Phone: 051 860700 Southern Regional Assembly, Assembly House, O’Connell Street, Waterford X91F8PC Follow us on: � TWITTER �

Due to Covid-19 our offices are currently closed to the public (subject to further advice from the Government). All employees are fully contactable by email, check our website for contact details and continue to work as normal (9am-5.30pm Monday to Thursday / 9am-5pm Friday).



Waterford’s Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan provides a high level framework for the sustainable development of the overall Metropolitan Area. It became effective on 31 January 2020 as part of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region.

enhanced regional and international accessibility through the Port of Waterford and Airport, sustainable transport across the Metropolitan Area, enhanced access to the harbour, river and public open space, the development of high quality residential accommodation to meet citizens’ needs, all supported by the provision of high quality public services including health services commensurate with the planned expansion. With the establishment of the Technological University of the South-East (TUSE) Waterford will finally become a University City, building on the reputation established by WIT as an internationally recognised centre of excellence for education, research and innovation. This will enable Waterford to grow in many different ways and assist in Waterford achieving UNESCO Learning City Status.


he National Planning Framework (NPF/Project Ireland 2040) published in February 2018, determined that there should be a renewed focus on our regional cities – Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Galway – to support balanced regional development and address unsustainable levels of growth in the Greater Dublin Area. The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region reflects this focus and is built on the pillars of Cork, Limerick - Shannon and Waterford to realise their combined strengths and potential for the region. For Waterford this meant new targets for population and employment growth and the designation of a Metropolitan Area based around Waterford City and its suburbs and within both Waterford and Kilkenny administrative areas. Fast forward to 2020 and the new Waterford Metropolitan Area has a Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan (MASP) in place which provides a high-level framework for the sustainable development of the overall Metropolitan Area. The MASP became effective on 31 January 2020 as part of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region made by the elected members of the Southern Regional Assembly. The central focus of the Waterford MASP is population and employment growth and, in particular, how to grow Waterford from a 2016 population base of c54,000 by 60% to become a ‘Regional City of Scale’ with a minimum target of 81,000 people by 2040. The MASP identifies Key Enablers to support this transformation and has set a path for the city to become a more balanced and concentric city so that a greater proportion of the urban population will be living north of the River Suir. These key enablers include the provision of a university,

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT ZONE A primary driver for Waterford will be the development of the North Quays Innovation District. Designated by Government as a Strategic Development Zone, this area of former port and industrial land located directly across from the city has planning permission for a major transformative mixed-use development of the site. This development of this ambitious project backed by funding from the Government’s Urban Regional Development Fund (URDF) will fulfil multiple strategic objectives for Waterford. These include the extension of the city centre to north of the river, a new bridge to forge new north-south accessibility, the relocation of Waterford’s Plunkett Railway Station to the North Quays, the creation of a Multi-Modal Transport Hub for the city and the regeneration of a prominent brownfield site into an attractive waterfront location for enterprise, residential development and leisure activity. The RSES and Waterford MASP support the development of this key project. Above all, the MASP seeks to achieve a high quality of life across all communities and this objective will guide the development of the Waterford Metropolitan Area – a task that the Southern Regional Assembly fully embraces with its partner local authorities and other stakeholders.



KEY DEVELOPMENTS UNDERWAY FOR WATERFORD NORTH QUAYS PROJECT A sense of excitement and anticipation is building in Waterford and the South East region following the granting of planning permission by Waterford City and County Council for the North Quays Strategic Development Zone.


aterford North Quays, an eight hectare real estate mixed-use scheme, – a project of Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland Ltd – is ambitious in scale and innovative in design. Waterford North Quays was conferred SDZ (Strategic Development Zone) designation by the Government in 2016 to Waterford City and County Council as the Development Agency. The development area in the heart of the city comprises the North Quays, Frank Cassin Wharf and the former IAWS site. In February 2018, following a statutory consultation period, Waterford City and County Council members decided by resolution to make the Waterford North Quays Planning Scheme. This set out a holistic plan-led approach for the development of this city centre brownfield site. The SDZ Vision, which is consistent with planning policies for the North Quays, is: • To create a sustainable, compact extension to the City Centre that will serve a future population of 83,000 people; • A regeneration catalyst for the Waterford City Region and the establishment of a sustainable modern city quarter; • Creation of an integrated multi-modal transport hub designed to sustainably meet the access requirement of the city; • Building on the context and the riverside location of the site to create a high quality urban quarter as a natural extension to the city centre.

Planning permission has been granted to Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland for an eight hectare real estate mixed-use scheme along Waterford North Quays. REGENERATION AND DEVELOPMENT In 2018 Waterford City and County Council made an application to the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) for the Waterford North Quays and Environs – Urban Regeneration Project. The application was made up of a range of infrastructural projects to significantly enhance city centre access, to facilitate development and to enhance connectivity on the northside of Waterford. The application was made in partnership and/or with support from Kilkenny County Council, Irish Rail, the National Transport Authority (NTA), Waterford Port Company and private sector interests including Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland Ltd. 42

The developments include: • The provision of an integrated transport hub, • The provision of a sustainable transport corridor, including a new bridge at the Clock Tower, • Improvements to city centre access routes on the northside of Waterford, • Provision of a new link between Belmont and Abbey Roads and other serviced land initiatives in the Belview area. The funding provided to date through the URDF scheme and NTA’s Sustainable Transport Measures Grants (STMG) Progarmme has facilitated significant progress on the project. An enabling works contract is already on site, carrying out utility diversion works and this will be followed by a demolition contract.


The Sustainable Transport Bridge that will cater for pedestrians, cyclists and shuttle bus, will connect the city from the South Quays to the North Quays Strategic Development Zone (SDZ)

Detailed design for the Sustainable Transport Bridge, City Centre Access Infrastructure and Transport Hub are currently being finalised and progressing to the second stage of the tender procedure. The South East Greenway Connectivity works contract will be issued on the e-Tenders procurement website (https://www.etenders.gov.ie/) in September. MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT In July 2020 Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland Ltd was granted planning permission by Waterford City and County Council. The project description is a mixed-use development, to include the following: • 15,000 sq m of prime office space to accommodate 1,100 jobs. • Five residential buildings with 298 riverside apartments to accommodate 500 to 600 residents. • 200 room four-star hotel and conference centre. • Public open space and a riverside promenade for full access to the quayside. • 30,000 sq m mixed use commercial building destination, comprising tourism, retail, food and beverage marketplace, cinema and crèche offering destination and digital retail for the region.

MAJOR ECONOMIC IMPACT The total combined estimated private and public investment in North Quays is over €500m, with the North Quays development delivering nearly 2,300 fulltime jobs on the development itself by 2023, primarily in the office aspect, and secondarily in the services sectors with the creation of a further 4,500 indirect jobs in the community. The North Quays development will benefit from over €139m of public infrastructure funding and is unlocked by over €350m of private investment up to 2023. The economic impact of the build

phase is over €130m each year in the construction phase from 2020 to 2023, then €277m each subsequent year, once the development opens in 2023, adding 7% growth rate to Waterford’s economy and 1.5% to the wider south east’s economic growth rate. The North Quays SDZ will contribute to the provision of retail space for the anticipated growth in population over the next 20 years. The quality and scale of this development will allow Waterford to deliver a retail destination of choice for the south east and capture the retail leakage previously experienced.

The new integrated multi-modal transport hub, which will replace the existing Plunkett Train Station, has been designed to sustainably meet the access requirement of the city. 43

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The quality and scale of this development will allow Waterford to deliver a retail destination of choice for the south east and capture the retail leakage previously experienced. With a total GLA (Gross Leasable Area) of 46,900m2, the North Quays represents the largest retail development outside of Dublin. Waterford North Quays will enhance the city region as an attractive option for private enterprise investment. This will, in turn, leverage increased economic activity for local businesses and the South East economy. The provision of high quality office space and complimentary facilities will increase the attractiveness of the Waterford City Region for foreign investment.

replace the existing Plunkett Train Station and address the limitations of the current site. This development will incorporate a new bus set-down area, short-term parking facilities and link the city centre to the 100km South East Greenway. It will support a modal shift towards more sustainable transport options including walking, cycling and public transport and will act as a catalyst for the sustainable development of the city to the north of the river. The bridge with a 207m span will also incorporate an opening centre span

necessary to allow river traffic. These developments are critical infrastructural connections and will stimulate coherent sustainable living in the city, connecting existing and proposed commercial and residential development land in Ferrybank; the North Quays with the city centre. They will provide key linkages into the Viking Triangle, South East Greenway, thereby promoting the further development of the North Quays Strategic Development Zone lands.

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT HUBS Waterford North Quays is set to transform Waterford City; it is currently the largest urban regeneration project in the country and will become home to Ireland’s most modern sustainable transport hubs. The Sustainable Transport Bridge that will cater for pedestrians, cyclists and shuttle bus, will connect the city from the South Quays to the North Quays Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) and through to a These developments will connect existing and proposed commercial and residential development land new transport hub that will in Ferrybank; the North Quays with the city centre.


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WATERFORD: 4th Floor, The Atrium, Maritana Gate, Canada Street, Waterford, X91 A250 +353 (051) 346029 | info@carronandwalsh.com DUBLIN: Mounttown House, Mounttown Road Lower, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin A96 P8X6 +353 (01) 2300812 | info@carronandwalsh.com



CARRON + WALSH SET DESIGNS ON WATERFORD LANDMARK As planning permission has now been granted for the Waterford North Quay Development, Carron + Walsh is delighted to have led the project through the planning process and looks forward to continuing with project management and cost management consultancy services on this landmark development.

Founding partners of the business – Denis Carron and Marian Walsh.

Carron + Walsh is ideally placed to lead the design team through this landmark project for Waterford.


he appointment of Carron + Walsh has seen the consultancy practice complete the Concept and Planning Stages of the project to date. The practice will now move forward with the detailed design and construction stages to deliver a first class, sustainable development for Waterford and the South East Region. With Irish offices in Waterford and Dublin, Carron + Walsh is ideally placed to lead the design team through this exciting project. The professional consultancy practice operates within the built environment in Ireland, USA, Continental Europe, the UK and Middle East. Established in 2010 the business specialises in Development Management, Quantity Surveying, Project Management and Project Controls. Founding partners of the business – Denis Carron and Marian Walsh – have held management positions in professional Project Management and Quantity Surveying practices, Multi-Disciplinary design practices and PLC organisations both in Ireland and abroad. These traits have equipped the senior management of the business with strong skills in client relations, delivering sustained quality, managing projects in multiple locations and ongoing business development. The practice enjoys upwards of 70% repeat business each year. The business welcomed Paul Hegarty to its Senior Management team as Practice Director earlier in 2020.

Development/Project Management Preparation of Project Feasibility Reports


Preparation of Business Case

Capital Allowance Exercises

Assistance with Funding Process

Cost Control (Pre & Post Contract)

Delivery of Project Management Services - All Stages

Feasibility Studies & Cost Planning

Design Team Appointments

Insolvency Support

Statutory Planning Process

Insurance Support Services

Construction Appointments –

Procurement Advice and delivery

Forms of Contract

of tendering processes

Implementation of Quality Control Procedures

Client Portfolio: The client portfolio currently held by Carron + Walsh includes City and County Councils, Government Departments, , Office of Public Works, Private Wealth Funds, Commercial Developers, Property Management Groups, Legal Practitioners, Financial Institutions, Health Groups and a number of Biotechnology and Life Sciences clients.

Cost Management/Quantity Surveying

Part V Appraisals

Program/Cost Management

Risk Management

Change Control Management

Value Engineering

Commissioning, Handover & Validation Process

Whole Life Costing

For further information Waterford Office: Tel. +353 (051) 364029 Dublin Office: Tel +353 (01) 2300812 Email: info@carronandwalsh.com Website: www.carronandwalsh.com

Management Services: Carron + Walsh offer the following range of project management and cost control services to all sectors of the built environment:


#MoreToMurphy Civil Engineering and Building Design and Construction

Ground Engineering Wide Range of Piling Options

Steel Fabrication

Portal Frames, Bridges and Specialist Structures

Mechanical Pipework High and Low Pressure, Fabrication, Installation and Testing

Process Engineering Design and Build of Water and Wastewater Facilities

Process Plant Operation

Operation and Maintenance of Plants

Certification ISO 9001 - ISO 14001 - ISO 45001 EN 3834 - EN 1090 Exc 4 - NHSS20

Email: mail@murphygroup.ie Telephone: +353 (0)45 431384 Reg Office: Great Connell, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, W12 HD6



DODDER VALLEY GREENWAY HITS THE ROAD South Dublin County Council’s Dodder Greenway is being developed to be one of international renown and on a par with the best greenways in the world. Although developed as a combination of off-road and on-road it will utilise existing facilities within the Dodder Valley as much as possible to connect the linear parkland along the 14km route.


to deliver on great infrastructure” to make walking and cycling safer, more sustainable and more attractive for more people. “The Dodder Greenway will form an attractive, traffic-free environment, linking large populations to employment and educational opportunities and these are precisely the kind of projects that we need to focus on as part of the effort to tackle climate change,” she added. Cllr Ed O’Brien, Mayor of South Dublin County, said: “These Greenways will be vital to the county in the coming years as we aim to provide an alternative to car transport whilst at the same time providing scenic routes to cycle through for residents.” “The route will be a great addition to the growing number of cycling paths and freeways, which South Dublin County Council is currently undertaking.”

epresenting a major new transport and recreational facility for Dublin, catering for both commuter and social cyclists, the provision by South Dublin County Council of the new Dodder Greenway will include the local townlands of Kiltipper, Tallaght, Old Bawn, Firhouse, Templeogue, Terenure and Rathfarnham. The 14km route will pass along the Dodder Valley from Orwell/Terenure through the outer suburbs of Tallaght to rural and upland Dublin to the entrance to the Bohernabreena reservoirs at Glenasmole. South Dublin County Council is building three new pedestrian and cycle bridges, 750m of new path and 2.6km of upgraded paths, as part of the bridges phase of the project. It will cost approximately €5.6m, with funding provided by the National Transport Authority (€4.1m) and the European Regional Development Fund’s S&E Regional Programme (€1.5m). The council will tender and commence construction for the remaining phases of the project in South Dublin throughout 2020 and into 2021. Co-funding by the National Transport Authority has been described by the NTA’s Chief Executive Officer Anne Graham as “an example of how NTA can work closely with local authorities


• It will provide for improved connectivity to communities, facilities and local business along the Dodder Valley corridor with a dedicated signage strategy. • Where commuting currently exists and demand is anticipated to continue, the scheme either ensures it is facilitated in a pedestrian-priority environment with additional capacity for safe use at junctions or provide an alternative route for commuting cyclists where required. • The Greenway will generally consist of a shared 3-4m wide bound surface on the off road sections, tying into suitable bound surfacing for the on-road sections. It is proposed to utilise enhanced variations to reflect local context. • Works will include widening and upgrade to existing paths, construction of new paths and a number of new bridges, upgrade of existing bridges and underpasses, junction upgrades, etc. • The upgrade and creation of new entrances to the Greenway. • Improved landscape treatment to provide a coherent and legible Greenway along the route. • Ecological enhancements including species rich grassland management, the planting of native trees and the provision of bat boxes. • CCTV will be provided at a number of locations, including each of the bridges. • Drainage measures including swales, signage, markings and ancillary works.

