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EDITOR’S COMMENT With the ongoing debate and analysis over the implications and challenges which an impending Brexit will present after 29 March 2019 for Ireland and, in particular, the border counties, events could now take a very unexpected turn, following the latest news of a vote of no confidence in Conservative Leader Theresa Maye. And at the time of going to press, the result had not been announced, with political analysts on both sides of the Irish Sea speculating as to the future of Theresa May, not to mention the likely outcome in long-term and short term for the future of Brexit, or even if there would now be a Brexit, hard or soft. Whatever the outcome, there are uncertain times ahead for business and enterprise on both sides of the border. The issue of Brexit and the Border was analysed by the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) during its Autumn Training Seminar in late October in Monaghan Town. The border county town certainly provided the perfect backdrop for an event that outlined a range of perspectives on the implications of Brexit for the border counties, from a selection of guest speakers that included Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council, Martin McVicar, Managing Director of Combilift (Monaghan’s leading export company), and Samantha Leslie, Estate Manager for Castle Leslie Estate. And councillors from Monaghan and around the country also had an opportunity to share their own thoughts and concerns with guest speakers on an uncertain future, and on ways to plan ahead. Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) has also claimed that local authorities face a number of uncertainties due to Brexit but are focussed on building resilience in their areas to prepare for any eventuality. CCMA chair Jackie Maguire told delegates that Brexit has been to the forefront of local authority considerations since the UK vote to leave the EU. Addressing a recent conference in Dublin titled ‘Local Authorities – Implications for Local Authorities and their Areas’, organised by the Local Government Management Agency, she said that “preparing for the unknown” is a huge challenge. Grace Heneghan Editor

contents NEWS UPDATE





Local authorities face a number of uncertainties due to Brexit but are focussed on building resilience in their areas to prepare for any eventuality, a recent conference in Dublin was told by Jackie Maguire, Chairperson of the County and City Management Association (CCMA). The Irish Regions European Office (IREO) has revamped and relaunched its website which it aims will be the prime source of EU information, particularly for local and regional authorities.





Brexit Debate Page 15

Limerick is now in the running for the European Green Leaf 2020 Award, and hopes to emulate the success of Galway, after the City of the Tribes won the award for 2017. Overall a total of 21 towns and cities from across 14 European countries will compete for the 2021 European Green Capital and 2020 European Green Leaf Awards. Nominated for a record 11 out of 16 categories at this year’s Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards, Clare County Council took home the ‘Local Authority of the Year 2018’ at the 15th Awards ceremony, and also scooped three other award categories.







63 71 73 76 77 79 81 85 89 92 93

U+I Regeneration Partnerships Clúid Housing Fingal County Council County Council South Dublin County Council Limerick City & County Council Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Dublin City Council Meath County Council Respond Housing Agency Peter McVerry Trust





Chambers Ireland Page 24

The government’s programmes in place to address the ongoing homelessness crisis, a baseline review of Local Property Tax, plus the proposed roll-out of a survey on the role and remuneration of individual councillors, were some of the many issues addressed by Damien English TD, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, at the recent AILG Autumn Seminar Dinner in Monaghan. And the main focus during the day’s events was on the future implications and impact of Brexit on this border county. A meeting recently took place between a delegation from the City & County Management Association (CCMA) and the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) – the first such meeting to take place at the AILG office in Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

AILG Autumn Seminar Page 33

Rebuilding & Regeneration Page 63

With work on ‘Longford Forest’ progressing well, the Center Parcs resort is due to open in summer 2019. The benefits of the project are already being experienced in this Midlands County, with an upturn in tourism and community development since work started on the project last year. Louth’s award-winning County Museum in Dundalk celebrates the story of the north east county’s rich social, cultural and industrial history from the pre-Christian era up to the present day over three galleries of permanent exhibition space.



Green Public Procurement Page 99







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COUNCIL REVIEW 14 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-6785165 Fax: 01-6785191 Email: Web: Editor Grace Heneghan Managing Director Patrick Aylward Graphic Design Catherine Doyle Advertisement Co-ordinator Audrey Fitzgerald ‘Council Review’ is also online at ‘Follow’ the magazine on Twitter @councilreviews and ‘Like’ us on Facebook /councilreview.

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Wexford County Council and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) recently hosted the ‘GPP4Growth’ project partners in Wexford to showcase local and national case studies of green public procurement, and to learn how public money can improve our local environment. A new strategy, which has set out the framework for the digital transformation of Limerick into a Smart City Region, aims to assist in the promotion of Ireland’s first digital city as a top international destination for investment, innovation, equal opportunities and a better quality of life.











Offaly County Council Page 110

The Dublin Housing Observatory – a new research unit based in Dublin City Council and overseen by an independent advisory board – continues to strive to provide evidence to inform housing policy, leading to better practice. Bord na Mona and Offaly County Council have welcomed the prestigious award for Lough Boora Discovery Parklands, which was recently crowned Ireland’s Best Place by the Royal Town Planning Institute. Nestled at the foot of the Dublin Mountains in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown – between the M50 and N11 transport corridors – Cherrywood’s Strategic Development Zone is on course to become the major new town in South Dublin, and will accommodate an estimated population of 20,000 residents.

Innovation in Politics Page 114

Nine impactful and diverse Irish projects were shortlisted for this year’s Europe-wide Innovation in Politics Awards. And whilst they may not have won any of the award categories, it nonetheless provided the Irish finalists with a great opportunity to share their experiences on community initiatives with their European counterparts. Seven major climate change projects will share €77 million government funding, leveraging a total investment of €300 million in round one of the Climate Action Fund, with potential to reduce annual emissions by over 200,000 tonnes of carbon as a result of the new initiatives.





Climate Action Fund Page 120

The €3.9m modernisation and refurbishment of Kevin Street Library by Dublin City Council’s architects has seen the start of a whole new chapter for the local community in the south east inner city. Tipperary’s Chief Executive Joe MacGrath congratulated Tipperary Fire and Rescue Service for being the first public service to win a National Supreme Safety Award, in recognition of its safety management system and innovative wellness programme.







The words ‘balance’ and ‘consultation’ come up quite a lot when Donegal County Council’s senior planner Eunan Quinn discusses the work of the planning service, claiming that planning is about more than just regulations, it’s also about facilitation.

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. All rights reserved Council Review © 2018

Supreme Safety Award Page 123

A €9m funding package will be provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to cover the capital cost of a range of flood relief schemes along the Shannon as part of the Government’s projected €1bn flood relief investment over the next decade under Project Ireland 2040.

The number of social housing units delivered by local authorities in 2017 increased by 43% on the previous year, according to the latest report from the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC), which revealed that local authorities continued to deliver improved performance and efficiency last year.


Shannon Flood Relief Page 125

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GUIDELINES ON THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE All local authorities will be required to adopt a local adaptation strategy in line with the published ‘Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines’ to help them prepare for the impacts of climate change. In announcing the move, the Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development Sean Canney TD, The government are developing an all of government plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Local authorities, as the level of government closest to communities, have a key role to play in this. This approach will ensure consistency and coherency across all local authorities. The Department will review these local strategies once completed, with a view to mainstreaming effective initiatives and sharing learnings both locally and regionally. “We want to make Ireland a leader in responding to

climate change, not a follower,” the Minister noted at the recent launch of the guidelines in Athlone. “The costs of adjustment are much higher and opportunities much lower or completely lost. Local authorities, as the level of government closest to communities, have a key role to play in this. The sector has already demonstrated a very effective response to extreme weather events in Ireland over recent years and with the recent establishment of the four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs). The sector can now build on this emergency response capacity and drive climate action at local level.” Under the National Adaptation Framework, 12 national sectors are also preparing sectoral adaptation plans and local authorities will work with these sectors through the CAROs to ensure effective co-ordination and coherence on actions proposed. The deadline for the completion of both sectoral plans and local strategies is 30 September 2019.

‘45 STORIES’ ON EU MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS TO IRELAND A travelling European Commission exhibition showcasing the many ways that EU membership has benefitted Ireland over the past 45 years will be visiting towns across the country over the coming months. A number of the stories featured in the exhibition have benefited from European Regional Development Funding through the Border, Midland & Western (BMW) Regional Operational Programme. The launch of the exhibition by Senator Paul Coghlan, Leas-Chathaoirleach of Seanad É Leinster House featured pop-up displays of content from the ‘45 Stories’ booklet and speeches from the Leas-Chathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, Senator Paul Coghlan; Head of European Commission Representation in Ireland, Gerry Kiely; and European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee. Citizens who featured in many of the ‘45 Stories’ also attended. “Since Ireland joined the then-EEC in 1973, our people have developed a deep appreciation of what it means to be a European and a true partner to our fellow EU Member States,” noted Senator Coghlan. “This exhibition and accompanying booklet contain rich personal stories of the real ways that European cooperation opens the door to economic opportunity and

Senator Paul Coghlan, Leas-Chathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann; European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee, and Gerry Kiely, Head of European Commission Representation in Ireland, pictured at the launch in Leinster House in October.

cultural enrichment, both for Irish people and for our fellow Europeans wishing to strengthen ties with Ireland,” he added. Gerry Kiely said visitors to the travelling exhibition and readers of the booklet would not help but be impressed by the sweep and scale of EU involvement in driving positive change for Ireland. “EU laws and initiatives have, among others, protected our environment, created great opportunities to study and trade abroad, financed vital infrastructure in Ireland, and helped prevent discrimination,” he added. Members of the Oireacthas had an opportunity to discuss the stories further with individuals featured and representatives from the public bodies involved in selecting and funding a number of the stories, including the Northern and Western Regional Assembly. The exhibition was on public display at the European Commission office on Dublin’s Lower Mount Street during the month of October, before it travels to Clones in November, Cork in December, Ballinasloe in January 2019, Blanchardstown in February, Sligo in March, Letterkenny in April, Nenagh in May and Waterford in June.



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CORK CITY COUNCIL IS RUNNER-UP IN EU PROCUREMENT AWARDS Cork City Council’s engagement in the Competitive Dialogue procurement procedure, which broadened the city’s options for social housing locations and design, received the runner-up award for innovative use of an EU procurement procedure. The award ceremony was held in Nijmegen, Netherlands (European Green Capital) during the Ecoprocura 2018 Conference in early October. Cork City Council’s Director of Service Brian Geaney, who accepted the award on behalf of the council, said that innovative and responsible public procurement empowers public authorities to obtain pioneering, innovative solutions customised to their specific needs. He said that procurement involved comprehensive engagement with key stakeholders including communities, the public, Council Members, Council Executive, the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, the construction sector and various SMEs and he thanked them all for their participation and support. During the dialogue process the council engaged with pre-qualified bidders to improve the design, functionality and price of the bids to meet the demands for social housing. The qualified bidders that developed solutions during this stage were then invited to submit their tender. This process resulted in the procurement of 11 social housing schemes, providing 215 new homes in sustainable community developments. Some of these are located on

Cork City Council’s Director of Service Brian Geaney accepted the award on behalf of the council.

brownfield sites that are now recovered to serve as urban neighbourhoods, helping to address the fundamental policy issue of affordable housing. Other authorities awarded included the Government of Flanders, City of Barcelona, City of Rotterdam, Transport for London and the City of Aalborg, Denmark, while the City of Copenhagen received an honourable mention. The awarding body Procura+ is a network of European public authorities that connect, exchange and act on sustainable and innovation procurement. Entry for the 2019 Awards is now open and entries should be emailed to on or before 31 March 2019. For further information visit

DIT CELEBRATES DECADE OF STUDENTS LEARNING WITH COMMUNITIES Dublin Institute of Technology’s Community Engagement Programme is celebrating ten years of working with more than 100 community partners on real-life projects at home and abroad. Since 2008, 10,000 students and 170 staff in DIT have collaborated on over 500 projects in Ireland and internationally. Managed by DIT’s Access and Civic Engagement Office – the Students Learning with Communities programme is a simple and hugely effective concept which sees students collaborating with a community organisation on a specific project or task to improve their learning on a range of subjects. Dr Catherine Bates, project co-ordinator, says the programme not only supports community organisations but also greatly benefits the personal and professional development of students through the process of collaborative research and learning. Many undergraduate programmes in DIT now offer students the opportunity to become involved in projects with communities, and to date over 500 such collaborative projects have taken place. For example:

citizens’ complex to identify low cost and achievable design changes that could make meaningful and positive changes in their lives • Early Childhood Education students worked with the Early Learning Initiative to enhance support materials for a homebased literacy programme designed to empower parents in the community and make a real impact in supporting young children’s education. • Social Care students worked with Crosscare Prevention and Homelessness Services to develop an accessible leaflet to outline a range of services, locations and phone numbers for people experiencing homelessness.

For more information about Students Learning with Communities and to contact DIT Access and Civic Engagement staff visit ACE/studentslearningwithcommunities

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COUNCILS ROLL OUT QUAD & SCRAMBLER BIKE SAFETY CAMPAIGN Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council have launched a joint public awareness campaign, highlighting the dangers quad bikes and scramblers pose to children, and to urge parents not to gift them this Christmas. The campaign supports the recent initiative by the Road Safety Authority, which includes an advert to be shown in cinemas throughout Fingal and South Dublin. This message is strongly supported by An Garda Síochána and Motor Cycling Ireland (MCI). In the last number of years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of quads and scrambler bikes being used in an inappropriate manner in urban towns and cities. The use of these bikes on public roads, parks and open spaces has been a growing issue with communities feeling threatened and unsafe when these bikes are being used. David Storey, Fingal’s Director of Services for the Operations Department, said: “Ensuring the safety of users of scramblers and quad bikes is our main priority. Fingal County Council is working closely with An Garda Síochána to address anti-social behaviour arising from the use of these vehicles.” MCI President Sean Bissett said that affiliated clubs in Ireland can provide guidance and advice for beginners. “The resources are there for people to enter this sport in a safe and responsible way and we encourage all riders to contact

Pictured at the campaign launch were the Mayors of Fingal County Council Cllr Anthony Lavin (left) and South Dublin County Council’s Cllr Mark Ward (right).

their club and learn how to partake in this sport correctly.” Three of the four people who died in Ireland as a result of an incident involving a quad bike or scrambler were aged 18 or under, in the period 2014 to 2017, according to provisional statistics published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

TALLAGHT TOWN TAKES BANK OF IRELAND ENTERPRISE AWARD Tallaght has won the Regional Award in the Large Town Category of the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards 2018. South Dublin County Council’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO) entered Tallaght into the Large Town Category, following its impressive performance in last year’s awards scheme. A committee representing a broad range of enterprises prepared a presentation and tour for the independent judges to assess Tallaght under the following criteria: • The enterprising town focussing on the extent and range of business activity. • Attractiveness of town. • Partnership and reaching out. • Town leadership. • Overall community support in town. • Inclusion and diversity.

Pictured (l-r): Peter Byrne, South Dublin Chamber, Michael McAdam, SDCC; John Kearns, Partas; Amanda Mills, SDCC; and Neill O’Reilly, Bank of Ireland.

The Large Town Category comprised areas with a population of over 7,000 people and came with a €3,000 prize. Individuals and groups who contributed to the award win included SDCC’s LEO staff, Tallaght Stadium, Partas,

Institute of Technology Tallaght, Synergy Centre, South Dublin Chamber, South Dublin Partnership, Henkel Ireland, Shamrock Rovers FC and Citywise.



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Eight councillors are set to take their places on the Governing Body of University College Dublin following election by the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG). Following the election which took place at the November Plenary Meeting of the AILG in Dunboyne, Co Meath, the following councillors will now take their seats on UCD’s Governing Body for a five-year term.

Cllr Rosaleen O’Grady, Sligo

Cllr Sinead Guckian, Leitrim

Cllr Emer Higgins, South Dublin

Cllr Peggy Nolan, Longford

Cllr John Paul Feeley, Cavan

Cllr Pat Daly, Clare

Cllr Padraig Conneely, Galway City

Cllr Christy Curtin, Clare.

Under legislation dating back to 1908 the AILG – as successor to the General Council of County Councils – has election rights to eight seats on the Governing Body of UCD.


The Lifesaving Foundation recently presented an award to Wexford Marine Watch (WMW) for its work in significantly reducing the number of people lost through suicide in Wexford Harbour, since the charity was established six years ago. The presentation of the special ‘Recognition Award’ took place in Wexford’s County so that its members could fully participate in the event on 27 November, in the presence of the Mayor of Wexford, County Council Members, and representative of the local emergency services. Wexford’s Cllr George Lawlor, WMW Chairperson, said: “Since its formation in December 2012 Wexford Marine Watch has been an integral part of the Wexford community. The organisation has enjoyed the full support of statutory and non-statutory agencies in Wexford. We work very closely with the emergency services, and An Garda Síochána provides us with key support.” He said the charity has played a key role in combating the scourge of suicide in the Wexford Bridge and Harbour area. “We have been able to drastically reduce the number of people lost through suicide in Wexford Harbour because our volunteers enjoy the support of the entire community of Wexford. We are both grateful and proud of this fact,” he added.

“Lifesaving Foundation research has shown that intervention at the scene is of critical importance when an event happens. These interventions Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Cllr George Lawlor, Chair of Wexford Marine Watch. stop the distressed individuals harming themselves and with proper follow-up care they seldom make repeat attempts to harm. This good work has a huge beneficial effect in the wider community as families, friends and emergency services are saved from the trauma of dealing with these events and their aftermath,” according to the Lifesaving Foundation’s Chairperson Brendan Donohoe.

For further information on the charity’s work visit






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DLR LEADS THE WAY IN PUBLIC ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING DLR has become one of the first councils in the country to lead the way in public electric vehicle charging with a phased increase of its fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) and the installation of electric charge points in the local region. As part of the council’s changeover to the electric fleet, charging infrastructure has been installed in a number of locations in Dun Laoghaire. Leading the way in dual usage municipal infrastructure, dlr has also recently installed one of the first public lighting poles which can be used for charging EVs. This pole on Croton Road in Dun Laoghaire is available for use by the public as part of a pilot study. This charging point is fully interactive and records the users charging history. It will also let the user know when their car is charged or if the charge has been interrupted. The pole is painted in a distinctive green colour so EV motorists can identify them from afar. As part of the fleet renewal programme, it has already purchased nine EVs, including five vans and two cars in use by the Municipal Services Department, and a further two electric cars being used by a pool of 30 staff across the organisation. DLR’s Cathaoirleach Cllr Ossian Smyth, said, “The

council has a fleet of 230 vehicles, ranging in size from rideon mowers to large trucks. We’re currently reviewing the suitability of the existing fleet for the council’s operational requirements and following this review, we will implement a fleet management strategy with the aim of replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with zero emission alternatives where feasible.”

At the launch of the EV charging lighting pole, DLR’s Cathaoirleach Cllr Ossian Smyth is pictured with council representatives.


Fingal County Council has welcomed the announcement of €456,000 funding from the Office of Public Works (OPW) to fund interim emergency coastal erosion measures in Portrane. The funding towards the installation of 380 ‘SeaBee’ reinforced concrete units along the beach above the Mean High Water Level was recently announced by Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Minister for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief. Minister Moran recently paid a visit to the affected area in The Burrow, where he met members of the Fingal Coastal Liaison Group, council officials and Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran pictured with members of the Fingal Coastal Liaison Group, elected representatives. The ‘SeaBees’ council officials and elected representatives. are designed to reduce the force of waves impacting the coastline during stormy conditions. (OPW) and the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS). Funding for the temporary interim emergency measures Fingal County Council’s Director of Planning and has been approved under the OPW’s Minor Flood Mitigation Strategic Infrastructure AnnMarie Farrelly said: “Fingal Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. Extensive County Council has worked very closely with the OPW, the engagement regarding the emergency measures was held Minister and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to come between Fingal County Council, the Office of Public Works up with a solution that will prevent erosion.”


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Local authorities face a number of uncertainties due to Brexit but are focussed on building resilience in their areas to prepare for any eventuality, a recent conference in Dublin was told by the Chairperson of the County and City Management Association (CCMA).


rexit has been to the forefront of local authority considerations since the UK vote to leave the EU, according to Jackie Maguire, Chairperson of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and Chief Executive of Meath County Council. Addressing a recent conference titled ‘Local Authorities – Implications for Local Authorities and their Areas’, organised by the Local Government Management Agency, she said that “preparing for the unknown” is a huge challenge. “In the local authority sector, our approach has been to consider all our plans and actions through the lens of Brexit, while maintaining close contact with Government and relevant departments throughout the negotiation period,” noted Maguire. As well as the potential impact on local business and economic development, the CCMA chairperson cited a number of practical implications for local authorities, particularly in border regions. These include the current arrangement where the Northern Irish Fire & Rescue Service provides first response to callouts in parts of Donegal and the further example of an ongoing cross-border greenway project. “While the Republic and Northern Ireland have been members of the EU, we have been able to work collaboratively on shared infrastructure development and shared service provision. We now face into an unknown situation as to whether that can continue.” ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS The CCMA Chair also highlighted the

Jackie Maguire, CCMA Chairperson and Chief Executive of Meath County Council, welcomed delegates to the conference on 4 December in Dublin’s Ashling Hotel.