South Dublin County Council’s Mayor Cllr Ed O’Brien (centre) pictured with (l-r): Siobhán Rudden (Southern Regional Assembly’s ERDF Programme), SDCC’s Director of Services Mick Mulhearn, Chief Executive Danny McLoughlin, and Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, at the sod turning ceremony for Dodder Greenway Bridges (part of the overall Dodder Greenway, linking the city centre to the Dublin Mountains via Ballsbridge, Miltown, Rathfarnham, Firhouse and Tallaght). 49


SOUTH DUBLIN ZONES IN ON STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AT ADAMSTOWN With work having recently started on the construction of three significant infrastructure projects at the Adamstown Strategic Development Zone in South Dublin, it is expected that the €20 million development of all three projects will be completed in 2022.


inister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, recent joined the Mayor of South Dublin County Cllr Ed O’Brien and South Dublin County Council Chief Executive Daniel McLoughlin, as work commenced on the construction of three separate projects – Airlie Park, Tandy’s Lane Park and the Celbridge Link Road – within the Adamstown Strategic Development Zone (SDZ). A combined €15 million was allocated for the three projects by the then Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government through the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Funds (LIHAF), with South Dublin County Council providing the extra €5 million in funding. The objective of the LIHAF – a major element of the Government’s drive to build more homes – is to provide public off-site infrastructure to relieve critical infrastructure blockages. This enables the accelerated delivery of housing on key development sites in Dublin and urban areas of high demand for housing nationally. South Dublin County Council’s successful LIHAF funding bid for financial support was linked to the delivery of 2,000 new homes within the Adamstown SDZ.

SDCC’s CEO Daniel Mc Loughlin, Mayor Cllr Ed O’Brien and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD pictured at Airlie Park. LARGE-SCALE HOME DELIVERY The delivery of these homes is currently underway with over 1,500 homes already completed or contracted and the remaining 500 homes under construction. Within the large-scale delivery of homes, there are 300 homes at or below a cost of €300,000 with a further 500 homes costs at or below €320,000. Minister O’Brien said, “LIHAF funded infrastructure projects nationally are now beginning to deliver on the objective of the fund and yield the large-scale housing supply. The projects in South County Dublin are at the forefront of this housing delivery. I commend South Dublin County Council for the work it has done using the LIHAF grant funding to drive the delivery of these much-needed homes and providing them to families at belowmarket price.” The Minister added that LIHAF will support the delivery of many thousands of homes nationally. “These social, affordable and private homes will help create new and sustainable communities across the country.” Cllr Ed O’Brien, Mayor of South Dublin County, said: “The council has used LIHAF funding very effectively to unlock lands for development of homes for the residents of South Dublin. The Minister’s visit also spoke well of his commitment to dealing effectively with the housing crisis and the need for affordable housing in areas like South Dublin County.” ADAMSTOWN SDZ PROJECTS Tandy’s Lane Project: The Tandy’s Lane Park project will deliver a large-scale public park within Adamstown for the use of residents and visitors. Tandy’s Lane Park has been designed to a high contemporary standard and quality that will enhance the identity of the Adamstown and has been designed for all, from young to old, with a range of recreational opportunities, stimuli and excitement that will invite users back again and again. The park will provide formal and informal recreation facilities, such as playing pitches, three interconnected playgrounds, and a fitness area alongside high quality with soft

Pictured at Tandy’s Lane development (front row l-r): SDCC’s CEO Daniel Mc Loughlin, Mayor Cllr Ed O’Brien, and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD; (back row l-r): SDCC’s Director of Environment, Water and Climate Change Teresa Walsh, Director of Land Use, Planning and Transportation Michael Mulhern and Senior Parks Superintendent Suzanne Furlong.



and hard landscaping. The soft landscapes including the provision of wildflower meadows will provide a leisurely setting whilst also providing a pollinator-friendly environment. Construction commenced in late January 2020 and it is anticipated works will be completed in March 2022. Airlie Park Project: The Airlie Park Project will deliver a large-scale high-quality public park of almost 11 hectares in size. Airlie Park is located centrally within Adamstown and has been designed to ensure the park is accessible to pedestrians and cyclists from all directions by way of suitable linkages into the adjoining residential community. The park will provide high-quality services such as a pavilion/café, cricket pitch, artificial football pitch, four interconnected play areas, tennis courts and associated walkways/ cycleways. The park will also incorporate soft and hard landscaping with pollinator-friendly planting included throughout. It is envisaged that works will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022. Celbridge Link Road Project: The Celbridge Link Road Project delivers significantly improved accessibility and connectivity – on the western side of Adamstown – to not only the existing and future residents of Adamstown but also the residents within the adjoining communities of Celbridge and Leixlip. Once delivered this north/ south connection will provide a direct link from the R403 to the Adamstown Rail Station, to provide for shorter commuter times and more sustainable and environmentally-friendly commuting patterns within the area.

This piece of infrastructure will also assist in unlocking the significant development potential of currently zoned yet undeveloped lands within the southern region of Adamstown. It is anticipated that works will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Web: www.monami.ie E: info@monami.ie

Web: www.monami.ie E: info@monami.ie

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€7.7M NETTED FOR TALLAGHT STADIUM UPGRADE South Dublin County Council has invested €7.7m to upgrade Tallaght Stadium that includes the building of a new North Stand and the development of the West Stand to a high-quality corporate area. The plans were agreed by elected members at the council’s meeting in June.


ollowing the addition of the South Stand last year, which brought seating capacity to 8,000, the new 2,000-seater North Stand will see the capacity of the South Dublin County Council-owned Tallaght Stadium increase to 10,000. The stand will face onto the N81 and will be further developed to include an active area that will be home to Shamrock Rovers’ official store and offices. The Council also plans to develop the existing West Stand to incorporate a medical area, mixed media zone, a match official’s area, in addition to new kitchen and dining facilities. The completion of this work will see Tallaght Stadium meet UEFA Category 4 requirements to host any European competition, including Champions League matches. Daniel McLoughlin, Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council, said: “The ongoing investment being made in

the development of Tallaght Stadium is evidence of our Council’s commitment to sport, community infrastructure, the civic pride and reputation of the Tallaght area.” EVENT VENUE IN THE FUTURE In conjunction with these plans, South Dublin County Council intends to promote Tallaght Stadium as a venue to include music festivals and all aspects of community events. With stadium seating and temporary on-field seating, the venue will accommodate up to 20,000 people. In advance of the building of the North Stand, South Dublin County Council contracted Core 53

to provide an analysis of advertising and branding opportunities for Tallaght Stadium. The analysis will inform future marketing plans for the stadium. Tallaght Stadium is a Municipal Stadium, wholly owned by South Dublin County Council. Classified as a UEFA Category 4 Stadium, it has hosted Champions League and Europa League fixtures. It is the home venue for Shamrock Rovers FC who has a licence arrangement with South Dublin County Council, to play a maximum of 40 soccer games during the League of Ireland season. In addition to Shamrock Rovers, Tallaght Stadium is the home venue for the Irish Women’s Senior and Men’s U21 international football teams and regularly hosts international fixtures, including the recent UEFA European U17 Championships. It has also seen American Football, international rugby and Leinster Schools’ rugby matches and it has hosted many prestigious events, such as the Special Olympics’ Opening Ceremony in 2018 and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid debut. In an average year, 100,000 people attend live events at Tallaght Stadium.

Prepared by The Housing Agency for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

CALL FOR HOUSING 2020 A National Call to Property Owners and Developers

Do you own a residential property that is vacant but in good condition? Are you interested in a stable return on your investment or do you own a property and are interested in selling? You may have a vacant property which may have been used as a short term let. Local authorities across Ireland are seeking suitable properties for social housing under the following initiatives: FOR SALE

Purchase; local authorities are seeking to purchase properties to meet a specific social housing need including: • one-bed properties, • larger family homes or • homes that are or can be adapted for disability or older persons accommodation such as a bungalow or an apartment. Long-term Leasing; is a fixed term lease directly with a local authority for an agreed discounted market rent with no vacancy periods. The local authority carries out the day-to-day maintenance and the property owner has no relationship with the occupant.

Want to know more? www.callforhousing.ie www.housingagency.ie www.housing.gov.ie 1800 200 934 (8am-6pm, Mon-Fri) callforhousing@housingagency.ie


MINISTER LAUNCHES ‘CALL FOR HOUSING 2020’ As Ireland continues to face the COVID-19 challenge, additional measures must be taken in order to provide safe and secure homes for all our communities. ‘Call for Housing 2020’ is one such measure that was recently launched by the new Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD.


authorities include one-bed properties, larger family homes, and those that are or can be adapted for disability or older persons’ accommodation, such as a bungalow or an apartment. Social Housing Leasing Scheme: A property owner can lease their property to a local authority for a fixed term, for an agreed amount which is based on a discounted market rent. Under this scheme, local authorities manage all aspects of the tenancy, including the day-to-day maintenance of the home. The property owner has no relationship with the subtenant.

new national call – ‘Call for Housing 2020’ – has been issued by Darragh O’Brien TD, the new Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, to property owners and developers with vacant properties to make them available for use as social housing. “Local authorities across the country are urgently seeking vacant residential properties to provide for those who do not have access to housing. We are looking for a range of properties including one bed properties, larger family homes and homes that are or can be adapted for those with a disability or accommodation suitable for older people such as a bungalow or an apartment,” Minister O’Brien explained. The Minister pointed out that property owners can also enter into a secure letting arrangement while retaining ownership of their asset through the Long-Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme. “This will provide them with a stable return on their investment during what is admittedly an uncertain time in terms of the property market. A range of other options are also available to property owners to assist in providing social housing supports. “I remain firmly of the view that new builds are the appropriate approach to a long-term housing strategy, however I am keenly aware of the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of new builds and my priority is providing sustainable and safe accommodation for those most in need of it,” he said.

ENHANCED LEASING SCHEME Local authorities will pay up to 80-85% of the open market rent over the term of the lease. A higher proportion of market rent may be available for landlords willing to carry out management and maintenance responsibilities through the Enhanced Leasing Scheme (for proposals of more than 20 units only. The properties can be on multiple sites within the same local authority area). ‘Call for Housing 2020’ is administered by The Housing Agency and local authorities and is an initiative of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

For further information on the available schemes and details on how property owners can contact their local authority visit www. callforhousing. ie, phone 1800 200 934 (8am-6pm Mon-Fri) or email callforhousing@ housingagency.ie.

TWO VACANT PROPERY SCHEMES If you have a vacant property, you may be able to provide a home for those most at risk as a result of COVID-19. To help you do this, there are two schemes that you may be able to avail of. These schemes offer you a stable income for your property and provide vulnerable households with a secure home when they need it most: Property Purchase: If a member of the public owns a vacant property, local authorities may be interested in buying it as part of the ‘Call for Housing’. Houses of particular interest to local 55


RESPONSE OF NON-PROFIT HOUSING SECTOR TO COVID-19 Members of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) have had to adapt rapidly to the changing demands arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Donal McManus, ICSH Chief Executive Officer, and he outlines the range of measures introduced by the housing associations to meet the challenges faced by the sector over the last few months.


lthough there are up to 40,000 households accommodated by housing associations or approved housing bodies (AHBs) throughout the sector in 2020, a significant number of these households have included vulnerable households comprising older people, homeless households, people with disabilities, and families with children. From mid-March, housing associations introduced measures to identify vulnerable households, engaged in direct contact with them and provided necessary supports where vulnerable tenants could not leave home. These measures ranged from direct phone contact and online support with tenants, outreach support such as travel to shopping and other household related supports. Many of these initiatives were often undertaken in partnership with other public and private organisations. STRONG SUPPORT AND ENGAGEMENT In some cases, housing associations, where they have a strong presence in local communities reached out to other vulnerable and isolated people in the wider local community. One common feature has been the strong regular engagement that the ICSH and AHBs had with the Department of Housing and Housing Ministers, local authorities, the Housing Agency, regulators, financial bodies, DRHE, HSE and an Garda Síochána with the common goal of limiting the transmission of Covid-19. Conversely, there had been some practical challenges in the sector such as securing the required level of PPE in

An afternoon of music at one of the ‘balcony sessions’ at McAuley Place in Naas, Co. Kildare. a consistent manner, especially for staff working in supported housing projects. A number of housing associations also worked with other stakeholders in identifying and managing suitable properties, including hotels and other vacant properties for homeless households who required isolation. This was also coupled with continuing priority allocation of housing association homes for homeless persons sought by the Government and, thereafter, general lettings whilst also prioritising essential repairs. Social housing has demonstrated its value and resilience for low-income and vulnerable tenants during the pandemic with its affordable income-related rents (where rents can be adjusted in relation to changes in household income) and secure tenancies. There may be challenges for some housing associations in the coming months, depending on different scenarios that emerge arising from tenants who were previously employed compared to tenants on fixed incomes. It is also important for housing associations to ensure good housing management in having a duty of care to


all tenants in a project and that any cases of serious of anti-social behaviour can be dealt with promptly. ESSENTIAL WORKERS AND SITES The ICSH had identified the profile and scale of essential workers operating across the sector, and the inclusion on this list

Fold Ireland’s reopened construction site in Dublin.


Social distancing and allocation of new homes by Tuath Housing in Co. Meath. assisted, to ensure a continuity of service delivery in supported housing projects and housing management with those onsite staff being able to return to work in a timely manner. Additional costs have accrued for many housing associations, particularly with deep cleaning in various projects with communal facilities, AHB’s sourcing their own PPE where it was in short supply, as well as additional staff and IT supports that were required in the new working environment. While the closing of social housing construction sites, on public health grounds, would have some impact on the delivery of new homes, the subsequent reopening of 67 social housing construction sites, as prioritised by Housing Agency in May and which included AHBs sites, was welcome. The reopening of these priority sites resulted in a bid to regain some ground for lost construction time. CAPACITY BUILDING Housing associations and the ICSH moved quickly to various online platforms to continue to undertake work and provide services. In response to requests by members for updated information and engagement during the pandemic, the ICSH delivered a range of webinars, seminars and meetings on a regular basis. These included Housing Management, Allocations and Insurance; Governance;

Lone Working; Challenging Behaviour; Return to Work Safely protocols; CALF; Homelessness; Supported and Sheltered Housing; Housing for People with Disabilities; Avoiding Burnout and Compassion Fatigue.