Seamus Neely, Chief Executivve, Donegal County Council; Jackie Maguire, CCMA Chairperson; Chief Executive of Meath County Council, and Prof Kiearn McQuinn. ESRI. 15


POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES The conference on the implications of Brexit from a political and economic perspective for local authorities and their areas was hosted on 4 December by the Local Government Management Agency. The one-day event in Dublin examined how local authorities and their areas may be impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU, while businesses discussed their outlook on Brexit, and the preparations they’re putting in place. There was a focus on the supports available, through the Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland and other agencies.

For further information on the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) visit impact Brexit may have on environmental standards, “Currently we apply relatively consistent environmental policies north and south; this is the best way to achieve results. The Water Framework Directive, for example, is implemented in both jurisdictions to manage river basins and improve water quality but rivers don’t stop at borders.” Discussing the role of local authorities in enterprise development and tourism, Jackie Maguire said: “Local authorities will do what we can to proactively mitigate against the worst impacts of Brexit and capitalise on any opportunities. “This will involve not only our economic development and tourism teams but teams across our organisations – in planning, roads, housing, infrastructure and other areas. We will ensure efficient, responsive services and ambitious plans that will encourage enterprise, entice visitors and allow our areas to thrive.” Jackie Maguire commended the work the Local Enterprise Offices have been doing to support business in their areas, “This is a very uncertain time for businesses. The full and free access we have enjoyed to our closest market in the UK has meant it is the first market to which many local businesses and SMEs expand. “Many companies need to be brought up to speed on the issues that may be involved when the UK becomes a third country, and also need to be supported to help expand their markets. Local Enterprise Offices have been doing excellent work with businesses in their areas and will continue to help them to prepare.”

Speakers included: • Simon Coveney TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade • Jackie Maguire, Chairperson, CCMA • Dan O’Brien, Chief Economist, Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) • Jonathan McMillan, Brexit Unit Manager, Enterprise Ireland • Seamus Neely, Chief Executive, Donegal County Council • Prof Kieran McQuinn, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) • Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise, Donegal County Council The event included two panel discussions with representatives from business sectors: • Gerry Carty, Managing Director, RPS Ireland • Peter Legge, Partner, Grant Thornton • Linda Stuart-Trainor, Director of Prepared Consumer Foods, Food Drink Ireland • Liam Davis, WPD Freight Management • Michael Lennon, Westport Woods Hotel and Irish Hotel Federation Chairman • Ian Hunter, Centre Director, Pavilions Shopping Centre, Swords

Pictured (l-r): Dan O’Brien, IIEA Chief Economist; Seamus Neely, Donegal County Council Chief Executive; Prof Kiearn McQuinn, ESRI; Martina Devlin, columnist and MC, and Jackie Maguire. 16

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NEW WEBSITE TAPS INTO PRIME EU INFORMATION The Irish Regions European Office (IREO) has revamped and relaunched its website, and Sarah Holden, co-ordinator of the Irish delegation to the Committee of the Regions, says that aims to be the prime source of EU information, particularly for local and regional authorities.


he Irish Regions European Office (IREO) is a specialised support service which acts as a bridge between Irish local and regional government and the European Union. The office explains and guides relevant stakeholders through the Brussels scene and promotes Irish interests and best practices at the European level. Based in Brussels, we work to represent Ireland’s three Regional Assemblies and 31 Local Authorities. Operating as part of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA) and with the support of the Department for Housing, Planning and Local Government, the focus is on bringing the EU closer to the wider local government sector and vice versa. The office also provides the secretariat for the Irish delegation to the European Committee of the Regions. From EU news updates to financing and partnership opportunities, the website will be updated with content most relevant to assist interested groups’ in understanding EU policymaking and getting the most out of available opportunities. newsletter can subscribe on the website now! We want the website to be a useful tool for our visitors. If you wish to see something specific, or have suggestions for areas that would you would to see covered, please get in touch. Likewise, if you have EU related news, partner searches or activities that you would like us to share, please email sarah. or We also want to showcase examples of how EU funding is making a positive impact on communities across the country via case studies demonstrating relevant experience with European projects and cross-border collaboration.

RELAUNCHED NEWSLETTER We’re also preparing for the relaunch of our newsletter, which will reach our subscribers on a quarterly basis, with plenty of useful information, policy updates and a review of Irish activity in the Committee of the Regions, as well as all relevant calls and partner searches for EU funding. Those interested in receiving the

FOUR MAIN FUNCTIONS IREO it seeks to provide timely and relevant guidance and advisory services to stakeholders in order to inform and facilitate their understanding of and engagement in European activities through: • Policy: This is an exciting and busy time in the EU as the negotiations are underway on the proposals policies and funding programmes which will shape the post 2020 period. The outcome of the Brexit negotiations will also have a major potential impact across a range of policy areas.The IREO monitors relevant policy developments as well as the EU decision-making process to help Irish local and regional authorities to anticipate, adapt and influence the decisions 19

Civil Engineering •  Roads & Bridges •  Business Parks •  LIHAF Schemes •  Water & Waste Water

Marine •  Ports & Harbours •  Amenities •  Coastal Erosion

Residential •  Public Sector •  Private Sector

Tourism & leisure •  Leisure Centres •  Skateboard Parks •  Trails

Civic •  Municipal Offices •  Courthouses •  Public Realm •  Theatres

Environmental •  EIAR •  Licencing •  Contaminated Land •  Landfills •  Renewable Energy •  Monitoring

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• that will be taken. • Funding: With the new Multiannual Financial Framework, EU Member States will see changes to the current programmes and funding opportunities. By monitoring the work of the institutions, the IREO is perfectly positioned to update the relevant stakeholders on the status of negotiations and the future trends in EU funding. • Events & Networking: We want to ensure that the local and regional sector is kept fully up to date on events and networking opportunities in Brussels and further afield, whether they wish to attend themselves or avail of the IREO team to follow Brussels-based events on their behalf. • Committee of the Regions: More updates and details of the activities of the Irish delegation will be shared on the website. The Committee of the Regions is also a great resource for local authorities in accessing networks and policy initiatives, and we are excited to look at how we can further develop these links with Irish local authorities. Being based in Brussels enables the IREO to: • Pinpoint contacts and identify relevant decision-makers. • Open doors and engage with key institutional interlocutors in the European Commission, the European Parliament and Ireland’s Permanent Representation. • Organise targeted study visits for our stakeholders. • Network and build alliance with other European local and regional authorities and European associations (CPMR, ERRIN). • Represent our stakeholders’ interests at working/advisory groups, thematic and regional fora and project meetings.

Other key assembly duties are to: • Co-ordinate, promote and support strategic planning and sustainable development of the region • Prepare, adopt and implement the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSES). • Ensure consistency with RSES in relation to the Local Economic and Community Plans of the constituent Local Authorities. • Identify, participate in and co-ordinate certain EU projects. • Support the work of the National Oversight and Audit Commission.

ROLE OF REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES Following the enactment of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, three new Regional Assemblies – Southern Regional Assembly, the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly and the Northern & Western Regional Assembly – came into effect on 1 January 2015. Both the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA) and the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) manage authorities for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managing respectively the Southern and Eastern Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 and the Border, Midland and Western Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020.

All three Regional Assemblies also provide national contact points for European Territorial Cooperation Programmes and participate on those programmes’ monitoring committees

If local authorities would like to share their experiences with a wider audience in Europe, contact the Irish Regions European Office, on Tel: +32 (0) 2 2331122; email: website: 21

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LIMERICK IN RUNNING FOR EUROPEAN GREEN LEAF 2020 AWARD Limerick is now in the running for the European Green Leaf 2020 Award, and hopes to emulate the success of Galway who won the award for 2017. Overall a total of 21 towns and cities from across 14 European countries are competing for the 2021 European Green Capital and 2020 European Green Leaf Awards.


he European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards recognise towns and cities that are raising the bar in urban environmental practices in their efforts to improve the local environment and quality of life. Since its launch in 2010, 11 cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital. The European Green Leaf Award, launched in 2015, is given to smaller European towns and cities, of between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. Seven cities have been granted this award since its launch, including Galway in 2017. The following nine cities will compete for the European Green Capital 2021 Award: Budapest (Hungary); Cagliari (Italy); Dijon (France); Lahti (Finland); Lille (France); Skopje (Macedonia); Strasbourg (France); Tirana (Albania); and Västerås (Sweden). Meanwhile, Limerick is in the running for the European Green Leaf 2020 Award and will competes against the following 11 smaller cities and towns: Avignon (France); Kaposvár (Hungary); Lappeenranta (Finland); Mairena del Alcor (Spain); Mechelen (Belgium); Oliveira do Hospital (Portugal); Svishtov (Bulgaria); Szentes (Hungary); Valmiera (Latvia); Viana do Castelo (Portugal); and Vranje (Serbia). With both award categories attracting many new towns and cities this year, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “These cities

Former European Green Leaf Awards Winners: • 2019 Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain • 2019 Horst aan de Maas, The Netherlands • 2018 Leuven, Belgium • 2018 Växjö, Sweden • 2017 Galway, Ireland • 2015 Mollet del Vallès, Spain • 2015 Torres Vedras, Portugal

are working hard to be better places for their citizens to live, work and grow old. Being named Green Capital or Green Leaf is about being the best of the best.” A panel of 12 independent and internationally recognised experts will now begin a technical assessment of each application to select a shortlist of cities for both awards. This panel will assess the European Green Capital applications on the basis of 12 environmental indicators: climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, sustainable urban mobility, sustainable land use, nature and biodiversity, air quality, noise, waste, water, green growth and eco-innovation, energy performance, and governance.