Managing supported housing in a safe, socially-distanced way at Westgate Foundation, Ballincollig, Co. Cork

ICSH engages with members through Zoom webinars during lockdown. 57

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CLANN’S AGE-FRIENDLY HOUSING AT YOUR SERVICE With over 700 properties in management, Clann has the largest age-friendly social housing development programme in Ireland. Clann aims to address the growing demand for innovative housing for older people by delivering over 800 new homes before the end of 2022.


y 2030, one in five people will be 65 years of age or older and the Central Statistics Office (CSO) predicts that by 2051 Ireland’s older population will increase by around one million, resulting in increased demand for age-appropriate housing. Speaking at the launch of Clann, a new dedicated age-friendly housing service for people over 55, Aoife Flynn Kennedy, Head of Clann, said that now was the time to ensure that Ireland had the right plan in place to meet the specific needs of older people. “Clann is committed to empowering our residents to live for as long as possible in sustainable, high-quality, affordable homes

in their own community. The key to achieving this is to provide a safe and secure environment with access to all relevant services and community supports. “The name Clann was chosen by our residents. It’s the Irish word for family, or a group of people with a common interest. We are committed to supporting our residents to age-in-place, as well as leading the sector by addressing the future growth in demand for age-appropriate housing,” she explained. “Clann’s ambition is to expand and improve housing options for the over 55s. That means supporting people to remain living independently for as long as possible and providing more age-

Broome Lodge in Cabra (one of over 20 schemes in operation by Clann across the country) was designed following the principles of Universal Design and has received plaudits for its design, comfort and place in the heart of the Dublin 7 community.



POSITIVE FEEDBACK FROM CLANN RESIDENTS “I love my home – it’s very comfortable and I have good neighbours and we have a nice community of people here who all look out for each other. I’m delighted to be able to call this place my home.” – Carmel Giles

Brendan Courtney, Clann residents Carmel Giles and John Keegan, pictured with Aoife Flynn Kennedy, Head of Clann, at the launch of the age-friendly housing service.

“My partner Phyllis and myself are delighted to be living here. We had lived nearby beforehand, so it was great that we could stay in our own community. We have everything on our doorstep, and nice neighbours as well. Thanks to Clann for this opportunity to have this lovely home – the two of us are delighted with it.” – John Keegan

know, they just don’t want to have the commitments and costs of a bigger property”. Clann schemes are located close to local amenities like shops, post offices and community services. Each scheme takes a rounded approach to resident’s wellbeing by including internal and external communal areas that encourage regular social interaction and combat loneliness. Amongst Clann’s 20+ schemes across the country is Broome Lodge in Cabra on Dublin’s northside. The scheme was designed following the principles of Universal Design and has received plaudits for its design, comfort and place in the heart of the Dublin 7 community.

friendly homes for people who are inappropriately housed.” POSITIVE AGEING STRATEGY In Ireland, the National Positive Ageing Strategy’s operating principles are underpinned by the UN’s five principles for older persons, covering independence, participation, care, selffulfilment and dignity. Clann is committed to delivering housing in line with this national strategy. Experts agree that Ireland needs an improved mix of housing options for people over the age of 55. Clann’s provision of agefriendly housing alongside community services will go some way to meet this growing demand. Flynn Kennedy continued: “We believe the time to start planning ahead is now and we are actively seeking partnerships to deliver more age-friendly housing, we have to begin planning now to meet future needs – otherwise we risk a serious housing crisis for this age group.” With over 700 properties in management, Clann is already the largest provider of age-friendly housing in Ireland. Despite this strong footing, Clann enters the market issuing a warning that Ireland is facing a potential crisis in older persons’ housing. Clann’s vision is a society where everyone has a great place to live. Developing age-friendly housing close to town centres creates homes that work for our older people in cities, towns and villages across Ireland, while also building stronger, more diverse communities.

MEETING THE DEMANDS Clann already has the largest age-friendly social housing development programme in Ireland and plans to increase that to meet the housing demands of Ireland’s ageing population. The organisation’s ambitious pipeline of over 800 new homes will be delivered before the end of 2022 through a mixture of acquisition and construction programmes across the country, from Galway to Dublin and Donegal to Cork. Looking to the future, Flynn Kennedy concluded: “This level of growth can only be achieved by developing new national partnerships and continuing to work with existing partners like the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, all local authorities, developers, the Housing Finance Agency and other age-friendly service providers. “We are actively seeking new partnerships and I would encourage people to reach out to us to discuss how we can work together to deliver much needed age-friendly housing across Ireland.”

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HOUSING FIRST MODEL MAKES ITS MARK IN MID-EAST County councils in Kildare, Meath and Wicklow have rolled out a Housing First model that will focus on ending homelessness for people with complex needs across the three counties. Peter McVerry Trust has been chosen to deliver the initiative in the mid-east region and the immediate focus will be on an active settlement approach, reports Deirdre O’Flynn.


ildare County Council is the lead authority for the MidEast Region Homelessness Forum, which has established this regional Housing First service in partnership with the Health Service Executive (HSE). The central objective of the Housing First initiative is the ending of rough sleeping and long-term emergency accommodation use, according to Peter Carey, Chief Executive of Kildare County Council. He noted that the service model includes intensive wrap-around supports for tenancy and health supports provided to Housing First clients in “a timely and appropriate manner and for as long as required”. This participant-centred approach provides secure tenancies in selfcontained independent housing units, with the combined and integral services of the HSE’s primary care, mental health and substance misuse teams, working in collaboration with Tusla, An Garda Síochána, and other voluntary agencies. HOUSING FIRST TENANCIES Following a tender process, the Peter McVerry Trust was chosen to deliver the Housing First model across the Mid-East Region and a Service Level Agreement was signed in March. Pat Doyle, Chief Executive of the Peter McVerry Trust, said that the service’s immediate focus is on an active settlement approach. With an emphasis on physical, psychological and emotional safety, it utilises trauma-informed care to assist the service user to regain a sense of control

(Seated l-r): Justin Parkes, HSE; Peter Carey, Chief Executive, Kildare County Council; Pat Doyle, Chief Executive, Peter McVerry Trust; and Ann O’Shea, HSE; (Standing l-r): Elaine Flannery, Peter McVerry Trust; Ollie Brady, Kildare County Council; Richard Price, Peter McVerry Trust; Barry Lynch, Meath County Council; Jackie Carroll and Joe Lane, Wicklow County Council; and Emma McMillen, Peter McVerry Trust.


Research from the USA where the Housing First model has been operating for the longest period, shows that it is particularly successful with long-term homeless individuals who have a history of mental health difficulties and drug/alcohol misuse, acdording to the Peter McVerry Trust. The key principles: The Peter McVerry Trust is responsible for 61 • Housing as a basic human right per cent of the services delivered under the • Warmth, respect, and compassion National Housing First Implementation Plan. • Commitment to the participant • Scattered site housing • Separation of housing and services issues/requirements • Self-determination and choice • Recovery orientation • Harm reduction Housing First participants will have ready, time-unlimited access to support and treatment services, for as long as the participant requires. Tenancy sustainment rates, the primary indicator for measuring the success of homeless housing policies, are much higher for Housing First initiatives than for treatment first initiatives. In Ireland, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive’s Housing First Regional Service, delivered in partnership by Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust, which ran from 20142019, created over 300 tenancies and had an 86.8 per cent tenancy sustainment rate.



and empowerment. The overall outcome is that the individual is moved successfully out of homelessness and into an appropriate tenancy arrangement. At the time of writing (early June), Kildare County Council had six Housing First tenancies in place in Newbridge, Meath County Council had four in Navan, while Wicklow County Council made two available in Bray, according to Kildare County Council’s Ollie Brady, Manager of the Housing First Service in the Mid-East Region. Overall, those living in official homeless emergency accommodation across the three counties (as of the end of March) were 186 adults and 139 dependents in Kildare, 108 adults and 39 dependents in Meath, and 23 adults and six dependents in Wicklow. The ultimate aim is to implement 31 Housing First tenancies in Kildare, 22 tenancies in Meath, and 11 tenancies in Wicklow. HOMELESS ACTION TEAMS Participants on the scheme are identified by the Homeless Action Teams in each local authority with a priority intake list for Housing First jointly managed by the local authorities, the HSE and the Peter McVerry Trust. The focus is on ending homelessness for people with high and complex needs. “We look for people who get left behind, who may be living long term in a hostel or sleeping rough or over six months in long-term accommodation,” said Brady. “However, the choice is theirs – they have to be willing to be open to it.” Once housed, the Peter McVerry Trust assumes the management of the person’s tenancy, “using a high-intensity visiting support team to provide wraparound supports to make every success of each new tenancy generated”, noted Pat Doyle, Chief Executive of Peter McVerry Trust. The Trust has allocated a regional manager, an intensive case manager, an addiction specialist, and a mental health nurse to the programme in the mid-east region.

participant. Brady agreed and said that councils need to be “able and open to moving an individual – this needs a different approach that allows for changes”. He added that it represented a brilliant chance for someone and “the feedback has been very positive so far”.

MAJOR FOCUS ON THE LONG-TERM HOMESLESS Rolled out in 2016, the Government’s ‘Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’ set out its aim to introduce ‘Housing First’ as a means to address homelessness, by strengthening the housing-led approach and extending it nationally, focusing on persistent rough sleepers and long-term homeless households. To this end, the Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018-2021 was published in September 2018; and the commitment to deliver Housing First is a key action of the Mid East Region Homelessness Action Plan 2018-2020. The service has been co-funded by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Health. The Mid-East Homeless Forum is advised by a multiagency group including non-governmental organisations in the sector and other relevant statutory agencies. The HSE is an integral partner in the delivery of the Housing First service in the mid-east region. “Adopted worldwide, Housing First is hugely successful at not only providing housing for complex cases, but also for ensuring they remain housed years later,” noted Pat Doyle, Chief Executive of the Peter McVerry Trust. As an early adopter and major supporter of Housing First, Peter McVerry Trust has been working on the model since 2011 in Dublin. As of 2020, the national housing and homeless charity is responsible for 61 per cent of the services delivered under the National Housing First Implementation Plan.

DAILY SUPPORTS The day-to-day supports offered include daily contact, accompanying the client on their first shopping trip locally and linking in with the HSE services provided in each local authority. These services will include mental health, addiction support and various others services (for example local clinics and GP surgeries), linking in with community support organisations such as the Men’s Shed and other services, and introducing the client to their neighbours. “The Peter McVerry Trust also has a 24/7 estate management number, which is provided to the client and their neighbour, so that if something happens during the night, they can call that number and a support person will come out,” stated Ollie Brady. According to the Peter McVerry Trust, even if a tenancy fails, Housing First continues to support the individual to another tenancy and the support service continues to engage with the

“Adopted worldwide, Housing First is hugely successful at not only providing housing for complex cases, but also for ensuring they remain housed years later” – Pat Doyle, Chief Executive of the Peter McVerry Trust.



KEY REGENERATION PROJECTS APPROVED FOR DUBLIN CITY Some key milestones have been reached by Dublin City Council on a number of projects that form part of the council’s ongoing housing programme, having recently received approval for the regeneration, construction and redevelopment on a range of social housing, commercial and community schemes around the city.

The Emmet Road regeneration project (formerly St Michael’s Estate) in Inchicore proposes the development of up to 500 new homes, 70 per cent will be for a cost rental scheme with the balance for social housing.


ublin City Council’s comprehensive regeneration of the Constitution Hill Housing Complex on the northside of the city has received Stage 1 Approval from the Department of Housing. With an estimated cost of €44.5 million, this regeneration project involves 66 extended and retrofitted apartments, 64 new apartments, one commercial unit and a crèche. The existing complex originally had 90 apartments. The council has also received Departmental Stage 1 Approval for the construction of a new housing scheme on lands at Kildonan in Finglas, which consists of a mix of 166 new social housing units for families and older people. It includes the provision for 15 units for the Tus Nua homeless project that is currently operating at this site. The estimated cost for this project is €28.5 million. Departmental Stage 2 Approval has

also been granted for the re-development of the St Finbar’s Court Complex in Cabra, which consists of 46 new housing units for older people. The now demolished complex originally had 29 bed-sit units. The estimated cost for this project is €14.3 million.

and international reputation, as the design team for the Emmet Road regeneration project, Bucholz McEvoy will have responsibility under the guidance of Dublin City Council to prepare detailed plans for submission to An Bord Pleanála and the procurement of a contractor, and to oversee the construction. Their work will begin immediately. A comprehensive consultation process in conjunction with the Local Consultative Forum will also be established. This project proposes the development of close to 500 new homes, 70% of which will be for a Cost Rental Scheme. The balance will be for social housing. It will also include commercial, retail, community facilities and open spaces. “While all of these represent key milestones in some key projects, they form only a relatively small part of Dublin City Council’s overall housing programme and pipeline over the next few months and years,” Kenny added.

KEY MILETSTONES REACHED “While there is still a good way to go on all these projects the approvals represent a key milestone and a strong momentum to bring them to fruition as soon as possible,” said Brendan Kenny, Deputy Chief Executive of Dublin City Council. Following an extensive Public Procurement process Dublin City Council has now also selected a full-integrated design team for the Emmet Road (formerly St Michael’s Estate) regeneration project in Inchicore. With a strong national Brendan Kenny, DCC’s Deputy Chief Executive.


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KILDARE ROLLS OUT SOCIAL HOUSING IN RATHANGAN Kildare County Council’s latest social housing scheme, under Rebuilding Ireland’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, has seen the delivery of 18 new properties to families and individuals in Rathangan who are on the council’s social housing list, with one unit allocated using the ChoiceBased Letting Scheme.


ildare’s Chief Executive Peter Carey said the provision of homes for individuals and families was a high priority and remained at the forefront of the anticipated recovery phase, on acknowledging the delivery of the homes by K&J Townmore Construction Limited, and the extended team working under challenging circumstances during the Covid-19 crisis. Cllr Suzanne Doyle, Cathaoirleach of Kildare County Council, welcomed the delivery of the “much-needed houses”, which she said would assist in meeting demand in the area. She wished the new residents good health and happiness and congratulated and thanked the existing residents for their forbearance and cooperation in delivery of this project. “Kildare County Council Council’s Housing Department continues to work on the planning and delivery of housing throughout the county. The council is positioned to meet the 2020 targets for the provision of social and affordable housing as set out by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government,” she added. James Godley, MD of Townmore, said the ongoing delivery of housing, particularly social housing, was critical at this time. “The Covid-19 situation does not diminish the well-established

need for housing across Ireland and Townmore has adopted new working methods designed to comply with Covid-19 public health restrictions. “We will continue to meet client requirements to the highest standards, while honouring programme dates. We’re grateful to the experienced “Townmore adopted new working methods project team designed to comply with Covid-19 public within Kildare health restrictions” – James Godley, County Council Managing Director of K&J Townmore and the design Construction Limited. team for enabling the successful delivery of this quality housing development under exceptional and challenging circumstances.” Townmore construction firm was established in 2008 and currently employs over 100 direct employees (set to increase in 2020). Group turnover for 2018 was €55m and, following a successful year-to-date, 2019 turnover is on target to exceed €68m in Ireland. With the head office in Co. Offaly, Townmore opened new offices in Mallow, County Cork and London in 2019 and is currently building a new office in Dublin.

Townmore’s Design and Build Projects for 2020 • 440 apartments in Donaghmede (€90m scheme). • Extension to Wynn’s Hotel on Lower Abbey Street, Dublin. • Rapid-build hotel project on MacCurtain Street, Cork. • Apartment scheme in North London (partnered with Thornsett Group). • Delivery of €10m worth of projects across Controlled Environments Division, servicing the MedTech and BioTech sectors.

The 18 new social housing units in Rathangan comprise of one, two, three and four-bedroomed A-rated properties. 69



A balanced debate is needed to examine the important role that shared living can play in our housing mix, according to Mike Flannery, CEO of Bartra Capital Property, and points to a troubling myth surrounding the concept of shared living that implies the health of residents is at greater risk in a Covid-19 environment than those living in apartment or house shares.


reland’s housing needs are fast evolving. Family formation is happening later in life, people are staying single for longer, attitudes to home ownership are changing and employment patterns are shifting. People are also embracing the shared economy and looking at more environmentally sustainable ways of living, with community and wellness to the fore. All the above are posing major challenges to our housing tenure mix. A proper functioning housing market is one that provides for a multiplicity of living patterns and can respond to new demand as it emerges. Otherwise, all occupants rely on one type of accommodation, and this leads to issues such as single people occupying accommodation that might be more suitable for families, and vice-versa. However, that is the Mike Flannery, CEO of Bartra Capital Property. exact danger we now face in demographic there are many different Ireland. It has been proposed to groups, one of which are internationally ban the only form of accommodation designed specifically for single people: co- mobile highly skilled people who typically work for IDA client FDI organisations, living/shared living. needing high quality accommodation for periods of less than one year, who do not ANOTHER TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION want to live in apartment or house shares, While shared living is simply another type who do not wish to share their bathrooms of shared accommodation, like house and or workstations, value community and apartment shares or student residences, wellness, and therefore, want to avoid the part of the political system here has isolation of a one bed apartment. rushed to condemn it and various myths Indeed, as the latter is typically have been built around this. We need a occupied by couples they are often more rounded and balanced debate and priced out of this offer. If shared living a willingness to examine the small, but accommodation is not to be offered important role shared living can play in as a choice for this group, like it is in our housing mix. the often-referenced Vienna, as well as Single people comprise 40% of Copenhagen, Munich, Paris, New York, the urban population. Within that


and London, then just exactly where do policy makers propose these people live in Ireland? GREEN CREDITENTIALS OF SHARED LIVING Shared living offers high specification fully self-contained design-led private suites with private bathrooms, private in-room cooking facilities, high speed Wi-Fi and a fully functional workstation to enable working from home. These suites are 160% the size of a typical house or apartment double bedroom. The green credentials of shared living are class leading for the private residential sector with buildings that have been designed to Near Zero Energy standards,


It has been proposed to ban co-living/shared living – the only form of accommodation designed specifically for single people, according to Bartra’s Mike Flannery. are LEED Gold certified and have achieved CyclingScore Platinum ratings. A recent proposal by Bartra at No. 98 Merrion Road, Dublin 4 will see 105 residents accommodated with 136 bicycle spaces and the provision of ‘Bleeper Bike’ and ‘Go Car’ sharing services. An alternative traditional apartment development on the site could accommodate 92 residents with 27 car spaces and just 20 bicycle spaces. By converting what would typically be dead, environmentally damaging car parking area into residential amenities 13 more residents can be accommodated in self-contained private suites, a win for choice, a win for high quality private accommodation, and a win for the environment as these residents will use public transport and cycling as their primary modes of transport. Facebook’s new €200m Ballsbridge campus is a short stroll away. Yet, surprisingly, environmentalists here have consistently criticised the concept of shared living. COMMUNITY AND WELLNESS The most troubling myth perpetrated about shared living is the implication that the health of shared living residents is at greater risk in a Covid-19 environment

that those who reside in apartment or house shares. This is factually incorrect from a public health perspective, a view verified and validated by the leading public health experts, Corporate Health Ireland (CHI).

Within their comprehensive report on shared living CHI states: “the risks of transmission would be less [in shared living accommodation] than for people living in a normal house or shared apartment. The self-contained nature of the private suites dramatically reduces the risk of transmission of the virus.” The monthly all-inclusive cost per resident in shared living accommodation will be 45% less than that of a onebedroom apartment in the locality. And in keeping with the demands of single people it will offer flexibility in length of stay for periods between three and 12 months. Shared living also provides a way of living with strong social interaction, with an emphasis on community and wellness. The buildings allow people to share space and to generate a sense of community that combats feelings of isolation. Loneliness is the other great pandemic of our time and moving to a new city for the first time can be made easier if a person shares a building with people at the same stage of life. This is especially the case for health and technology workers who tend to work in irregular patterns, and the internationally mobile highly skilled people who typically work for IDA client FDI organisations.

“The most troubling myth perpetrated about shared living is the implication that the health of shared living residents is at greater risk in a Covid-19 environment that those who reside in apartment or house shares” – Mike Flannery, Bartra CEO 71


LATEST DEVELOPMENTS SET TO BLOOM IN THE GARDEN COUNTY Wicklow’s County Development Plan for 2021-2027 will set out future projects across areas such as economic development, settlement strategy, tourism and retail strategy, climate change, green infrastructure, sustainable transport and town planning. Latest updates were announced at a recent Wicklow County Council Business Briefing for 2020. As part of its ongoing commitment to economic development, Wicklow County Council hosted the 2020 Breakfast Briefing, which was attended by leading local and national businesspeople. ‘Endless Opportunities for Living, Leisure and Business in County Wicklow’ was the theme of this year’s briefing, which featured guest speaker Mike Seaton, Director of Development for SSE Renewables. Wicklow County Council’s Chief Executive said that one of the developments and projects completed by the council over the past year was the creation of a state-of-the-art Customer Care Innovation Hub at County HQ. According to Frank Curran, “this would lead the process of major organisational change and improvement in how the council delivers its services to the people of Wicklow.” Supported by a Customer Relations Management (CRM) system and a customer care team, he said the Hub would help to ensure clear, consistent and appropriate communications

Powerscourt Gardens with the Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background in County Wicklow.


state-of-the-art Customer Care Innovation Hub is to be developed at County Buildings in Wicklow Town to improve communications with Wicklow County Council’s service users and to provide greater facilities for visitors to Ireland’s Garden County. Details of the new hub were outlined by the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Frank Curran, during his address to the Council’s 2020 Business Breakfast Briefing in Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow

Wicklow County Council’s Chief Executive Frank Curran, Cathaoirleach Cllr Irene Winters and Mike Seaton, SSE Renewables Director of Development, at the Business Briefing in Druids Glen Hotel. 72


and service delivery between Wicklow County Council, the citizens of Wicklow and other stakeholders.

OFFSHORT WIND RESOURCES Guest speaker Mike Seaton from SSE Renewables said that Ireland’s offshore wind resource was vast and significantly under-developed, pointing out that this country has just one offshore wind farm, located 13km from Arklow. “SSE has long held plans to develop the second phase of the Arklow Wind Park and is close to delivering on those,” noted the Director of Development for SSE Renewables. “This project holds significant socio-economic benefits for the county of Wicklow and the east coast. Depending on the final design of the wind farm, we expect to invest between €1 billion and €2 billion developing the next stage of the Arklow Bank,” he noted.

COUNTY DEVELOPMENT PLAN Meanwhile, Wicklow’s new County Development Plan 20212027, currently at the initial draft stages, will set out future development across areas such as economic development, settlement strategy, tourism and retail strategy, climate change, green infrastructure, sustainable transport and town planning. Frank Curran noted that Wicklow had the potential to play an important role in the renewable energy market, particularly in the area of offshore wind energy. Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Irene Winters, said the Council used the occasion to update the business community on the various activities carried out by the Council, with particular emphasis on enterprise and economic development. The input of the business community was invaluable she

SUPPORT FROM LOCAL FIRMS While they had yet to announce the location of the O&M base for the Arklow Wind Park, he said this had taken longer than first envisaged due to land, property and legal agreements. Seaton also commented that offshore wind energy could be an enabler to unlock new infrastructure investment in Ireland’s ports and maritime businesses and create local sustainable jobs. “We have seen this at firsthand in Wicklow. Already we rely on the existing local supply chain in the county.” A number of local companies with considerable offshore wind expertise have already been retained to support the operation, he said, including two Wicklow firms, Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions and AlphaMarine Services. In conclusion, Seaton noted that SEEE Renewables intends to rely further on the support of local firms, “and they will be critical in the years ahead as we progress the project”.

Patrick Keogh, Tom Murphy and Barry Doyle pictured at Wicklow County Council’s Business Breakfast Briefing in Druids Glen Hotel.

told delegates, adding: “Over the years many of you have participated on committees of Wicklow County Council including the County Wicklow Economic Think Tank, Local Community Development Committee or Strategic Policy Committees, or indeed the Business Advisory Council. “These groups are essential to Wicklow County Council and help to identify actions and priorities aimed at driving economic activity and increasing employment in Wicklow.” As regards the County Development Plan 2021-2027, Cllr Winters said that the Forward Planning Team was currently assessing the submissions received in response to the Issues Paper, to assist the chief executive in the preparation of his report to the elected members. This is due in the coming months while the Draft County Development Plan will be published later this year when a further round of public consultation will be announced.

Joe O’Connell, Lorraine Gallagher and John Horan at Wicklow County Council’s Business Breakfast Briefing in Druids Glen Hotel. 73

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OFFSHORE WIND PARK SET TO DOCK IN ARKLOW HARBOUR Arklow Harbour has been chosen by SSE Renewables as its preferred base for an offshore wind park, which will help County Wicklow to achieve its goal of becoming a Centre of Excellence for the Offshore Renewable Energy sector. The decision was recently announced by the renewable energy firm at a virtual meeting with members of Wicklow County Council.


SE Renewables has entered into land option agreements at Arklow Harbour’s South Dock to progress the development of its planned 520MW Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 offshore wind farm. These include an option to purchase an industrial yard which forms part of the site known locally as ‘The Old Shipyard’ on the South Dock for the development of offices and warehousing. The company is also planning to acquire an area of quayside at the South Dock for vessel berthing and pontoons. The new base at Arklow Harbour’s South Dock, which will operate as a hub for SSE Renewables’, will be home to 80 full-time skilled employees who will be recruited to work on operations and maintenance.

SSE Renewables’ Scottish wind farm (Beatrice off Wick) is of a similar size to the proposed Arklow Bank development.

A SPIN-OFF INVESTMENT Former Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Irene Winters, said the project will place Ireland well on its way towards achieving its objective of generating 70% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. “It provides great opportunities to build on Wicklow’s maritime traditions by providing skilled employment opportunities, training and development, and spin-off investment for both Wicklow and Arklow. This places us well on our way towards achieving our goal of developing County Wicklow as a Centre of Excellence for the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector,” she noted. Cllr Pat Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District, said that a project of this scale will contribute to a significant commercial uplift for the community as well as the creation of 80 jobs. “The Arklow Bank Wind Park will open up enormous socioeconomic potential for Wicklow as well as positioning the county as a leader in the wind energy sector. I look forward to seeing the project develop in the coming years and becoming operational in 2025.”

act as a catalyst for the regeneration and renewal of Arklow Harbour and the entire town. “This will dovetail with the development of the wastewater treatment plant, the flood defence scheme and other exciting developments announced by locally-based companies, and it will be transformative for the entire area,” he added. Barry Kilcline, Director of Development at SSE Renewables, said that as the new home for their O&M base for Arklow Bank Wind Park, Arklow Harbour will play a vital role in the day-today running of the planned offshore wind farm. CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE “Around 80 full-time employees will be recruited in the coming years to operate and maintain the wind farm, ensuring we safely and reliably generate renewable energy to power half a million homes daily and meet Ireland’s carbon reduction targets,” he pointed out. He said that Wicklow County Council has been very progressive in its support of Ireland’s emerging offshore wind energy sector, adding that as a result, County Wicklow is in pole position to become Ireland’s Offshore Energy Centre of Excellence. “We greatly appreciate the support and advice of Wicklow County Council in progressing our plans for our entire project, and we look forward to working with the members and officials of the local authority to bring Arklow Bank Wind Park to fruition for the benefit of the entire county.”

CATALYST FOR REGENERATION Describing the company’s announcement as “very positive news for County Wicklow”, Frank Curran, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, said that the Blue Economy is an important pillar in the county’s economic development strategy. “The development of the Arklow Bank Wind Park and the decision to site the operations and maintenance base here will


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BLUEPRINT FOR AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC Local authorities can make use of a ready-made blueprint for an equal and effective community response to the Covid-19 crisis under the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, which forms a key part of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, says Sinéad Gibney, newly appointed Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.


t is clear that public servants have stepped up to the mark in an unprecedented way to protect the country’s well-being in this time of national crisis. It is during such times that we realise the worth of our public services and the role of the State in safeguarding our rights, especially when we consider parts of the world that are not so fortunate. The Ireland of today is a different place to the one that came into existence almost 100 years ago. Our institutions have evolved as the State has taken its place among the community of nations and brought many of its laws and practices in line with the highest international standards. And while much remains to be done at every level, a new duty introduced in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 gives direction on how to proactively anticipate and serve the diverse needs of all public service users and staff. PUBLIC SECTOR PRIORITIES A key part of this new law is the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty (‘the Duty’), under which all public bodies are bound to respect, protect and fulfil their equality and human rights commitments, both as employers and as service providers. Naturally, these obligations continue to apply and indeed hold an increased priority in emergency times. We hope that local authorities will implement this Duty as an essential and innovative framework to support their efforts to develop inclusive and sustainable

Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission responses to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the communities they serve and their own staff members. As has been widely documented, including by the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response, this crisis has worsened inequalities in society.