Former European Green Capital Award Winners: • 2020 Lisbon, Portugal • 2019 Oslo, Norway • 2018 Nijmegen, The Netherlands • 2017 Essen, Germany • 2016 Ljubljana, Slovenia • 2015 Bristol, England • 2014 Copenhagen, Denmark • 2013 Nantes, France • 2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain • 2011 Hamburg, Germany • 2010 Stockholm, Sweden

EU GREEN LEAF AWARD The European Green Leaf Award applications will be assessed on six environmental topic areas – climate change and energy performance; sustainable urban mobility; nature, biodiversity and sustainable land use; air quality and noise; waste and circular economy; and water. The finalists for both awards will be announced in April 2019 and will then be invited to present their case to an international jury. The jury will evaluate the cities’ commitment to sustainable urban development, their capacity to act as a role model to other cities and their strategy for communicating and engaging with their citizens. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Oslo (the 2019 European Green Capital) in June. 23


LOCAL AUTHORITY OF THE YEAR IS A CLARE WINNER! Nominated for a record 11 out of 16 categories at this year’s Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards, Clare County Council took home the ‘Local Authority of the Year 2018’ at the 15th Awards ceremony, and also scooped three other award categories.


he awards which were presented at a ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin on 22 November, in association with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, again acknowledge best practice and constructive initiatives by local authorities. Clare County Council’s category award wins included: Friars Walk Coach Park Ennis (Outstanding initiative through the Municipal Districts), Community Mobilisation Unit: Rural & Community Development Officer (Best Practice in Citizen Engagement) and The Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark (Sustainable Environment). Councillor Michael Begley, Mayor of Clare, who described the Excellence in Local Clare County Council officials and elected members pictured at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards in Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry, Dublin: Government Awards as the “Oscars for the Seated (l-r): Pat Dowling, Chief Executive; Anne Haugh, Director of Social Local Government sector”, said that being Development; Cllr Michael Begley, Mayor of Clare; Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy, named Local Authority of the Year is “a wellMayor of Ennis Municipal District; and Cllr Pat Hayes; Leas Cathaoirleach of Killaloe earned acknowledgement of the hard work of Municipal District. all of the staff of Clare County Council and is Standing (l-r): Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development; Carmel Kirby, Director reflective of energy and initiative being shown of Physical Development; Cllr Pat McMahon, Leas Cathaoirleach of Shannon by management across the organisation with Municipal District; Liam Conneally; Director of Economic Development; and Cllr Ian the support of all 28 Elected Members”. Lynch, Cathaoirleach of West Clare Municipal District. Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare community services,” added Dowling. County Council, thanked and congratulated the local authority staff and elected members for their efforts and commitment to Other Clare County Council initiatives nominated for an award: delivering a quality public service to the people of Clare. • Clare Library Outreach Service to Kilmaley Daycare and “During the past two years, Clare County Council has Health Centre Clare (Supporting Active Communities) developed and commenced implementation across all • Addressing the Rural Development Challenge (Promoting Directorates of an ambitious and wide-ranging programme of Economic Development) investment and development that will benefit our county. • Clare County Council’s Digital Hub Programme (Local “All of the Clare initiatives nominated for an Excellence in Authority Innovation) Local Government Award reflect the level of positive activity • Disability Services at Active Ennis Leisure Complex (Disability underway in the county and it is important that we see the Services Provision) national recognition of this work as a vote of confidence in our • Lough Derg Blueway (Joint Local Authority Initiative) continued efforts to further improve the quality of life in County • ‘BiaFest - Food of the Banner County’ (Festival of the Year) Clare. • Ennis Peace Park (Commemorations and Centenaries) “Clare County Council is committed to continuing a • The Aisling Development (Enhancing the Urban Environment) partnership approach that engages businesses, local Chambers of Commerce, State agencies, Government Departments, Visit for more on the Chambers Ireland key influencers and most importantly, local communities in Excellence in Local Government Awards. expanding and delivering improved Local Government and key 24


AWARD WINNERS SHOWCASE EXCELLENCE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT In addition to winning the ‘Local Authority of the Year’ at the 15th Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards, Clare County Council also scooped three category awards. The event, again held in association with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, celebrated and showcased the best 16 category winners for 2018.


an Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland said: “Once again this year’s awards have proved to be a timely reminder of the tremendous work being done by local authorities, as well as what these authorities contribute to and within their respective communities and how essential their role is across many different facets of Irish society.” He said that Clare County Council was the well-deserved winner of the overall ‘Local Authority of the Year’ award, adding that the council earned this accolade through embracing such a wide variety of initiatives while taking steadfast efforts to accomplish them. “Showing tenacity and ingenuity across different fields has made Clare stand out and be recognised. A consistent level of citizen engagement and future vision for the region are what

Clare has brought to the table this year and they deserve to be commended for it,” noted the Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland. Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan TD said that the awards again served to highlight the vital role played by local authorities every day in meeting the diverse and dynamic needs of communities across the country. Individual awards were sponsored by the following: Lidl, ESB Networks, Healthy Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, AIB, LGiU Ireland, ERP, Waterford Crystal, Zurich, EirGrid, Ervia, Shell, TEKenable and An Post. Specially commissioned crystal awards, designed by Waterford Crystal, were presented to all winners on the night.

CLARE COUNTY COUNCIL – LOCAL AUTHORITY OF YEAR Pictured at the presentation of ‘Local Authority of the Year’ Award to Clare County Council were (l-r): Diarmuid McMahon, President of Ennis Chamber; Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland; Cllr Michael Begley, Mayor of Clare County Council; Siobhan Kinsella, President of Chambers Ireland; John Paul Phelan, Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform; and Pat Dowling, Clare County Council’s Chief Executive.

Best Practice in Citizen Engagement Award (sponsored by ESB Networks): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council; Cllr Michael Begley, Mayor of Clare; Paddy Hayes, MD of ESB Networks; John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform. 25



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Sustainable Environment Award (sponsored by ERP): Pictured (lr): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council; Martin Tobin, CEO, European Recycling Platform; Michael Begley, Mayor of Clare; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.

Outstanding Initiative through the Municipal Districts Award (sponsored by LGiU Ireland): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy; Andy Johnson, Director of LGiU Ireland; Mayor of Clare Cllr Michael Begley; Carmel Kirby, Clare’s Director of Physical Development; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.

Supporting Active Communities Award (sponsored by Lidl): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Jacinta Lowndes, Donabate Portrane Community Centre, Louise Edmonds, Senior Community Officer, John Paul Scally, MD of Lidl Ireland, Fingal Mayor Cllr Anthony Lavin, John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform, and Margaret Geraghty, Fingal’s Director of Housing and Community.

Health & Wellbeing Award (sponsored by Healthy Ireland): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Eoin Doyle, Director of Service, Cavan County Council; Greg Straton, Healthy Ireland; Cllr Madeleine Argue, Cathaoirleach, Cavan County Council; Barry McSkeane, Cavan Rainbow Youth; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.

Supporting Tourism Award (sponsored by Fáilte Ireland): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Ann Cusack, Board of Waterford Museum of Treasures; Aileen Dowling, Failte Ireland; Waterford Mayor Cllr Declan Doocey; John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform; and Éamonn McEneaney, Director of Waterford Museum of Treasures.

Promoting Economic Development Award (sponsored by EirGrid): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Elaine Donohue, European Region of Gastronomy 2018; Alan Farrell, Director of Services, Galway County Council; Padraig Slyne, EirGrid; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.



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Local Authority Innovation Award (sponsored by TEKenable): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Barry Waddingham, Manager, Cork Foyer/Bishopsgrove Supported Student Accommodation Project; Peter Rose, TEKenable; Cllr Mick Finn, Mayor of Cork City; Brian Geaney, Director of Services, Cork City Council; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.

Best Library Service Award (sponsored by Shell): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; TBC; John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform; Séan Power, Mayor of Kildare; TBC; TBC.

Joint Local Authority Initiative Award (sponsored by Zurich): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; TBC; John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform; David Maxwell, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council; TBC.

Disability Services Provision Award (sponsored by EirGrid): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; TBC; TBC; David Maxwell, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council; Padraig Slyne, EirGrid; and John Paul Phelan, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.

Sustaining the Arts Award (sponsored by Waterford Crystal): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Michael Nevin, Longford County Council; David McCoy, Waterford Crystal; Luie McEntire, Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council; John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform; and Fergal Kennedy, Longford County Council.

Enhancing the Urban Environment Award (sponsored by Ervia): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; TBC; TBC; Séan Power, Mayor of Kildare; Susan Moss, ICF; TBC; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.


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Festival of the Year Award (sponsored by Fáilte Ireland): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Cork County Council’s Aileen Murray, Sean O’Callaghan and Cllr Susan McCarthy; Grainne Millar, Failte Ireland; Helen Mulcahy, Cork County Council; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.

Commemorations and Centenaries Award (sponsored by An Post): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Cathaoirleach Cllr Tom Kelly, Meath County Council; John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform; Barry Lynch, Meath County Council; Gary O’Meara, Meath Enterprise.

Heritage and Built Environment Award (sponsored by AIB): Pictured (l-r): Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland; Aoife Duke, Limerick City & County Council; Mags Brennan, AIB; Limerick’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon; and John Paul Phelan TD, Minister of State for Local Government & Electoral Reform.

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MINISTER PROVIDES UPDATE IN MONAGHAN The programmes in place to address the ongoing homelessness crisis, a baseline review of Local Property Tax, plus the proposed roll-out of a survey on the role and remuneration of individual councillors, were some of the many issues addressed by Damien English TD, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, at the recent AILG Autumn Seminar in Monaghan. Here is a synopsis of his presentation at the seminar dinner.


t is only fitting that the focus has been on the impact that Brexit is having and its potential future implications on the border counties and beyond. Many local authorities on both sides of the Border have agreements in place to co-operate in a number of thematic areas including emergency planning, renewable energy and green technology, tourism and recreation, sustainable economic growth and job creation. It is important to give recognition, support and encouragement to the local authorities concerned for forming such strategic alliances and to promote the economic development and competitiveness of the region for the benefit of communities on both sides of the Border.

Minister Damien English TD, Minister for Housing and Urban Development pictured with Cllr Luie McEntire, AILG President (right), and Cllr David Maxwell, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council (left).