There has been a disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups, including older people, people with disabilities, minority ethnic groups and women. These are deep-seated challenges that require a whole of government approach, and local authorities play a vital role in





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addressing and mitigating them, particularly as we now face into the prospect of living with the disease for a prolonged period. GUIDANCE NOTE ON ‘THE DUTY’ To assist local authorities and other public bodies in bringing about positive change for both workplace and communities, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has published a new guidance note on using the Duty for the benefit of staff and service users in these pandemic times. The note complements the existing and ongoing statutory obligation on public bodies, including local authorities, to conduct a human rights and equality assessment across all functions, to set it out in the strategic plan alongside actions to address those issues, and report on them yearly in the annual report. Local authorities can use the Duty to avoid discrimination and consider the specific needs of people protected under equality legislation when implementing special measures to address Covid-19. The tumultuous past few months have challenged us to rethink how we deliver public services while protecting the health and dignity of individuals and communities. Local authorities can be proud of this coming together and should use it to build a fully inclusive Ireland that will inspire others around the world to follow suit. Responses shaped by equality and human rights considerations result in better outcomes for your staff and service users and are fundamentally more efficient, sustainable and effective. For more information visit https://www.ihrec.ie/our-work/public-sector-duty/

Tips on protecting human rights and equality in response to Covid-19 • Use the Duty to apply an equality and human rights lens in the design, planning, implementation and review of initiatives and responses, considering specific targeted measures to ensure that all persons’ needs are covered and no-one is left out. • Ensure that special measures or changes in service delivery do not discriminate across the protected grounds of gender, civil status, family status, age, sexual orientation, disability, race, religion, membership of the Traveller community; and people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. • Put in place mechanisms to monitor the impact of decisions, policies and plans on different groups. Regularly review progress and trends for particular groups experiencing discrimination. • Identify specific steps to make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Queries on disability rights remain the prevailing reason people contact the Commission. • Equality proof regulations and policies for their impact across the Equal Status Acts and the Employment Equality Acts, and on the broader range of human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. • Consult with staff and service users, civil society organisations, representatives of the equality grounds, when a decision, plan or programme is at draft stage. • Proactively communicate information to all sections of the community, using traditional and new forms of message delivery. Use inclusive language(s) that respects diversity and avoids stigma. • Collect disaggregated human rights and equality data on the impact of Covid-19, such as gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

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TIME TO ‘THINK SMART’ ABOUT THE FUTURE! Kilkenny LEADER Partnership has funding available for planning, training, capital and marketing to make rural communities smarter and more sustainable for generations to come. Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan told a ‘Smart Villages’ workshop that KLP’s initiative could be duplicated elsewhere to help communities in rural Ireland face the challenges.

Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) held the first of six ‘Smart Villages’ workshops at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre recently.


Guest of honour, former LEADER board member and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, said Ireland faces a unique set of challenges because of its rural makeup and its dispersed population and he commended KLP on the initiative, which he said could well be duplicated elsewhere.

owns and villages across Kilkenny are very different places to live and work post-Covid and we now need more places to meet and there is already increased demand for more shared working spaces. The pandemic has highlighted the need for better broadband as well as integrated rural transport and alternative uses for the many pubs that will never reopen, according to community leaders. Their comments came as Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) held the first of six ‘Smart Villages’ workshops at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre, at the start of the community-focused initiative designed to help small businesses, community activists and groups to ‘Think Smart’ about the future options for rural communities. Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) wants to help towns and villages think in new and dynamic ways about their future, to work together, be innovative and think laterally and look at how they protect and use their waterways; how culture, heritage and arts can help. And to also look at how transport energy and broadband can be developed and how to make the county’s towns and villages sustainable.

CONNECTING REGIONAL WITH RURAL “There is some very exciting work going on here in Kilkenny and it could be replicated elsewhere and we could make a very concerted effort to connect our regional towns with our rural hinterland and try to get people out to tourism projects, school, appointments, education, training and more and I’m very excited about the work that is going on here.” Minister Noonan said we need to replace lots of values which have brought us to where we are in this post COVID world. “We need to take the good from COVID. Huge innovation is going on and there’s been a huge amount of learning. I’m really impressed by the response and what we have been able to do so much in a short space of time. “We were all plodding along and suddenly we’re reconfiguring our town centres. We’re looking at how people



move about. We’re taking cars out of our town centres. We’re looking more at Greenways and Blueways and bringing people around and looking at public transport. We hope we will embrace this and not lose the learning that has taken place in such a short space of time.” Project leader, Rosie Lynch of the Workhouse Union, said the event starts a process that will continue over the next year and a half and will examine the concept of a smart villages and focus on the assets, resources and incredibly smart initiatives in communities and business and help these meet the expectations of policy and funding over the coming years. She introduced the communityfocused panel which included transport expert, Brendan Finn; Padraic O’Flaherty of Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre; Brian Doyle from Piltown Broadband; AnnMaire McSorley of Nore Vision, Frank Walsh from the Linguan Valley and KLP Chairman, Denis Drennan. KLP CEO, Declan Rice, commended the expert panel and MC, Helen Carroll, for their input and thanked Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre and their main sponsor and supporter, Ballykeeffe Distillery, for their contributions towards the inaugural Smart Villages event. SMART THINKING ON COMMUNITY CONNECTIVITIY He said the workshop is the first of a series of five further such events to take place

Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, pictured with Martin Rafter, Assistant CEO & Social Inclusion Programmes Manager at Kilkenny LEADER Partnership in different venues around the county between now and the end of next year. LEADER will be seeking more detail on what the communities can practically do to secure the future of their villages. Digital, mobility and cultural connections will be focused on in more detail for each community, he explained. “Smart Thinking is about connectivity in its higher sense. Connectivity in broadband. Connectivity in mobility, connectivity in sharing ideas and in partnerships. This is going to be something which matters an awful lot in the near future because Smart Villages probably

Helen Carroll (MC for the event) interviews Padraic Flaherty, one of the many volunteers who now helps run the amphitheatre in Ballykeeffe.


won’t be a separate funding scheme. “It will be something more important than that. It will be something that influences the shape of how all funding is given. Smart Villages, Smart Towns and Smart Parishes is the future way and that is why we are starting on this voyage of discovery. All the information we gather will be fed back at EU level,” Mr Rice said. KLP Chairman, Denis Drennan, said other countries tend to use their rivers more and said while the River Nore is one of the fastest-flowing rivers in Europe, we have very few canoe clubs and we don’t maximise its potential. “If the Nore was in any other country, it would be dotted with canoe clubs every few kilometres. Ballykeeffe realised there was an asset in their community and they had the vision to develop it. “Smart Villages is about recognising what is in front of us. We want to help communities realise what they have within and what they can turn into an attraction or a tourist attraction or both.” Interested participants are being urged to keep a close eye on Kilkenny LEADER Partnership’s social media accounts for details of the next Smart Villages event which is likely to take place in autumn. Follow on Twitter www.twitter.com/KilkennyP and also their Facebook Page www.facebook.com/kilkennyleader/

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DUNDALK’S TREASURE CHEST OF CULTURAL ARTEFACTS The purpose of the County Museum, Dundalk is to inspire a familiarity with the past through the collection, conservation and communication of the cultural heritage of County Louth and its wider community.


idely acknowledged as one of Ireland’s leading museums the County Museum, Dundalk has built its innovative reputation on the quality of its collection and the development of in-house exhibitions on a range of subjects ranging from historical events to inspirational figures. Fundamental to this has been a recurring dedication to ensure that the Museum (and it collection) remain relevant to its core principles and, by extension, its core audience. Given the exigencies and pressures of the new ‘normal’ in this Covid Age the Museum’s Mission Statement emphasises the importance of collecting those items and artefacts that capture, illustrate and articulate the nature of life as we are experiencing it at present. In effect this is the perfect example of the museum mission – collecting the present to inform future generations about their past. SAVOURING LOCAL HISTORY Indeed one of the lessons to be learned from the period of lockdown has been

the enjoyment that members of the public have derived from the opportunity to savour the history of their own surroundings. During the course of the lockdown the Museum developed a series of short video presentations on its Facebook Page using items from the collection. In addition the museum developed a number of articles highlighting the wide and diverse nature not only of the collection but of the historic events that have influenced the direction in which the county has developed. These innovations were further bolstered by initiatives such as weekly quizzes, children’s activities sheets as well as online jigsaws inspired by a selection of artefacts currently on display. As one woman remarked “If it wasn’t for this (the museum collection) and the music we’d have nothing”. In essence this is the success of the County Museum, Dundalk. However, it is more than a museum as it marks the most important moments of the county’s history in a manner that is immediate, accessible


and relevant. For more information contact the County Museum on 042-9392999 or visit https://bit.ly/3cP23SF.

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DLR TO SUPPORT UCD ‘WECOUNT’ TRAFFIC IMPACT PROJECT Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is supporting a new pilot project by UCD to empower citizens in taking a leading role in collecting data, evidence and knowledge of local mobility patterns, whereby they can monitor local traffic data and also air pollution by hosting a sensor on their own property.


“As the council continues to develop and implement active travel schemes, in particular cycling and walking projects, the data obtained from the project will enhance our local understanding of traffic and travel patterns and related impacts on air quality, climate action, and quality of life across our county,” Burns added.

o enhance local knowledge of traffic and travel patterns across the county, residents of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are invited to engage in the ‘WeCount’ project, by hosting a sensor at the front of their property. Placed at a window with a clear view of the street outside, the sensor will count cars, bikes, pedestrians, and heavy vehicles; thereby helping to build a traffic profile of the local area. The sensor will also monitor local air pollution, to establish a direct link between traffic and local pollution and build a stronger argument towards sustainability. It is intended to host online and/or face-to-face community workshops in September 2020, with the aim to deploy the sensors to residents from October 2020. Robert Burns, Dún LaoghaireRathdown County Council’s Director of Infrastructure & Climate Change, said he welcomes the opportunity to raise awareness of the work that UCD are doing on this dynamic project in Dublin, as part a larger programme across other European cities, that aims to foster a ‘bottom up’ approach to gathering and analysing local traffic data.

EMPOWERING CITIZENS UCD’s Associate Professor in Smart Cities & Urban Environment, Francesco Pilla, said: “WeCount aims to empower citizens to take a leading role in the production of data, evidence, and knowledge around mobility in their own neighbourhoods, and at street level. “The concept is simple: a sensor in combination with a lowcost computer and software, anyone can count the traffic in his or her street. We will be working in close collaboration with all the local communities interested in being involved to provide them with the tools for hearing their voices.” Cities currently account for only one per cent of the earth’s surface. However, they also account for half of the world’s population, 67% of the global primary energy demand, and 71% of the global energy-related CO2 emissions. Obtaining reliable and updated traffic data is fundamental to understanding the complex links between our urban infrastructure, transport systems, and the liveability of urban areas, Prof Pilla noted. “Traffic counts help authorities and scientists make sense of urban mobility and are instrumental to assess its impacts and consequently improve planning. In addition to Dublin, the WeCount project will carry out pilot schemes across a number of European cities – Cardiff, Leuven, Madrid, Barcelona and Ljubljana.” The aim is to quantify local road transport, produce scientific knowledge in the field of mobility and environmental pollution, and devise informed solutions to tackle various road transport challenges. The findings will create new, low-threshold opportunities for transport policy-making and research.

To participate in the project, by hosting a sensor at your home, contact Francesco Pilla, UCD’s Associate Professor in Smart Cities & Urban Environment francesco.pilla@ucd.ie For more information on the WeCount project visit https://www. we-count.net/

UCD’s Associate Professor in Smart Cities & Urban Environment, Francesco Pilla, said the ‘WeCount’ project will also carry out pilot schemes in Cardiff, Leuven, Madrid, Barcelona and Ljubljana. 87

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REGENERATION ON TRACK AT COLBERT STATION QUARTER Limerick City and County Council and the Land Development Agency have come together to drive regeneration and affordable housing development as part of a mixed-use city quarter initiative in the area surrounding Colbert Station.


imerick has moved one step closer to unlocking the transformational potential of a new vibrant and highly connected mixed-use city quarter in and around Colbert Station, with the transport hub to be at the centre of unlocking sustainable polycentric development Limerick City and County Council aims to unlock the potential of underutilised lands to enable the development of Colbert Station Quarter to become a highly sustainable and attractive destination for both business and the local community. The plan is to offer quality office and commercial space, in addition to an enhanced city living experience for potentially six to ten thousand people in a prime city centre location. Commissioned by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) to undertake a Design Review for the Colbert Station area of Limerick, the Land Development Agency (LDA) is working with the Council to identify high level design ideas and concepts that could be considered for the future development of a new urban quarter. John Moran, LDA Chairman and Limerick city resident, said: “These strategically important lands offer potential for the same transformative change as when the city expanded into

Newtown Pery.” “This new development can serve existing and new communities, creating significant new housing delivery, acting as a magnet for new public and private investment.” POLYCENTRIC DEVELOPMENT With a mandate to co-ordinate state lands, to optimise their potential and increase the supply of housing where most needed, Moran said that the LDA’s partnership with the local authority and various state agencies to redesign the future is “a model for what we are seeking to achieve across the country”. He added that the Design Review process has confirmed the Agency’s belief that Colbert Station and the surrounding lands “fit neatly into our vision for a polycentric development of Limerick” to accommodate very significant population growth. “This is the way to minimise the risk of the city centre or other overdeveloped areas becoming unaffordable to all who want to live or work there and to keep commuting times down and develop walkable 15-minute neighbourhoods all across the city’s footprint. “The designs of the architects, to


whom we are very grateful for their work, show the pathway to transform underutilised brownfield areas into such vibrant, affordable compact, mixed–use urban quarters.” FEEDBACK ON THE FRAMEWORK The Design Review provides a framework to build consensus about a single vision for the lands, and ideas were recently presented to metropolitan members of Limerick City and County Council. The transformational visions and concepts from five leading architects and urban designers have also been the subject of a public consultation process in recent weeks. Feedback from stakeholders will inform the next stage of the project – the creation of a Spatial Framework for Limerick’s Colbert Station Quarter. At this point there will be detailed engagement regarding the objectives and key opportunity sites, and this will give shape to the vision and types of development which could take place in the quarter.