HOMELESSNESS SERVICES Budget 2019 allocated an additional €30m for homelessness services, bringing total funding to €146m, an extra €60m in capital funding for additional emergency accommodation and €1.25bn for the delivery of new social homes. The long-term solution to the homeless issue is to increase the supply of homes – as envisioned in Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. The housing challenge cannot be solved overnight, but that is not to say that we are not endeavouring to provide ongoing support for those most vulnerable citizens in any way possible, while at the same time managing long-term programmes to create a stable and consistent housing sector capable of producing 25,000 houses per year through all channels.

a setting allows for more intensive supports to be provided where they are needed. Crucially, families have been proven to transition more quickly through hubs and into tenancies. A total of 23 hubs currently operate nationally and offer over 550 units of family accommodation in key urban housing authorities. These family-focused facilities have been delivered, at a total estimated investment of €25m in capital funding with a further €20m in capital funding to support the development of additional hubs nationwide, demonstrating our belief in this model. Homeless HAP: The Homeless HAP Place Finder Service has been successfully utilised across Dublin’s four local authorities since February 2015, with more than 3,500 households currently being supported. A similar service began operating in Cork City in 2017. We are now providing all local authorities with the option to

Family Hubs: Many housing authorities are now delivering enhanced family-focused facilities, or family hubs, which offer a greater degree of stability than is possible in hotels. Such 33

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to work with local authorities to review delivery and streamline the application process. NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK The Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) will manage future population and economic growth, catering for one million extra people, 600,000 extra jobs and over 500,000 extra homes. A key principle in the NPF is compact sustainable growth of our villages, towns and city centres. Achieving our compact growth goals will mean the regeneration of our villages, towns and cities while also ensuring a balance of growth across the Island. Urban Regeneration Funding: The National Development Plan backing the NPF will enable key objectives to be realised. The Urban Regeneration Minister Damien English, Cllr Winston Bennett and Cllr Luie McEntire (AILG President) and Development Fund, which has an before the start of the seminar dinner at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan on 25 allocation of €2 billion over the 10October. year period of the NDP, will assist in developing innovative projects and more compact regeneration pay deposits and advance rental payments for any households focused development. in emergency homeless accommodation, in order to secure The application process for the URDF has now closed. My accommodation via the HAP Scheme. Department received in the region of 160 applications. A project To date, the Department has approved funding of 22 advisory board has been established to evaluate the applications. dedicated Placefinder officers nationally, who work with families It is envisaged that the first round of successful applications will experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness to be announced in November. identify a tenancy in the private rented sector. Land Development Agency: The strategic management of key potential regeneration sites, many of which are publicly owned, is a subject which Government has been considering in detail since the publication of the NPF. The Government’s Land Development Agency (LDA) will allow for a more strategic approach to the management of public lands. The LDA creates a new opportunity to use the State land bank to smooth land supply, disrupting speculation and stabilise house prices, while at the same time leading to better planning outcomes, less sprawl and less commuting. The LDA will provide a national centre of expertise on regeneration to work with and assist local authorities and their experienced staff through providing additional available expertise in areas such as project management, finance, and procurement.

Housing First: Innovative programmes will have a large part to play in helping to address homelessness. The most notable of these is the Housing First Programme, which aims to support a person who has experienced homelessness into permanent housing as quickly as possible without any preconditions. A National Director of Housing First was appointed in February this year and a National Implementation Plan was launched last month that sets annual targets for each local authority. Funding of €3m has been provided under the Dormant Accounts Fund Action Plan 2018. In the longer term, the housing supports providing under Housing First will be met from within the Department’s vote, with Health supports funded by the HSE. Housing Adaptation Grants for Older & Disabled People: We are also increasing resources to other important housing programmes. The Housing Adaptation Grants, for example, allows people to continue living independently in their homes. From a funding level five years ago of €43m supporting 7,000 people, this year the scheme has invested €66.25m, which will directly benefit 10,000 people. It is very important that these grants can be readily accessed, and my Department will continue

NEW STATUTORY PROVISIONS A new regulation will be put in place which will exempt councillors from paying the standard €20 fee when making a submission on a planning application. The abolition of the €20 submission fee supplements a recommendation of the Mahon Tribunal that interventions made by councillors on planning applications be noted on the file and be available for inspection. 35


The take-up of this fee exemption provision will be monitored as I would not like to see it being abused, with councillors being used as a medium to facilitate avoidance of payment of the submission fee by members of the public. Ideally this fee concession should be used pragmatically for the purpose of promoting the objectives of the development plan and I hope it will be applied in that spirit. A further aspect of the recent 2018 Planning Act that you will be pleased to hear about is the provision to submit a resolution to the Chief Executive requesting him or her to prepare a report on a proposal for a variation of a development plan for a specified reason, subject to the resolution being supported by three-quarters of the members of the local authority concerned. Where such a resolution is adopted, the Chief Executive will be obliged to submit a report within four weeks of the resolution. I would hope that AILG members will see these new arrangements as positive developments that Cllrs Eithne Loftus and Madeline Argue greet Minister Damien English upon recognise the important role of councillors in the local his arrival to address delegates and guests at the Autumn Seminar dinner in government system. the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan on 25 October. LOCAL PROPERTY TAX My colleague Minister Donohue is currently in the process of finalising a review of the Local Property Tax (LPT) and, in the recent Budget speech, stated that any future changes to LPT liabilities will be both moderate and affordable. In the meantime, my Department has finalised the LPT allocations for 2019 amounting to €503m, which remains largely unchanged from the current year. It is interesting, and indeed very welcome to note, that local authorities are, in general, maintaining their current LPT rates in 2019. This trend illustrates the responsibility elected members take on when undertaking the decision to vary their local LPT rates and their growing appreciation of the link between service provision, LPT income and the budgetary process.

vacant properties and improving the collection powers of local authorities. It is intended to seek time in the current Oireachtas session to have the Bill proceed as efficiently as possible. ROLE AND REMUNERATION Finally, the issue of supports for councillors is one which has been the subject of much debate and commentary over the last year. It’s important to support councillors appropriately, with due regard for transparency and accountability, to ensure that they can effectively carry out their role as public representatives. Earlier this year Minister John Paul Phelan agreed with Minister Donohoe to commission a review of the role and remuneration of councillors, and he appointed Ms Sara Moorhead SC to conduct this review. Ms Moorhead has been consulting with appropriate stakeholders, including the AILG, which has provided a very detailed submission on behalf of its members.

LPT BASELINE REVIEW In the context of the wider LPT review, Minister Murphy established a group comprising representatives from the Department, the CCMA and the AILG to establish a framework regarding the allocation of any additional funding that might be available as a consequence of the review. The Group consulted with relevant stakeholders and had received 53 submissions, with 27 coming from local authorities. The contributions from councillors were particularly helpful in providing direct input and experience from the local authority perspective. Ministers Murphy and Phelan are now considering the outcome of the group’s deliberations.

SURVEY OF COUNCILLORS It is intended that a survey of individual councillors will begin shortly and this will further inform the outcome of the review. The review will produce an interim report before the end of the year, with the timing of a final report to be considered thereafter. When the review is complete, its findings will be the subject of discussion between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and it will be submitted, thereafter, for the consideration of the Government. The role of local authorities is crucial to the successful delivery of vital services and implementation of national policy at local level in a range of key areas. I look forward to continued constructive engagement on the many policy issues and the many others besides in which local authorities play an active role.

COMMERCIAL RATES My Department is also aware of the importance of commercial rates as a funding source for local authorities. The Local Government (Rates) Bill has been published to address the modernisation of rates legislation, abatement schemes for 37

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BREXIT AND THE BORDER MONAGHAN FIGHTS BACK With major challenges on the horizon due to an impending Brexit, Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council claims that the border county is very exposed and businesses are experiencing a skills shortage. However, he told the AILG Autumn Training Seminar in Monaghan Town about the County Council plans to address the issue. Report by Grace Heneghan.


he challenges of Brexit have been written about over the past two years this stage, according to Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council. “Currently businesses are experiencing a skills shortage and there’s a problem with graduate retention. But Monaghan County Council has a number of plans in place to address this issue and to get graduates to return to the county. “One of the invisible signs on the impact of the border is the rate of vacancy and dereliction, and this does have an impact in some quarters on community spirit. You need a vibrant economy to create a positive community spirit, and that’s something we’re working on all the time. So, how are we tackling these problems?” O’Sullivan, who was one of the guest speakers at the recent AILG Autumn Training Seminar in the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan Town, said that as a border county Monaghan was very exposed. “The combination of people in the community and council staff, together with a strong sense of the region working very closely with business is having an impact already. “We’re very active with a number of business support packages in place through the Local Enterprise Office (LEO). We have also created a low-cost business environment and we treat business customers as priority customers – they are prioritised by our planning and economic development council staff because they are so important to the county.” ENTERPRISING NETWORKS With a short turnaround time on planning applications submitted to the council, Monaghan’s Chief Executive pointed to Combilift – one of the county’s largest employers – as a case in point. “Martin McVicar, CEO of Combilift, will address this in his presentation. A planning application for the development of their €50m headquarters on the Armagh Road took just 35 working days to process. That’s how important it is for us to prioritise job creation, enterprise development and to get things done working closely with the business sector in the county,” he added. “The LEO network in Monaghan has done a tremendous job in supporting the SME sector and that’s becoming even more important in light of Brexit, in addition to providing local initiatives and support packages in the area of skills and providing incubation and enterprise space. For example, APR is a cross-

A native of Wicklow, Eamonn O’Sullivan had spent over 16 years with Kildare County Council as Director of Economic Development, Enterprise, Tourism & Corporate Services, before his appointment as Chief Executive of Monaghan County on 25 January 2016. border business development programme that the north east of the country (both north and south of the border) is working on together. ADDRESSING SKILLS SHORTAGE Monaghan County Council has worked on developing job traineeships and skills in association with some of the county’s 39

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Ballybay and Emyvale. “We have planning permission in place to develop C-Tech Two and N-Tech Three because there’s demand for this space, and if we get planning permission in place we can get these units built and will be able to market and fill them. “The provision of industrial sites is another area in which we’re very active. IDA Ireland has a site in Monaghan which has been vacant for the past 40 years and with the considerable support of our local Minister Heather Humphreys, who’s now the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, we’re working very closely with the IDA to develop and advance technology and open a factory on that site. “The recent budget announcement has earmarked Monaghan as one of the new sites for IDA Ireland, which is largely due to the efforts of Minister Humphreys with the support of the council.”

leading employers, such as Combilift, ComputerShare, Monaghan Biosciences and Entekra to address the skills shortages. “Combilift, which is a global business operating in 85 countries worldwide, is going into its third year of its traineeship programme and has been accredited as part of the National Apprentice Scheme. And within the two years of its development 20 apprentices each year have received full-time employment with Combilift once they graduate from the programme. “This initiative is being offered by the Monaghan Institute, a third-level facility which has been developed by the CavanMonaghan Education Training Board, working very closely with Monaghan County Council.” Meanwhile, in terms of research and innovation, this side of Entekra’s business is being run from Monaghan, and the company now offers 100-150 full-time jobs. “They’re currently designing the homes here in Monaghan in relation to servicing the US market; and then they are built in California. It shows that you can deliver a growing business from a border county.” Likewise, from a financial services point of view ComputerShare is running its international transactions from Monaghan,

SECOND SITE STRATEGY Eamonn O’Sullivan explained that the council is also adapting what he referred to as a “second site strategy”. With Carrickmacross within a 45 minute-drive from Dublin Airport, the council is putting a number of initiatives in place to encourage firms to move out from the city to a low-cost area, such as Carrickmacross and other parts of Monaghan, which can offer a better quality of life. “It will take some time to see this bear fruit, but we’re

SITES SET ON WORK SPACES Monaghan County Council is also heavily engaged in the direct provision of work spaces in Monaghan Town and also in Clones,

AILG President Cllr Luie McEntire makes a special presentation to Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council, following his address to delegates at the AILG Autumn Training Seminar at the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan Town on 25 October. 41

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ideally positioned now in terms of our location as a half-way point between Dublin and Belfast with good transport connections. This is something we’re looking to build on in the future.” And now with every one of the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in Monaghan working on the provision of Brexit supports, the County Council’s Chief Executive said that they have engaged with the businesses in the county. “This is to ensure they pick up on the supports available, in terms of mentoring and training. We ensure that they’re looking at how Brexit will have a potential impact upon their business.” Over 400 businesses attended the ‘Getting Brexit Roadshow’ organised by the Dept of Foreign Affairs’ which visited Monaghan recently. They received very good advice and very good assistance, and this is a sign of how relevant it is in a border county such as Monaghan.

Cllr Luie McEntire, AILG President; Shirley Clerkin, Heritage Officer with Monaghan County Council; and Cllr Mary Hanna Hourigan, AILG Vice-President. In her address on the implications of Brexit on Ireland’s culture and heritage, Shirley Clerkin pointed out plans by the council to roll out a north-south mentoring programme for training courses and sharing skills. developments with developers both in Monaghan Town and Carrickmacross, and is working very closely with the Affordable Housing Bodies such as Respond and Tuath Housing Associations to deliver units. As part of this €70 development programme, Monaghan County Council currently has over 600 units in that pipeline. “For example, there are only about 20 properties to rent on in the entire county, so we have a very lengthy housing waiting list, but we’re continuing to tackle it.”

VACANCY AND DERELICTION Monaghan is no stranger to the need for more suitable housing developments throughout the county. And the issue of vacancy and dereliction, which is commonplace, is being urgently addressed by Monaghan County Council. “We have taken up Pillar 5 of Rebuilding Ireland, which ‘encourages and incentivises towns and villages in rural Ireland’, and we developed a renewal scheme for Clones by using the Derelict Sites legislation to acquire in the region of 10 properties to CPO (compulsory purchase orders). We added to that by having some purchases by agreement. “Through this we were able to identify areas within Clones town centre that needed a focused approach, and we put a package together and the Dept of Housing, Planning and Local Government had given us the task of producing 21 residential units that were in poor condition and many in a derelict state for 30 years or more. We took ownership and totally refurbished them, and we’re now on the way to making available 21 residential units by 2020.” Eamonn O’Sullivan pointed out that this development is making a statement in Clones that “Monaghan County Council, with the support of the councillors, will not allow vacancy and dereliction to continue as before. With business confidence returning we’re working very closely with the town regeneration team in Clones, and by late 2019 and early 2020 these units will be occupied”. The council has also completed a lot of turn-key

THERE’S ‘MORE TO MONAGHAN’ The border county is also participating in a Peace Corps Action Plan valued at €3m (2017-2020) and the council is mid-way through that programme. The proposed Monaghan Peace Campus, which will include a library, museums and a civic centre, is now ready to go to tender and the aim is to continue regeneration in Monaghan Town. “We’re using the ‘More to Monaghan’ tagline to promote Monaghan and get the branding across, both at home and abroad, in terms of tourism and attracting people here to see what the county has to offer. “So, we’re using social media more and more to get the message out there. There’s been good traction on our #MyMonaghan Twitter campaign to date. We’re also working on tourism programmes, in relation to funding applications to Fáilte Ireland, for example, and anywhere else where we can leverage funding to develop the county.” In terms of tourism development, he outlined the number of major heritage attractions which the council aims to enhance. For example, it has a masterplan in place for the Coillte-owned 43

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Rossmore Park. Described as a “valuable amenity” to Monaghan Town by O’Sullivan, he said that it is set to receive a recreational loan of €500,000. Work is also in progress on the Patrick Kavanagh Visitor Centre, while the Clones Market House (which will be the new home of the Municipal District Office) is also undergoing a major refurbishment programme.

Monaghan County has a resilience. “The work ethic, industrious nature and entrepreneurship in Monaghan will stand us in good stead, regardless of the outcome of Brexit. And we look forward to working with the businesses and the communities here to ensure that the county is not adversely affected.”

CROSS-BORDER PROJECTS A native of Wicklow, Eamonn O’Sullivan, who had spent over 16 years with Kildare County Council as Director of Economic Development, Enterprise, Tourism & Corporate Services, was appointed Chief Executive of Monaghan County in January 2016. With a dearth of mountains on the flat plains of Kildare, he commented that the same cannot be said of Monaghan. “Sliabh Beagh is a beautiful upland mountain area on the border of the county – and we’ve developed a master plan with Fermanagh Local District Council as one of a number of crossborder projects to promote this area,” he said. Meanwhile, Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal Greenway is in the pipeline – this 22km project, which will provide a Greenway between Smithborough in County Monaghan and Middletown in County Armagh, is to receive funding under Inter-Rail. “We’re doing a lot but this couldn’t be done without the support, both politically and financially, of our elected members, and we share the same vision of what this county can achieve. Brexit is a backdrop to that, but 45


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AN UPLIFTING BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE ON BREXIT Martin McVicar, Managing Director of Combilift, has built his business over the last 20 years to become one of Monaghan’s biggest manufacturing companies, which now exports to 85 countries worldwide. He offered his own business perspective on rising to the challenges presented by Brexit, and his company’s commitment in providing apprenticeship programmes to recruit, train and retain young people in the county. Report by Grace Heneghan.


ith Brexit hitting the headlines again in recent weeks, the reality is that there’s no more clarity today than we had in June 2016 when the vote was first cast, according to Martin McVicar, MD

which we have found is that the manufacturing sector in the UK has continued to grow, and a lot of that is driven by the weaker British pound, but this has made the UK products more competitive to export. “For example, JCB is one of our major customers and their business has grown and there are opportunities there for us. So, there are positives there as the weaker sterling is making UK companies more competitive and they will need more products and services to grow their own businesses.” In referring to the recent visit by Minister Simon Coveney to Monaghan, who held talks with Minister Heather Humpherys on how the government is proactive in terms of getting businesses to plan for Brexit, McVicar claimed that the reality is that it’s hard to plan. “We don’t know what to plan for exactly, but with the weakened British pound since the vote in 2016 we have had no option but to increase our prices on our products. “However, the only way that businesses can increase their

of Combilift. “The reality is that it’s going to happen, but none of us truly know the outcome. For a company like Combilift, even though we’re exporting to 85 countries around the world, 25% of our production is shipped into the UK, so we’re very vulnerable to the negative repercussions of Brexit on our business. “For Combilift as a company, like most businesses in Ireland, we have always looked at the UK market as a home market, and even though it’s classed as an export market it’s on our doorstep as a home business. It’s very difficult for any business to replicate that volume of opportunity in an export market because it’s not on your doorstep. “Even though we know Brexit is going to happen in some shape or form we have still continued to actively grow our business in the UK; over the last two years our sales have continued to grow there and we continue to invest in that market, because we feel that post-Brexit – whatever shape or form it takes – our UK clients will still need products to save space and will have a requirement for our Combilift forklift trucks.” POST-BREXIT MARKETS He said that while a lot of initiatives point to a focus on other markets, the UK is still going to be a big potential market post-Brexit for many businesses right across the country. “It’s very hard to get any positives about Brexit, but if you speak to any business in Ireland and even in Northern Ireland today, the media struggle to find any business that’s pro-Brexit and to speak about it in positive terms. “However, the one positive

Martin McVicar, MD, CombiLift and Cllr Damien Ryan, AILG Executive Committee.



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Pictured (l-r): Cllr David Maxwell, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council; Martin McVicar, CEO of Combilift; and AILG President Cllr Luie McEntire. “Being granted AEO status ensures our goods can travel across a customs border much more fluently with less disruption. When a company has AEO approval then Customs will trust what you are doing and randomly inspect how you’re shipping your products. This allows goods to travel across a border more efficiently. This will limit any disruption should a hard border be put in place, making it more streamlined for us to do business in other countries, for example Brazil and Turkey, where we already deal with Customs. So, even if Brexit never happens, there are other pluses because being AEO approved is still very beneficial to a local business that is exporting.” A key component of Combilift’s business, he claimed, is in this high level of investment in Research and Development (R&D), with seven per cent of revenue re-invested in new product development. “Thankfully we have been very well supported by Enterprise Ireland in R&D. As a company we could not compete by just making conventional forklifts in Monaghan, and over the years we have continued to offer unique products at premium prices to make it successful.” In more recent years the company has also focused on developing a range of forklift trucks designed for the warehousing market. “We have a team of engineers that work very closely with potential customers, and we can prepare a visual 3D animation to show how our space-saving forklifts can offer value for our clients’ warehousing needs.”

prices is by introducing innovative products on which they can charge a premium price. The one message I want to get across is that the more innovation a company can offer and the more uniqueness their products have, then the better chance they have in charging premium price. And this will help to counteract currency fluctuations and any tariffs which may be introduced as a result.” Combilift not only sells products into the UK, but they have many suppliers and sub-contractors based both in mainland UK and Northern Ireland, so moving goods across the supply chain will be a concern for Martin McVicar and his team. “We don’t want to have to be subjected to paying import tariffs on raw materials coming into the country. And it’s more concerning and alarming for companies in Northern Ireland if there is to be a hard Brexit.” CONTINUAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT In terms of other initiatives Combilift has introduced in terms of planning for Brexit, the company has increased its investment in Research and Development (R&D) and has introduced innovation by offering value to its customer base. “We now have more than 10,000 Combilift forklifts operating in mainland UK and if someone orders a spare part from us today before 4pm we can have that delivered anywhere in the UK before 10am the next day. But the requirement for customs clearance will delay the process, so this has triggered us to apply for an AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) status – which is a 90-day application process.

ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAMMES McVicar and his team at Combilift are very proactive in 49

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participating in a lot of entrepreneur programmes both in primary and secondary schools in the county. “Here in Monaghan we like to think that we have a great entrepreneurial culture, but it needs to be encouraged. For example, we have been very involved in both junior achievement awards junior entrepreneur programmes, run for primary schools while at secondary school level, we are also very involved in the student enterprise programme through the minibusiness projects, which also operate in a lot of other counties. These are great initiatives to encourage young people to think entrepreneurial, and ideally the aim is to get a percentage to become entrepreneurs.” He said that even though it’s great for business in the county to have a Minister for Business such as Heather Humphreys in office, historically Monaghan has had very little or no FDA (Food And Drug Administration) investment. “As a county all of our businesses are very much indigenous and home-grown enterprises, and while it’s sustainable, we want to keep that culture in terms of entrepreneurial spirit coming through in our young people.”

FACTFILE ON MARTIN McVICAR One of Martin McVicar’s career highlights was being named the Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year at the age of just 29. His career in engineering started with a summer job at Moffett Engineering, a truck-mounted forklift manufacturer, and he joined the company in 1989, after leaving school at the age of 17. He became Moffett’s chief engineer before turning 20. When the company was sold in 1997 to PowerScreen, this was the catalyst for him to venture out on his own, and he set up Combilift together with Robert Moffett in 1998 in his home county. Now just over 20 years in operation, the successful Irish material handling solutions business produces a wide range of customised and specialist forklift trucks. The company, which now exports to 85 countries worldwide, currently employs over 550 people and in April 2018 it moved into a brand new, purpose-built facility spanning 46,500m² on the N2 Monaghan By-Pass. He said that planning permission for this new facility was granted by Monaghan County Council within just 31 working days. “The speed of getting planning approval is very important for a business, and it’s in everyone’s interest to move the planning process through as quickly as possible,” he told delegates at the AILG Autumn Seminar. “Monaghan County Council has been very proactive in terms of zoning land available for industry, and it’s also working on other projects to bring industry into this zoned land, which will also progress not just business but also job opportunities etc.”

COLLABORATION ON ETB TRAINEESHIPS And in any business ongoing training is very important. “Most employees we recruited in recent years were either experienced mechanics or grew up on family farms so they had experience with machinery. But we realised as we continued to grow our business that it was proving harder to find those people with practical hands-on experience.” The company took the initiative four years ago to run an in-house training course in a bid to recruit new people and contacted the local Education Training Board (ETB). He said that the CEO Martin O’Brien, now based in Louth, was very open to setting up a traineeship course.

Robert Moffett and Martin McVicar pictured in Combilift’s head office in Monaghan. 51


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Combilift ran the first industry-led trainee programme in the country with Cavan Monaghan ETB, and also worked out what modules they wanted to cover, and the programme was up and running within six months. Now in its fourth year, the one-year traineeship programme takes in 20 new recruits every year and offers a QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) Level 5 Certificate. “With this qualification we have offered full-time employment to a high percentage of people who have completed the programme. The benefits of traineeship are that it does not cost the graduate or the trainer anything.” For unemployed individuals who take up a traineeship programme they In August 2018 Combilift rolled out yet another new product – the high capacity powered continue to get social welfare benefits. And Combilift also offered a small bursary pallet truck – the Combi-PPT. €5,000 per year (€100 per week) to those who were interested in this programme and willing to give up a professional OEM technicians, servicing and supporting a range job or a career that was maybe not ideal for them. of engineering products and solutions, manufactured in Ireland, “We found that initiative not just beneficial for us but also for chiefly for export markets worldwide. The programme will be run many of the individuals who have learned very quickly from the both in Cavan and Monaghan ETB and also in Limerick and Kerry. process, because 50% of the time is in the local ETB classroom “The course content will not just be developed around the while the other 50% of the time is in our workshop, working in needs of Combilift but it will also respond to the needs of the different areas. engineering sector in general. We only got QQI approval at the “It’s a great learning curve and gives them an understanding start of October, and we plan to roll out a national launch of and an opportunity to train in a career that’s best suited to them. the programme with Heather Humpheys, Minister for Business, We have invested in the equipment in the classroom also, so our Enterprise and Innovation, and Joe McHugh, Minister for collaboration with the local ETB has been very beneficial, and Education and Skills.” very proactive in terms of setting up further courses.” GREAT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES OEM APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMME He also wants more companies nationwide to become involved For over two years the company has also worked closely with the in the programme and asked councillors to contact manufacturing Apprenticeship Council and a number of leading manufacturing companies in their own counties whom they think would be and engineering companies across Ireland to establish a new interested in this new initiative. “The more companies who want national OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Apprenticeship it then the more students we can encourage to get on the course Programme. and create more momentum, because there are great career Commencing in February 2019, this three-year programme opportunities in manufacturing. will lead to a Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Original Equipment, “We’re convinced that this apprenticeship programme will awarded by the QQI (an independent national agency be a valuable qualification for individuals in the coming ten responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education years or more hopefully. There will be great progression for the and training services in Ireland). students because during the adjudication of this QQI programme, This programme will cover the manufacture, assembly and Sligo IT told us that any individual who completes the three-year maintenance of the company’s product range, and takes a deeper apprenticeship programme can move into the third year of Sligo look into the workplace safety, operation of safety equipment and IT’s B.Eng in Mechatronics degree course. Therefore, for students completion of routine inspections and audits. who want to progress into a degree course this apprentice During each step of a project the apprentice will gain programme can offer great value. knowledge and the key skills in safe working practices, methods “The more that businesses work with local ETBs the more and procedures that can be used across multiple platforms. The successful we all will be. The other big plus offered by this OEM Apprenticeship Programme maximises the three-year study programme is that it keeps people within their local community, by giving hands-on experience in a working environment as well and if we can educate our children in our local counties they are as modular-based learning within a classroom. more likely to stay and work in their local counties, and it’s to the The aim of the programme is to teach students to be benefit of us all in the long term.” 53

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BREXIT AND THE BORDER CHALLENGES FOR THE TOURISM INDUSTRY Over the last number of years Castle Leslie Estate in Monaghan has proven its resilience and flexibility in responding to changing market circumstances, by delivering continual growth since 2009, according to estate manager Samantha Leslie. She outlined some challenges and opportunities which will be presented by Brexit at the AILG Autumn Training Seminar. Report by Grace Heneghan.


amantha ‘Sammy’ Leslie is the proud guardian of Castle Leslie Estate. Sammy took up the reins at the young age of 24, starting up her first business in the form of the tea rooms in the leaky conservatory of the castle. Since then, through sheer dedication, stubbornness and passion, she has restored many of the buildings on the estate, and in so doing she has created a sustainable future for her family business. Castle Leslie Estate now boasts a variety of ways in which it can be shared and enjoyed, including the Castle and Pavilion, the charming Hunting Lodge, the self-catering cottages in the Village of Glaslough, and the refurbished Old Stable Mews. Guests can also enjoy a range of activities, including a stateof-the-art Equestrian Centre, a Victorian Spa and fishing on Glaslough Lake.Sammy is always interested in exploring new and less obvious ways in which Castle Leslie Estate can reach more diverse audiences, and is at the forefront of forging future plans for the next 100 years of the Estate.

Samantha Leslie pictured with Cllr David Maxwell, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council (left) and Cllr Luie McEntire, AILG President (right), following her presentation to delegates at the AILG Autumn Seminar. “Ireland’s competitiveness as a whole has been impacted. However, unique visitor experiences and those that represent value for money will continue to stay ahead of market forces,” she added.

MONITORING DEVELOPMENTS Since the UK Referendum on Brexit in 2016, Castle Leslie Estate has monitored developments closely and the behaviour of the UK Market (including Northern Ireland), noted Samantha Leslie, Castle Leslie Estate Manager. “The Irish border is nearly 500km long, and when people ask me where I’m from I say ‘Monaghan’, and they ask ‘Where’s that?’ and my stock answer is ‘We’re at the bottom of the border. So, it promises to be interesting times ahead! “We sit in a very interesting pocket on the border – where three counties and three estates meet, which does not happen anywhere else in the country. Castle Leslie and the Village of Glaslough in Monaghan, Tynan Estate in Co. Armagh and Caledon Estate in Co. Tyrone all provide an amazing microcosm and populace of Irish history of three estates in three amazing villages in three counties with a border running through them. “Castle Leslie Estate differs in a number of keys areas from its competitors in this region, by offering a truly unique visitor attraction, a truly unique visitor experience and a truly unique brand that offers value for money.”

BREXIT – THE STORY SO FAR… • UK visitors to Ireland peaked at almost 4.1m visitors in 2008. • Economic downturn that followed saw UK visitors drop to 2.77m in 2012. • UK visitors rose to 3.9m in 2016. • However, since the Brexit vote the Euro has strengthened significantly against Sterling making Ireland a more expensive destination and UK visitors declined to 3.7m in 2017. • This decline in UK visitors is further compounded by the fact that outbound travel from the UK is actually up by 3% for the year (Jan-Oct 2017) according to the UK Office for National Statistics. • The Northern Ireland market remains an important leisure market segment for the border counties and a survey by Crowe Ireland just after the Brexit vote showed that 75% of border county hotels expected a decline in occupancy levels in 2017.

GROWING COMPETITIVENESS Sammy Leslie said that the depreciation of the pound against the euro has made competitiveness and value for money more important than ever for the UK market this year and next. 55




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Monaghan and our 11 neighbouring counties. This is something “In terms of marketing, brand awareness is a key differential which should be looked at in the near future by Failte Ireland,” when driving your customers towards your business. Price she told ‘Council Review’ after the seminar. This is an issue which needs to be competitive and flexible, and a responsive pricing we will be following up in more detail in a future edition. model is required to meet the changing market exchange rates. Meanwhile visitor numbers from the EU and the USA have grown significantly over the past three years, pointing to continued growth from these markets. This has helped to readdress any shortfall experienced from the UK market, and so it will be important to capitalise and build key relationships there. We are also working harder to retain our Donnelly Troy & Associates have extensive existing customer experience providing professional base, and continue to promote Ireland as a Structural and Civil Engineering services in safe and friendly tourist a wide variety of sectors, including: destination.”




‘THE BORDERLANDS’ A range of supports have been customised by Failte Ireland for the tourism industry, focusing on four key areas to assist businesses through these uncertain times. These include driving business performance, building sales capability, getting Brexit ready and getting quality assured. Failte Ireland has also worked on developing key marketing strategies for Ireland, through ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’, the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ (in the Midlands Region, which was our cover story in the last issue of ‘Council Review’). “Now our suggestion is to develop and market what we could term the ‘Borderlands’, which would involve

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AILG DELEGATES MEET IN MONAGHAN Snapshots of some of the delegates and speakers at the AILG Autumn Training Seminar which took place at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan Town on 25-26 October.

Cllrs John O’Leary, Jason Murphy, Orla Leyden, Tom Cronin and James Tobin.