It is intended that this Spatial Framework will help to inform key objectives for the future development of the area, including feeding into the Limerick City and County Development Plan for 2022-28, which is currently being developed. This plan will provide the statutory basis for the future planning and development of Limerick City and County. The development of a final project and associated planning applications will follow to rejuvenate key parts of this new ‘Gateway for Limerick’ into a highly connected and vibrant mixed-use new city quarter. Plans for nearterm development opportunities will be progressed in parallel during 2021. STATE AGENCY COLLABORATION The Colbert Station Quarter includes significant areas of state lands owned by the Council, CIE, the HSE, as well as other publicly-owned lands. These state organisations have come together to support and explore the future potential for this pivotal area, and to consider how underutilised parts of the lands could be rejuvenated to support and promote Limerick’s ongoing growth and prosperity into the future. “Working with the Land Development Agency and other stakeholders, this collaborative design review project offers an exciting opportunity to collectively reimagine and reinvent the Colbert Station Quarter. This has the potential to unlock a key city centre site that could result in the development of landmark projects to complement established city activity, according to Pat Daly, Chief Executive Limerick City and County Council. “This will be a transformational and integrated project, drawing together a wide mix of land uses and activities that will promote innovation, collaboration and sustainable design,” he added. The potential development area covers over 50 hectares, incorporating a key public transport hub as well as a range of educational, health, community, and

recreational uses. It has the potential to become a new 21st Century gateway for Limerick – the first vision of the once walled medieval city for all arriving to the city on public transport. A public consultation prior to the Design Review received an excellent response from local community and stakeholders, keen to engage from the outset of the project. Almost all suggestions reinforced the importance of strong community and integrating the new community with existing communities. DESIGNS ON URBAN DEVELOPMENT There was an emphasis on providing a mix of accommodation for people of all ages, incomes, and all walks of life. Submissions called for inclusion of retail and premium office space to encourage job creation. Additional facilities for the local community were seen as key, as well as facilities to encourage arts, culture and sporting activity. This feedback was incorporated into the designs by leading architects who recently presented a series of ambitious visions and concepts contained in the Design Review report to councillors. Managed by the RIAI, the Design Review process has been chaired by architect David Browne, former RIAI President. The purpose the review is to


introduce architectural expertise early in an urban development process by working with architectural consultancies. “The Design Review of the Colbert Station Quarter has been a great opportunity to explore the creation of a new city quarter which can be an inspirational model for urban regeneration in Limerick and other Irish cities,” noted Browne. He said that the vision for this Design Review has been to create a new sustainable vibrant, liveable city quarter, building on the strengths of the existing area. “When realised this quarter could play a central role in the future growth of Limerick city, benefiting all communities.” EXPERTISE AND INNOVATION AccorKathryn Meghen, RIAI Chief Executive: “The Design Review introduces architectural expertise and innovation from the start of the project. Based on the initial consultations with community, five leading architects and urban designers have applied their skills to create an initial vision for an exciting development for the city and its people. “All architects believe that Colbert Station Quarter can be an exemplary urban development, with a strong emphasis on affordable houses, builtin attractive urban spaces, with leisure, education and employment opportunities in close proximity. All designs incorporate sustainability at their core.” Members of the public can access the documents on the Land Development Agency website www.lda.ie while a copy of the document will also be available in Limerick City and County Council’s head office on Merchant’s Quay. The LDA and the Council also invite views from the community and stakeholders on the Design Review visions via email to limerick.colbert@lda.ie on or before Wednesday 21 October.

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STRATEGY FOR BALANCED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Tomás Ó Siochán, CEO of the Western Development Commission, tells Peigin Doyle how the the Commission’s statutory role of supporting balanced social and economic development in seven western and north-western counties, in addition to their five-year strategy (2019-2024), sits with the current Programme for Government.


o, how does the Western Development Commission pick its way through the plethora of plans, programmes and promises in developing the west and northwest? “Anything that commits to the process of sustainability and regional development is welcome because a huge amount of work has been done by the regional assemblies on regional development strategies,” Tomás Ó Siochán, CEO of the Western Development Commission (WDC), told ‘Council Review’. He said that a huge amount of the programme reflects what the WDC had outlined in its submissions [on development policies] and the feedback from stakeholders.


The Programme for Government has committed to putting balanced regional development ‘at its heart’, to include the following commitments: • A National Digital Strategy derived from the National Broadband Plan, • A New Rural Policy to build on the Action Plan for Rural Development, • A Regional Action Plan for Jobs, • Making Villages and Rural Towns the Hubs for Sustainable Development, • A Strategy to Revitalise Town Centres, • A Sustainable Rural Mobility Plan to connect all settlements over a certain population to the national public transport system, using the Local Link Rural Bus Network, • A Regional Technology and Clustering Programme to strengthen links between SMEs, multinational corporations, ETBs and colleges, • New Apprenticeships with a regional footprint and support for technological universities, • Promoting Increased Remote, Flexible and Hub-working Arrangements.

Most commitments are set out in national development strategies under ‘Project Ireland 2040’, while the three-year National Recovery Plan Fund to stimulate domestic enterprise, floored by Covid-19, also commits to making balanced regional growth a priority, with infrastructure development, reskilling and training and support for investment.



opportunities are for people who want to work from home, but the centres will be very good places to do job activation, if you can attract those businesses. “Labour activation will be hugely important; reskilling, supports like childcare and office facilities. If people use the hubs they will upskill through learning from their peers while the hub manager will tell them what training is available.”

WDC strategy facilitates the development of 100 regional digitally connected hubs spread from Kerry to Donegal as part of the Atlantic Economic Corridor. While welcoming any additional resources that may arise from these programmes, the key focus of the WDC’s five-year strategy (2019-2024) is the 80% of the population within the WDC region [who] live in rural and urban areas of less than 10,000 population. “The strategy sets out short, medium and long-term aims. These goals of promoting the region, especially through its regional information portal – www. lookwest.ie – supporting the digitisation of SMEs and facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy were all ‘heavily aligned with the programme,” he noted. STRATEGY REMAINS ON TRACK Ó Siochán also identified that “creative thinking” in the programme plans to link local bus and hackney services to public transport networks, whilst also acknowledging that rural transport was especially challenging in terms of developing rural areas. Part of the WDC’s current strategy is to facilitate the development of 100 digitally-connected regional hubs spread from Kerry to Donegal across the Atlantic Economic Corridor. Attracting successful and high potential start-up businesses to locate in these hubs has already

been central to the WDC medium-term strategy. The Covid-inspired rush to remote working and commitments by outgoing Minister of State Sean Canney to invest €300,000 in the digital centres can serve to feed into this strategy of hub development, the WDC chief noted. “We see hubs as a driver of the local economy in rural and regional areas. Hub

MAIN HUBS OF ACTIVITY A recent WDC/NUIG national survey of remote working found that 83% of respondents wished to continue to work remotely once the Covid-19 crisis was over. “There is a huge drive to get small businesses online due to Covid-19. Our intention is to make people aware that remote work is not just working from home. We have developed a common online space booking engine and pointof-contact for use by the hubs,” he said. Tomás Ó Siochán sees the hubs as an opportunity to support the programme goal of revitalising town and village centres. “Most people will not work a five-day week in the hub, mixing it with home and office-based work, but if they use the hubs they will bring their presence and spend into a town or village that does not have that now, because people are commuting long distances,” he noted.

WESTERN DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION First set up in 1997 to promote social and economic development in the western region, the Western Development Commission (WDC) advises government on issues affecting the region and promotes government policy targeted at improving social and economic standards. The statutory body now works within the remit of the Department of Rural and Community Development under the current Programme for Government. It also collaborates with national and regional agencies including local government, regional assembles, local enterprise offices, third-level colleges plus the community and voluntary sector, considering that one of its remits is to support social enterprise. In addition to running the Western Development Fund, currently standing at €72m, with €48m available for investment, it also operates the www.lookwest.ie information portal. The WDC region comprises the counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Galway, Roscommon and Clare and is home to 17.4% of the state’s population. Of these, 80% live outside large urban areas and two-thirds outside centres whose populations are 1,500. For more information visit www.wdc.ie/



is set to grow in the Midlands. These are not at city scale yet, and In the long term, the WDC emphasis is on transition to a low while each is set to grow but it will take longer,” Ó Siochán said. carbon economy, promoting sustainable and creative enterprise, “Remote working and hubs are important, but we have to identifying flagship projects and high-tech skill clusters. Risk keep a long-term view and put the correct infrastructure in place, capital from the Western Development Fund and connectivity especially from the point of view of development of the northwest will be vital to delivering that vision. and smaller growth centres.” “The National Broadband Plan is to be accelerated and that is welcome. In terms of roll-out of broadband to date, the 300,000 homes that Eir have taken on have speeded up the process and with the National Broadband Plan huge progress has been made. In the context of Healthcare and Community Care Department broadband, the survey on Business and IT Department remote working showed Applied Social Studies Pre University Business Applied Psychology 19% of people had issues Architectural Technology and Design Criminology and Psychology with broadband. Legal and Medical Secretary / Office Administration Youth and Community Work “We see hubs as an Business and Accounting Nutrition, Health and Well Being interim step for people. Journalism, Digital Media and Public Relations Nursing Studies Creative Digital Media Childcare/SNA The shift to the digital Online Marketing Health Service Skills economy will take time; Computer Systems & Networks Pharmacy Assistant the roll-out of broadband Graphic Design Physiotherapy studies will be in step.” Media and Film Production Pre-Paramedic Ambulance and Fire FOCUS ON CITY GROWTH The Programme for Government maintains the existing focus on four city growth regions of Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway, to counterbalance Dublin and the east. Ó Siochán sees no conflict between this and the identification of Sligo, Letterkenny and Athlone as a focus for regional development by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) in its new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy. “Each Assembly has issued regional development plans; Sligo is nominated as a key regional centre for development, Letterkenny (seen in the context of Derry/Strabane) will develop as part of a crossborder mix, while Athlone

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THE ELECTED VOICE FOR COUNCILLLORS Mick Cahill’s time at the helm of Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) has seen a progressive vision take hold, linking both local and national politics. He recently spoke with Lorraine Courtney about his presidential priorities for a national organisation that represents the elected members of Ireland’s 31 local authorities.


hen Longford’s Cllr Mick Cahill was running for the presidency of the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG), a key theme of his campaign was his strong belief that the organisation had even greater potential to support councillors. “I wanted to bring new energy and drive to an organisation with the potential to be a touchstone for information, resources and guidance for local representatives across every community in Ireland” he said. “As elected councillors, we really are at the heart of local government and I have great respect for the contribution The Strategic Review of the organisation, commissioned by Cllr Mick Cahill in October of elected members in our democratic 2019, upon taking office, has resulted in a range of new recommendations aimed at local government system. The elected elevating the Association as a necessary high level voice for councillors. members, through our association, are fundamental stakeholders in decision range of state agencies,” Cahill noted, adding that councillors are making and the allocation of resources – it is vital that their voice uniquely placed to ensure that detailed knowledge of the needs is heard on issues at all times in a way that matters.” of local communities shapes policy development at both local and national level. STRATEGIC REVIEW “There needs to be synergies between the work and thinking He said it was a privilege to be elected to steer the work of the being done on the ground and the national progress on policy AILG, adding that he has vowed to undertake a comprehensive and strategy - and that’s also where we come in. We listen to review of current activities and position the Association to look what’s happening and we ensure the local impact of policy is not forward with purpose. lost.” Cahill commissioned a Strategic Review of the organisation The AILG President undertook a Strategic Review to consider in October 2019, upon taking office, resulting in a range of new how the Association could improve its support services and recommendations aimed at elevating the Association as the communications to councillors, noting its long history of necessary high level voice for councillors, and the main lead on engagement with elected representatives, supported by an policy making, which affects local government with government experienced team of AILG’s directors Liam Kenny and Tom departments and agencies. Moylan. Representing the elected members of Ireland’s 31 county and city councils, the national organisation acts as a networking, RESPONDING TO LOCAL NEEDS policy development and training resource for elected members “The organisation must be responsive to newly-elected from councils ranging across urban, suburban and rural areas, he councillors as well as longer-serving representatives, as they said. negotiate an increasingly complex local government system,” said “One of our aims is to ensure the elected local voice is Cahill. represented in government departments and throughout the full






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Jim Gavin, who shared a few ‘points’ and his ‘goals’ during his time as manager of Dublin’s Senior Football Team as the guest speaker at the AILG conference dinner, pictured (centre) with (from left) Liam Kenny, AILG’s Director, Cllr Mick Cahill, AILG President, Robert Troy TD, and Tommy Moylan, AILG Director. It is the Longford councillor’s vision that the AILG will develop and deliver high quality training that builds capacity and confidence to engage with all elements of local government, providing insight into the system, new schemes and initiatives, the potential for projects and collaborations. “In short, it gets every councillor on the ground running with the skills needed to not only handle extremely sensitive and personal issues that people locally have, but the know-how to move swiftly and act in a way that ensures the system works best for everyone in that instance and in future.”

FACTFILE – MICK CAHILL, AILG PRESIDENT (2019-20) First elected to Longford County Council in 2004, representing the Ballymahon Electoral Area, Cllr Mick Cahill was Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council in 2016/2017. Having spent his working life (46 years to be exact) with Bord Na Mona, Mick recently retired, having previously worked his way up to the position of supply-chain manager with the company. He graduated with a Certificate in Business from Athlone IT in 2007. Mick was elected President of the AILG at its AGM in September 2019.

REFORM PROJECT TEAM The AILG’s mission is also in building understanding both within the civil service and externally of the work and role of the councillor as a democratic representative of the community. In January 2020 a final report was produced regarding the AILG mission statement, policy and advocacy, training, supports and communication strategy. A project team has also been set up and will sit for two years to deliver on the recommendations. Securing proper remuneration is an important element of the advocacy AILG is engaged in. A report published was commissioned in mid-2018 by the Department from Sara Moorhead, SC, reviewing the workloads and remuneration of elected members across Ireland. Cahill said that it is unacceptable that the report has been so long delayed. “Analysis carried out by the Association among its membership revealed the substantial workloads of councillors,








with many putting in an average of 34 hours a week in serving their communities, and they cannot be ignored.”

the system itself that impacts on who decides to run for election, who is elected, or who runs again,” he said. “However, the very least we can do is to make sure that the decision to be part of or continue in public life is not decided by your financial means, your gender or anything other than your commitment, your vision and your work-ethic.”

GENDER EQUALITY Cahill has also led out strongly regarding the correlation between inadequate remuneration for councillors and the effect this has had on the sustainable capacity to engage with local government from many key groups in society, including women. “It is clear to everyone that half of our population is not physically at the table where decisions are made, and that needs to change. It is imperative that we look at the system, and how being a member of elected office can be made much more accessible and financially sustainable for people who have the ability to make that commitment to local representation. “There are many issues to examine, both inside and outside

NORTHERN IRELAND Cahill is also anxious to establish and maintain contact with elected colleagues in Northern Ireland. “We can each learn from our experiences in providing support to elected members,” he said. “I attended the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association in Belfast in February and was impressed by initiatives that NILGA had taken in terms of training

WOMEN’S LOCAL GOVERNMENT NETWORK The AILG Annual Conference on 5 March in Longford also featured the inaugural meeting of the Women’s Local Government Network, to provide guidance on establishing such networks for women at local authority level, to enable them to strengthen their impact and bring about equality and a gender balance in the membership and work of Ireland’s local authorities. The meeting was chaired by AILG Vice-President Cllr Anne Colgan and the panel of speakers included Catherine Lane, Women in Local, Community and Rural Development Officer with the National Women’s Council of Ireland; Tara Farrell, Deputy CEO of Longford Women’s Link; and Cllr Elisa O’Donovan, Limerick City & County Council (pictured below). There was tremendous energy, positivity and enthusiasm from the AILG delegates who participated in the session and indicated a very clear desire for local and regional women’s networks to be established. The AILG gave a clear commitment to the delegates to help, assist and collaborate in the setting up of these networks.


 The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH), established in 1982, is the national - representative federation for the non-profit housing association (AHB) sector in Ireland.  Housing associations have a long tradition in providing secure social rented homes at k0 affordable rents and delivering and managing homes as far back as the 1890s. 0 The ICSH represents up to 270 affiliated member organisations throughout the country,  including larger developing housing associations as well regional and local community  housing associations providing specialist housing. 00000 Collectively, the sector by the end of 2020, will have provided and manage almost 40,000  homes for families, older persons, homeless households, people with disabilities and single  people. A number of housing associations are increasingly developing, with local authorities,  new types of rental housing options for intermediate income households as part of meeting  wider housing options. k Housing associations have worked in partnership with local authorities in joint ventures  in the regeneration of estates to enhance the quality of life of local residents. Housing k associations also provide housing related services that seek to prevent households  becoming homeless including those encountering mortgage difficulties.  AHBs and the housing association sector now provide over 40% of all new social housing  Ireland. AHBs using4,127 new homes in delivery in line with targets in Rebuilding Ireland, where are the increasingly sector delivered k- innovative of finance for enhancing delivery as wellofasfinance working a newly2019. AHBsforms are increasingly using new innovative forms forwithin enhancing delivery k as well as working within a newly established regulatory established regulatory framework.  framework. The ICSH provides a wide range of information, advice,  guidance, research as well as The ICSH education provides aand widetraining, range of information, advice,  group schemes to ourand members them guidance, education training,supporting research as welltoas  develop and further thrive. group schemes to our members supporting them to  develop and further thrive. www.icsh.ie - info@icsh.ie - 01 6618334  www.icsh.ie - info@icsh.ie - 01 6618334


Mick Cahill with former AILG presidents Louis Belton, Pat Fitzpatrick and Luie McEntire for elected members. There is certainly something to be learned from our colleagues in the north.” CLIMATE ACTION With the theme of climate action taking centre stage at the AILG’s annual conference in Longford on 5 March, the issue has a particular resonance in the Midlands region with the impending closure of the local ESB power stations and the challenges this will bring. Cahill, who just recently retired from Bord na Mona, where he started work as a craftsman on his 16th birthday, is particularly interested in the ‘Just Transition’ programme, which is looking at sustaining Midlands areas as the peat extraction industry is wound down. This will bring an end to both an economy and a culture based on peat harvesting. “I was with Bord na Mona for 46 years in various roles,” said the Longfordbased councillor. “The Midlands must be adequately looked after now and there is a lot of work required, including government intervention, social support and funding to try and retain the Midlands as an area of economic value to the country, which it has been for a long

time. The region has huge potential in terms of its tourism offering and the local leadership must ensure that the awareness is maintained there.”

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE Ireland is one of the most centralised countries in Europe, and elected members are clearly ready and willing to take on more responsibilities to make the best decisions for their communities. “It will be imperative to consider the local democratic processes in tackling issues such as climate change, not to mention the coronavirus crisis. Hard decisions will need to be made and councillors are well placed to manage these in an equitable and locally-specific way,” said Cahill. “We have a huge interest in making sure well-funded local government is at the centre of government formation; and the current coronavirus crisis is showing just how important effective local government is.” “I will be working hard to ensure the highest quality representation continues in a challenging environment,” said Cahill. “I am determined to leave the AILG in a different space to where it was, and to modernise it. Effective and representative local leadership is needed now more than ever.”

AILG’s Vice President Cllr Anne Colgan (left) and President Cllr Mick Cahill pictured with Women’s Local Government Network representatives – Tara Farrell, Deputy CEO of Longford Women’s Link, Catherine Lane, Women in Local, Community and Rural Development Officer with the National Women’s Council of Ireland, and Cllr Elisa O’Donovan, Limerick City & County Council. 103



Inch Levels Wildfowl Reserve, Inishowen, Co. Donegal – one of the scenic trails.

Donegal County Council is the lead partner of the new Atlantic Area Trail Gazers Project, which includes trails in spectacular locations from Donegal to Portugal. The project aims to stimulate rural community growth by linking strategic walking and recreational pathways in areas of natural, built and cultural heritage with the surrounding towns and villages.

EIGHT SELECTED TRAILS The project partners have selected a wide variety of trails to test best practice methods in installing sensors and counters, capturing and predicting footfall patterns to future-proof trail maintenance and service plans. They will also survey trail users to identify factors that would enhance the visitor experience, and will work with local business to develop Business to Consumer (B2C) initiatives based on feedback from visitors, in addition to developing develop community trail plans that are focused on niche experiences. The eight trails selected are the ‘Knocknarea/Killaspugbrone Loop’ in Sligo and ‘Inch Levels’ in Donegal; ‘Chemin De Mémoires’ in Bretagne (France); ‘Via Verde del Plazola’ in Navarra (Spain); ‘La Caldera de Taburiente’ on the Canary Island of Las Palma; the ‘Seven Hanging Valleys’ in the Algarve (Portugal); ‘Sacred Mountain’ in Viana do Castelo (Northern Portugal); and the ‘Taff Trail’ in West Wales and the Valleys. In addition, Glasgow Caledonian University and Ulster University in Coleraine are providing the guidance on innovative technology and data capture solutions for each site. In pointing out the vital importance of community input to this project, McNicholas noted that to this end the partnership would like to ensure that key sectors in the rural community are represented on the project advisory groups in each of the regions. “These groups will guide the development of a ‘shared vision’ for each trail site that is based on evidence and data captured through the project, providing a range of shovel-ready, community-supported projects through practical trail plans to ensure sustainable rural futures. “The partnership will continue to ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place so that this work can continue once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted,” she added.


he EU-funded project is being led by Donegal County Council in association with Sligo County Council, and partners from the UK, Portugal, Spain and France. The overall aim is to explore the impact of walking and recreational trails on sustaining rural communities, and to provide incentives for visitors to further explore, experience and enjoy all that surrounding towns and villages have to offer. Following the online launch of the project’s website www. trailgazers.eu in June, Donegal County Council joined the other Atlantic Area Trail Gazers Project partners in an online meeting, to continue the detailed planning on this unique initiative. Donegal County Council’s Project Manager Loretta McNicholas said that despite the difficult times during the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, she was delighted with the progress being made, and with each project partner’s commitment to push forward and deliver key outputs over the following months.

For more information contact Loretta Mc Nicholas, Project Manager of the Trail Gazers Project, Research and Policy Unit, Donegal County Council lmcnicho@donegalcoco.ie

For more information on the Trail Gazers project visit www.trailgazers.eu 104

Development at Meadowfields Enniscorthy for Co-Operative Housing Ltd/ Wexford Co Co

Oakville Homes Ltd, Ashfield House Glenville Road, Wexford 085 823 4853 (Richard White) oakvillehomesltd@gmail.com

Oakville Homes Ltd Proposed Projects

Ashfield House,

Glenville Road Wexford 085 8234853 (Richard White) oakvillehomesltd@gmail.com

Proposed Projects

Oakville Homes are happy to work with Wexford County Council to deliver quality affordable Homes

Citywest by Davy Hickey Properties

Lake Drive, Citywest

Davy Hickey Properties 27 Dawson St Dublin 2

Citywest Village

E info@davyhickey.ie T + 353 1 679 5222 W citywest.ie

Proposed Projects

Droumleigh Construction is a hardworking vibrant team of experienced staff who prides themselves on the quality of their workmanship and would welcome the opportunity to discuss any of your upcoming projects in any area of the market.

Droumleigh Construction have a reputation for providing a complete construction service, delivered on time and within budget. This includes new build and renovation works We pride ourselves in taking the customer from concept to completion advising, on planning, design, construction, costings and environmental impact and commissioning.

For advice that you can trust, professional consultation with our experienced staff, bring your project ideas to us. It costs nothing to talk. •






Droumleigh Construction Ltd, based in Bantry, Co. Cork provides experience innovation and commitment to all its projects. The company prides itself on delivering a first class service to its clients in terms of programme, budget, communication and workmanship. Droumleigh Construction has extensive experience in a wide range of construction areas such as renovation and new build work and actively works in the healthcare,commercial, residential and industrial areas throughout the Munster area. Through our complete team and available resources we are able to take your project through from initial design to completion. Since it’s inception in 2000 the company has been known for its high

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quality of workmanship, attention to detail and personnel level of supervision on all projects undertaken. The combined experience of its entire staff is transferred to each project to ensure that the project is developed and constructed according to each client’s specific requirements.


MORE IRISH COMMUNITIES NOW SETTING THEIR SITES ON CONSERVATION! Since 2016, the Heritage Council has encouraged communities around Ireland to take a more active role in maintaining monuments in their area through the ‘Adopt A Monument’ scheme, which will be reviewed next year to measure how well it is meeting the needs of the community, best conservation practice and the aims of the Council. Report by Peigín Doyle.


he stone fort of an Iron Age chieftain, a 17th century Jacobean Church, an 18th century walled garden and a 19th century ore-crusher building – different structures in different centuries but all four are just a small part of our priceless legacy of heritage buildings. The question arises then how to look after so rich a heritage, especially with many other demands on public funds. Involving people and communities in protecting local monuments has been central to the work of the Heritage Council since it was founded in 1995. The Council set up the ‘Adopt A Monument’ scheme in 2016 to encourage communities to ‘adopt’ or take an active role in the maintenance of a monument in their area. The programme gives support, advice, specialist expertise and ongoing guidance on the ground. There are small money grants as well but the real focus is on advice and expertise. To provide a community support network, the Heritage Council funded the appointment of heritage officers in the local authorities. NURTURING COMMUNITY OBJECTIVES For Virginia Teehan, CEO of the Heritage Council, the structure of the scheme has allowed it to work very successfully in nurturing communities and letting them set their own objectives rather than having them ‘dictated from above’. “The inclusivity of the scheme is really valuable as it allows the local voice to be heard and we must listen to that voice and follow the local lead,” she says. “Local authority heritage officers are crucial to driving projects, by facilitating the three-way networking between the community, the local authority and the Heritage Council,” according to Teehan. The scheme will be reviewed next year to measure how well it is meeting the needs of

“Local authority heritage officers are crucial to driving projects, by facilitating the three-way networking between the community, the local authority and the Heritage Council” – Virginia Teehan, CEO, Heritage Council the community, best conservation practice and the aims of the Heritage Council. So, just how well are local authority heritage officers working with community groups to meet the aims of the scheme? “We want the public to come to us with a monument they may want to adopt. When we decided to set up the scheme, we issued an ‘open call’


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asking people if they wanted to adopt a monument. People are interested in learning about places and protecting them, and we are trying to tap into the new spirt of community archaeology,” explains Ian Doyle, Head of Conservation at the Heritage Council.

“We discuss with each group what they want to do and what they are capable of. It is a two-way process. There is a plan for every site we take into the scheme, which can include training, conservation, research and investigation. We always talk to the council heritage officer and get their views on the local context. “There is open dialogue between the county council, heritage

OPEN DIALOGUE PROCESS Since the scheme was launched by the Heritage Council in 2016, 150 entries have been received, with 13 sites across the country selected to become adopted monuments, while another open call for applications is due to be made in September 2020. In assessing applications, the Heritage Council looks at the monument, what needs to be done and the community group. “We look to see if there is a well-organised, dynamic group. It is about the community and community ownership of the project,” Doyle says. “We check if it’s an interesting monument, in addition to the group’s aims and vision. Tourism potential is a factor as well. A lot of well-organised groups are thinking of creating tourism resources especially along the Wild Atlantic Way,” he notes.

CASE STUDY 1 Mountbellew Walled Garden, Co. Galway The Mountbellew Heritage and Tourism Network wanted to conserve the high limestone boundary walls and restore some of the original features of the abandoned 18th century walled garden in their village. The heritage officer advised them on the wall phase and after three years they were accepted by ‘Adopt A Monument’ scheme. The initial discussion stage was able to blend the aims of the many different groups and perspectives within the Network ranging from conservation, history and tidy towns to tourism. The Mountbellew committee secured LEADER funding through Galway Rural Development for a feasibility study on how the work should progress. The study helped the Network accept that full restoration would take years and consider all the aspects of the project at the planning stage. Seven local Transition Year (TY) students did the physical work of uncovering early footpaths and the foundations of old glasshouses, the remains of tiled floors and pipework and the pineapple house in the centre of the garden. The students’ work was done to professional standards under the guidance of Galway Heritage Officer Dr Christy Cunniffe. He arranged training in 3D computerised modelling and in how to handle and catalogue small finds. The students’ work exposed what was on the site and showed people its potential. It is expected that more adult volunteers will join in doing the physical work as the old garden is gradually revealed and in time restored.

Community workers involved in the conservation of Kilmurry Lime Kiln in Co. Clare. (Pic: Kilmurry Tidy Towns) 109

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other funders or agencies to regard it as serious, soundly-based and a good candidate for their own funding. It is an absolute requirement of the scheme that groups and their work adhere to professional best practice and that the landowner gives a letter of permission. Based on his experience on the ground, Dr Cunniffe says he would thoroughly endorse ‘Adopt A Monument’ as “a new model of working”. Communities and people can benefit from learning skills like surveying, cataloguing finds, research and greater knowledge of a local building and its history. There is physical exercise, social contact and a sense of confidence in the group. Local authorities get conservation of their property if they own the monument, many of which do so. They have a community in their area that is dynamic and coming together and contributes to the creation of new skills within the community, notes Ian Doyle.

officers, Heritage Council and the community. The best projects are ones that the community group, the heritage officer and the Heritage Council work on together,” according to Ian Doyle. This preliminary open discussion means there is seldom disagreement between the heritage officers and the community on what the adopting group should or can do. There is the potential for friction if a group decides to go it alone and may not understand the implications of what they wanted to do, according to Dr Christy Cunniffe, Galway Community Archaeologist. ADHERING TO BEST PRACTICE Cunniffe was seconded by the Galway Heritage Office to support and monitor an ongoing project to conserve a long-abandoned 18th century walled garden in Mountbellew in East Galway, which was selected for the scheme. “A community group may want to clean up a holy well in their own way but do not realise you have to give two months’ notice to all the authorities. It could find itself in breach of the National Monuments Act. You could end up destroying the thing you want to preserve. The first port of call is that you have to talk to the heritage officer,” he says. The bulk of support from the heritage officer and the Heritage Council comes in the form of advice, experience, knowledge of best professional practice and legal requirements. The amount of grant money can be small or none at all. However, the fact that a group has been accepted by the ‘Adopt A Monument’ scheme gives it a status that can persuade

ASSISTING LOCAL AUTHORITIES While the scheme is built around a bottom-up initiative, there is potential for community groups to assist their local authorities in dealing with strategic priorities like responding to climate change, according to Christine Baker, Heritage Officer with Fingal County Council. A heritage officer could use their regular contacts with local heritage groups to stimulate awareness and interest in adopting a site that is damaged by sea erosion.

CASE STUDY 2 Church of the Rath, Killeshandra, Co. Cavan Killeshandra Tidy Towns Committed wanted to adopt the rare Jacobean-style Church of the Rath, so called because of an earlier ringfort on the site. The present church, which is owned by Cavan County Council, dates from the 1600s and went out of use in the 1840s. A community story-telling evening aided by ‘Adopt A Monument’ allowed people to discuss the future of the church, as did talks with the local authority heritage office and the Heritage Council. Through the ‘Adopt A Monument’ scheme, the group were able to secure funding for specialist advice on architectural conservation and to set down a plan in 2016, for the longterm conservation of the roof. In 2017, LEADER funded the erection of a protective roof over the church, guided by a conservation architect. Cavan County Council also helped the group secure funding from the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Culture Ireland as well as the Heritage Council.


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And she hopes to see that this co-operation between Heritage Council and local authorities continues to grow, by expanding the role and resources of the heritage office within each local authority. To nominate a local monument visit www.heritagecouncil.ie to download an application form.

To ensure the ongoing conservation of monuments, after the phase of funded community activity has ended, the Heritage Council’s CEO favours future maintenance and monitoring by local authorities. “Such sites can be decided on a case-by-case basis as some would be national monuments under the care of the Office of Public Works, but there is a definite role for local authorities,” according to Virginia Teehan.

SEVEN MONUMENT SITES SELECTED FOR 2019 The following seven sites were selected for ‘Adopt a Monument’ scheme in 2019: • Esker Church, Lucan, Co. Dublin: Esker Church is an 11th century ruined church in Lucan, associated with St Finian. The Society for Old Lucan aims to further study and survey this site and raise awareness locally of this historic monument. • Moygara Castle, Co. Sligo: Moygara Castle is one of the finest surviving Gaelic castles in the northwest. It was built by the O’Gara family close to Lough Gara in Sligo. The Moygara Castle Research and Conservation Group want to preserve and protect this site for future generations. • Kilkerrin Battery Fort, Co. Clare: The battery fort was built in the early 1800s to repel a threatened invasion by Napoleon’s Forces. The Labasheeda Projects Group wants to conserve and promote this landmark on the shores of the Shannon Estuary in County Clare. • The Graves of the Leinstermen, Co. Tipperary: Located in the Arra Mountains overlooking Lough Derg in Tipperary, little is known about this prehistoric monument which commands spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. The Arra Historical and Archaeological Society are eager to survey and research the site and raise awareness about the story of the site. • Malin Well Old Church, Co. Donegal: Set in the landscape of Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point, the Malin Well Old Church was adopted by Malin Well Conservation Group who hope to further research the story of the site, and to work with experts to ensure the site is conserved and protected for future generations. • Kilmurry Lime Kiln, Co. Clare: Lime kilns were once ubiquitous across Ireland in the 19th century, but many have been lost and destroyed over recent decades. Kilmurry Tidy Towns adopted this lime kiln, located in the heart of the village, to carry out essential conservation works and to make the monument a focal point for the community. • Moated Site, Ballyogan, Brandon Hill, Co. Kilkenny: A moated site is hidden deep within forestry plantation on the slopes of Brandon Hill. This site has been adopted by Tyndall Mountain Club who wants to understand more about the site, through survey, research and investigations.

Aerial view of Moygara Castle in Sligo – one of the seven sites selected in 2019.



TAPPING INTO TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE COMPO CLAIMS While people may claim that compo culture has always been and will be a scourge on local authorities, this won’t always be the case, according to Larry Fenelon, solicitor and co-founder of a legal tech company. Here he outlines how technology is helping local authorities to reduce public liability claims by delivering appropriate solutions to digitally collate the correct data.

disproportionate to the claim value. For the purposes of this article, we will concentrate on the first reason. When an injury occurs on a premises, the reporting of the injury is typically limited to filling out an accident report form, sometimes days or weeks after the accident. That accident report form becomes a key proof in litigation. It is a matter of luck if the author of the document has filled it out correctly and accurately. There is no ability to attach multi-media to the form. COLLATION OF RELEVANT DATA However, technology has been developed whereby all relevant data relating to the injury is collated contemporaneously on an app under mandatory form fields, with drop-down menus such as name and contact details of the injured party; cause of injury; location of injury; time and date; witness details etc. The location can be pinned while photos and videos can be uploaded, including CCTV footage on the app. Notably statements can be taken by audio recording which can be automatically transferred to text. The app can translate any language into English. When the app user has finished completing the mandatory inputs and checklist, which ensures quality of data, then the injury is notified to the head office platform. The notification of the injury is sent to several team members


ost public liability injury claims against local authorities involve modest enough injuries with claim values ranging between €15,000 to €30,000. Over 95% are settled, almost always after defences and pre-hearing, at the expensive stage of the case. The claims are difficult to settle early on as the personal injury lawyers have a vested interest in dragging the case for as long as possible to maximise the legal costs. Personal injury claims are repetitious and amazingly very little data is collected on them and the wheels continue to turn. Most compensation claims are settled because firstly, there is no proof available to properly defend the claim and/ or, and second the legal costs in defending the claim are 114


When an injury occurs on a premises, the reporting procedure is typically limited to filling out an accident report form, sometimes days or weeks after the accident. in head office. Automatic alerts will activate if the injury notification is not reviewed within 24 hours. Head office can further undertake a quality control of the data registered. Head office can then triage the claim to either settle or defend. The data cannot be lost. The data is transferred at the touch of a button, removing the need to print and photocopy. Third parties with access rights can upload and download data, such as solicitors, insurers, barristers and experts. CONFIDENCE IN DEFENDNING CLAIMS This enables the local authority and public body to confidently defend claims, safe in the knowledge that the data is close to contemporaneous and is accurate. More importantly where local authorities and public bodies have layer upon layer of structured data from the app, this delivers insights into who, when, where, why, when and how injuries are occurring, the average claim value, the duration of proceedings, the cost of defending the proceedings etc. The production of internal reports is again touch of button stuff. The data visualisation tools enable you to view the data of hundreds of claims a few pages of graphs and charts – a picture speaks a thousand words. Moreover, it also enables public bodies and local authorities to mitigate claims and even prevent claims through risk management practices. The reality is that you cannot manage what you cannot measure.

MAGIC OF DATA ANALYTICS This technology is having a dramatic impact on management – time spent on managing claims is down 75%, to the amount of time and resources spent transferring data to experts, barristers etc down by 90% and ultimately a reduction in claims and claims values over time. We are often asked by our clients about how they may reduce claims and insurance premia. And while there no magic wand there is, however, the magic of data analytics.

Now imagine your organisation with this technology at its disposal, where reputationally the organisation can take a harder stance on settling claims, where active management of claims becomes the hallmark of the local authority or public body, and where the volume of claims and the claims values reduce in a couple of years. For the luddite readers, this author is a solicitor, which is one of the most conservative professions, second only to the clergy. Technology is not taking our jobs, no more than it is yours. Technology is improving quality of life by removing the daily drudge of poring over handwritten illegible paper forms, transferring data into spreadsheets manually, printing and photocopying and producing internal reports that will be read by few people anyway!


Technology is improving quality of life by removing the drudge of producing internal reports.


Having co-founded Leman Solicitors in 2007, Larry Fenelon was managing partner until 2018. That same year he founded legal technology company LexTech, which digitally transforms, automates and data captures legal processes for businesses in retail, property, hospitality, insurance, construction, in addition to transport and logistics industries. Currently a partner and Head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution department in Leman Solicitors, Larry practices primarily in commercial, property and construction disputes. He is an experienced arbitrator and fellow and past committee member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a past chair of the Law Society’s Arbitration and Mediation Committee. Larry is a CEDR accredited commercial mediator since 2005. He is currently studying in the Saïd Business School, Oxford, in strategy and innovation.

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NO CHALLENGE TOO BIG, NO DETAIL TOO SMALL Turner & Townsend brings consistency and certainty of results by providing clients with solutions on major projects and programmes. For example, it is currently working on Swords Cultural Quarter with Fingal County Council as part of the local authority’s major development programme for North Dublin.


apital investment programmes are complex. They exist within a wide business context and involve multiple interfaces, diverse stakeholders, competing priorities, huge volumes of data and challenging goals. These pressures, together with the push to maximise outcomes, demand an efficient and integrated management approach. Common client challenges on major projects and programmes can include: • How do I build the right capabilities and a consistent approach across the project? • How do I achieve certainty of outcome, while managing everchanging requirements? • How can I embed continuous

improvement and deliver measurable benefits? • How can I implement strong controls and create a single source of truth? Turner & Townsend has particular experience answering these client challenges, delivering consistency and certainty of results.

Helping Fingal County Council align programmes with broader business objectives: Fingal County Council has an ambitious and exciting multi-million euro development programme, which will see locations across North County Dublin become landmark focal points for local communities. The first of these projects, Swords Cultural Quarter, will bring major civic, cultural and public benefits for

decades to come. Supporting Fingal County Councils Architect’s Department and Chief Executive Board, Turner & Townsend has deployed an experienced team of project and programme managers to meet the challenges of this complex project. The company’s experts are helping Fingal County Council to navigate risks, realise opportunities, build the right culture and capabilities and protect their position during the inevitable trade-offs inherent in big projects. They have tailored their delivery processes to dovetail with the client’s governance structures with the objective of on-time delivery of all milestones throughout the project lifecycle. In short, the company adds value at all project stages.

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FINGAL RESPONDS TO CALLS FROM LOCAL COMMUNITY Fingal Council Council continues to deliver vital services during the COVID-19 crisis, adapting and adjusting to the new reality faced by citizens of the North County Dublin community during these unprecedented times.


taff working right across Fingal County Council are continuing to work hard to ensure that vulnerable members in the community are safe and that the wellbeing and welfare of all citizens are being looked after. Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly, said: “Fingal County Council is ideally placed both statutorily and regionally to channel this great work and provide the governance structure in partnership with all stakeholders. This public health crisis has changed life for so many, and we are there to help with that change.” Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien said: “Fingal County Council’s role is to provide a targeted, integrated and coordinated approach to the delivery of these much-needed services to our more vulnerable citizens across the county during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The first part of this response has been to set up and co-

ordinate the Covid-19 Community Call Forum – a body made up of a wide range of community organisations. This has seen the establishment of a dedicated helpline for those vulnerable members of the community in need of assistance. The helpline is open seven days a week (from 8am to 8pm) to support all housebound and cocooning citizens. The latest phase of this work has been implementation of the Community Wellbeing programme. Investment made by Fingal County Council down through the years in areas such as Libraries, the Arts, Sports, Heritage and Events will undoubtedly reap a rich dividend for Fingal’s citizens at this time. Fingal County Council is already promoting physical and mental well-being through a variety of programmes and an array of communications channels, during these times of restricted travel.



FINGAL SCORES HAT TRICK OF ELG AWARDS FOR 2019 With this year’s Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards due to be presented on 26 November, ‘Council Review’ looks back at the ‘Local Authority of the Year’ Award winner for 2019 – Fingal County Council – and the Dublin local authority also took home two category awards for ‘Best Practice in Citizen Engagement’ and ‘Festival of the Year’.


he 2019 win for Fingal County Council was the third time in 11 years that the council had been named ‘Local Authority of the Year’ at the Excellence in Local Government Awards, having previously received the accolade in 2009 and 2016. And the North Dublin local authority also won two out of 11 category awards – Best Practice in Citizen Engagement’ and ‘Festival of the Year’ – in which it had been nominated. On accepting the award last November, the then Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, said it was a huge honour for Fingal County Council, elected members and staff. He said that it was “extremely humbling to be recognised as the best council in Ireland, especially in the year that we celebrate our 25th anniversary”. Fingal’s Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly said it was recognition of the excellent work by both the council and elected members on a daily basis on behalf of Fingal’s citizens. “It shows we are a progressive council and always looking for new and better ways to deliver our services.” EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Congratulating Fingal County Council on winning the award for the second time in four years, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, Ian Talbot, said the council had shown engagement across the different facets of the community, with the development and sustainability of Fingal’s localities and environment, to achieve this accolade. “For their commitment to serving their community, and also raising their area’s profile nationally as a stand-out

Pictured at the presentation of the ‘Local Authority of the Year’ Award for 2019 to Fingal County Council were (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, Fingal’s Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly and Mayor Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, Chambers Ireland President Siobhan Kinsella and John Paul Phelan, TD, Minister of State for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, at the Awards Banquet in Santry on 28 November 2019. destination, Fingal County Council deserves to be commended.” He also extended his congratulations to the 16 category winners, the shortlisted organisations and to those behind all award-winning projects. The then Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan TD, said the annual Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards offered an opportunity to acknowledge those in local authorities, elected members and officials, who continue to meet the dynamic and diverse needs of Ireland’s changing communities.


The 16th Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards was again held in association with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to showcase the best of local government in Ireland. A total of 16 awards were presented on the night plus the overall award for ‘Local Authority of the Year’. Individual awards were sponsored by European Recycling Platform (ERP), TEKenable, Healthy Ireland, LGiU Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and EirGrid, while the crystal awards designed by Waterford Crystal were presented to all winners on the night.

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Council Review  

Issue 64 of Council Review. The Journal for City and County Councils.

Council Review  

Issue 64 of Council Review. The Journal for City and County Councils.

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