Cllrs Frank McBrearty, Nigel Dineen and Christy Curtin.

Seated (l-r): Cllrs Deirdre Forde, Mary Sheils, Grainne Maguire and Mrs Mae McKeon; Standing (l-r): Cllrs Dermot Lacey, Kieran Dennison, Seosamh O Cualain and Guss O’Connell.

Cllrs John Browne, Tom Farrell, Colm Murray, Fintan Brett, Padraig Brady, Joe Fox and Mick Cahill.

Cllrs Kevin Murphy, Joe Neville, Cormac Devlin and Mary Fayne.

Cllrs Niall Kelleher and Martin Miley with Liam Kenny, AILG. 58


Cllrs John Browne and Paul Ross.

Mrs Mary Pender pictured with Cllrs John Pender and Caroline Stanley.

LEADERSHIP IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE: AILG President Cllr Luie McEntire pictured with Louise Duffy (left), Glaslough Tidy Towns Committee (Glaslough was voted National Tidy Towns Tidiest Village 2018) and (right) with Cllr Jimmy Moloney, Listowel Tidy Towns, following their presentations to delegates on the second day of the the AILG Autumn Training Seminar.

GOING THE DISTANCE…RESILIENCE FOR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES: South Dublin County Council’s Cllr Kenneth Egan pictured with AILG Directors Tom Moylan and Liam Kenny. Cllr Egan brought along his silver medal which he won in the Beijing Olympics 2008.

Cllrs Tommy Annesley, Deirdre Donnelly and Pat Fitzgerald. 59

Kevin Moore

Building Contractor Ltd. Kevin Moore Building Contractor Ltd is a privately owned company founded in 1979 by Kevin Moore, the company is one of the most well established building contractors in Co. Kilkenny. We have an excellent reputation for having delivered many successful projects in the Commercial, Industrial, Education, Conservation, Sports, Leisure and Residential Sectors. We are currently building a new 12 screen multiplex cinema in Kilkenny. Other Projects that we have completed include, Cillin Hill Mart, Danville Business Park, The Smithland’s Centre, Grennan College P.E. Hall, Gael Scoil Kilkenny, Kilkenny Education Centres, St. Mary’s Cathedral refurbishment & Chapter House Restaurant among others. Recent residential developments include, The Schoolyard, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny, Rosemount, Greenshill, Kilkenny, The Talbot’s Gate, Court & Grove development, Freshford Road, Kilkenny, Maudlin Court & Berkley Lawns, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. Our management team and site personnel are responsible for the success and respect we have achieved in the building industry. We have gained a reputation for our integrity, reliability, high quality & skilled craftsmanship with a commitment to health and safety. Through our long established team, we provide a full range of services to include Construction Design, Building, and Project Management. The Company prides itself on delivering the expectations of its clients. We have worked with many different architects, engineers and clients over the years, and in many cases, have completed repeat projects with the same design teams, and clients. We are committed to completing all our projects to the highest possible standard and to delivering projects on time, within budget and safely. We are members of Homebond and the Construction Industry Federation in Ireland. We are CIRI registered.

Kevin Moore Building Contractor Ltd. 25 Hebron Ind Est, Kilkenny Tel: 056 7762602 | Email: | Email:


AILG MEETS CCMA IN MAYNOOTH A meeting recently took place between a delegation from the City & County Management Association (CCMA) and the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG). It was the first such meeting to take place in the AILG office in Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

Pictured seated (l-r): Paula Butler, Local Government Management Agency (LGMA); Eugene Cummins, Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council; Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council; Peter Carey, Chief Executive of Kildare County Council; Waterford’s Cllr Damien Geoghegan, former AILG President; Longford’s Cllr Luie McEntire, AILG President; Tipperary’s Cllr Eddie Moran, AILG Executive; Leitrim’s Cllr Sinead Guckian, AILG Diversity Working Group. Standing (l-r): Tom Moylan and Liam Kenny, Directors of AILG.

Pictured (l-r): Liam Kenny, Director of AILG; Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Monaghan County Council; and Peter Carey, Chairperson of CCMA and Chief Executive of Kildare County Council. AILG EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE The new Executive Committee of the AILG for 2018-2019, pictured at the AILG Office in Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

Back Row (l-r): Liam Kenny, Director of AILG; Councillors Gerry McMonagle, Paddy Bourke, Brendan Thornhill, Gobnait Moynihan, Philip Breen, Paschal McEvoy, and Tom Moylan, Director of AILG. Front Row (l-r): Cllrs Tom Farrell, Mary Hanna Hourigan, Luie McEntire, Joe Fox, Damien Geoghegan and Damien Ryan. (Not in picture – Cllr Liam Callaghan)

Longford County Council’s Cllr Luie McEntire has succeeded Damien Geoghegan (Waterford City & County Council) as President of the AILG. 61

COMMUNITY IS OUR CORNERSTONE At U+I we believe in soulful regeneration over cut and paste development projects. That’s why we work closely with local communities to better understand their heritage, perspectives and ambitions. Together, we can challenge conventions to deliver value, unlock potential and leave Dublin with a legacy we can all be proud of.

Made possible by the power of partnership.


U+I PROJECTS CAPITAL REGENERATION UK development company U+I describes itself as a specialist regeneration developer and investor. And now with a number of ambitious investment and regeneration projects in Dublin, its newlyappointed Dublin Development Director Arlene Van Bosch talks to Lorraine Courtney about bringing their experience of Public Private Partnership to the fore as part of their plans to work and engage with local authorities here.


he dynamic company has, to its credit, an €8bn portfolio of complex, community-focused regeneration projects, primarily in what it likes to refer to as “underappreciated parts of cities”. Many of its developments are mixed-use projects, and it has close relationships with public bodies such as local councils in the United Kingdom. In Dublin U+I has undertaken some high-spec office refurbishment projects in recent years but now the company is focused on bringing its substantial regeneration expertise to Dublin City, where it believes there is lots of untapped potential for the right developer with a true appreciation for innovation, heritage and community. And Public Private Partnership (PPP) is U+I’s speciality in the UK, where the company has recently been appointed to the London Development Panel and the Transport for London Panel. From years of experience, U+I has a particular perspective on how to do PPP well and to deliver longterm socio-economic value to sites. And now with an eye firmly focused on the Irish market, Arlene Van Bosch has recently been appointed as U+I’s Dublin Development Director. A planning and development surveyor working in London for

The complete refurbishment of the landmark 69,000 sq. ft Donnybrook House in Dublin 4 – one of several successful U+I joint ventures – exemplifies the company’s belief in the potential of the market in Dublin. 63


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‘The Workshop’ at 8 Albert Embankment is a temporary community and events space in the heart of Lambeth. Alongside the London Fire Brigade pop-up museum, the space is home to charities, social and start-up enterprises and artists (including the Institute of Imagination and The Migration Museum). see where we could add value. We know it’s important to get people in to talk to us – engaging with the local community only enriches the design process,” she says. “Community involvement is really key to sustainable developments. U+I want to create places where people can work, sleep, socialise, that whole 24-hour culture. But we also really want to improve the quality of life that people have so we try to encourage neighbourly relations, and make sure that new businesses are in regular dialogues with each other. “If we were a developer that just parachuted in, it just wouldn’t be a success. People would be mistrustful of that approach. It’s only when you engage properly with local community that you create trust and we genuinely believe that we learn so much from this too,” she says. “Yes, we’re a business and have to drive a profit, but it is people in the community that will go and buy a loaf of bread in the new shop etc, so we always have to have residents in mind.”

15 years, she has been with U+I since 2010, working across a wide variety of different projects. IRELAND’S LINEAR APPROACH “I was quite fortunate to be given this opportunity to lead the company’s ambitious plans within the Dublin market. I’ve been here two months. I’m leading a growing team and we will expand further as we acquire more sites. “In Ireland it’s typically a relatively linear approach that’s taken to PPP, but U+I takes a more flexible, open book policy from the very beginning. It’s a much more collaborative approach to PPP – including through the master planning phase,” she says. U+I has a significant amount of experience working with local authorities and public bodies in delivering regeneration projects and its strategic approach centres on a number of strands. These include the provision of innovative housing solutions; community-led urban regeneration and public partnership projects. “We would like to work with local authorities here in Dublin now. We’re ready to start engaging and understanding where there are sites in distress that would allow us to bring our experience of PPP to the fore,” says Van Bosch.

LONDON PARTNERSHIPS Van Bosch worked on the Deptford Project in London in partnership with the London Burrough of Lewisham. Located next door to Deptford Train Station, the multi-award-winning project has been transformed from a derelict two-acre site into a new space for the local community. Deptford was a neglected corner of London, overlooked by developers and blighted by social problems. Where others saw decay and decline, U+I saw potential. A plan was conceived for a

LOCAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT U+I’s approach is quite unique. “We make sure we have an immediate impact in the community and are always looking to 65

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FACTFILE – ARLENE VAN BOSCH In her new role as Development Director for Dublin, Arlene Van Bosch will oversee the planning and execution of U+I’s vision for Dublin city. In this role, she will drive the company’s significant Irish commercial and partnership-led developments from a new base in Dublin, which has been expanding since U+I arrived here in 2012. Hailing from Northern Ireland, she has worked with U+I in London for almost a decade and will now bring both her industry experience and local knowledge to drive U+I’s presence and projects in the Dublin market. Arlene will be responsible for translating concept into reality on a number of major mixed-use projects in the city. As a member of U+I’s Executive Committee, Arlene has been the driving force behind several major development and regeneration schemes in the UK; most notably the major €108m St Mark’s Square project in Bromley, where she was instrumental in leading the significant funding and planning efforts. A ‘Woman of the Year’ nominee at the 2016 Building Awards in the UK, Arlene is recognised by her peers throughout the industry for her work with local communities and local authorities throughout the development process, along with her skills in communication and delivery, something she looks forward to bringing to the Dublin market.

The Old Tree Café at FIELD in Brighton - the diverse workspace unites like-minded people, organisations and businesses to create a community that thrives on the free exchange of ideas between creative innovators and inventors.

The ‘Deptford Project Café’ is a 1960s converted train carriage, which involved cleaning up a series of railway arches and letting them out on temporary license to a group of creative business start-ups and curating community activity around a temporary market place. mixed-use community that would celebrate the unique character of Deptford and, thereby, be a catalyst for regeneration. The completion of the scheme is the product of an ambitious partnership with Lewisham Council to breathe new life into the historical railway arches, which over 100 years ago stored passengers’ carriages and horses. What was previously an unused area of Deptford has now become a new destination for independent retail in London. “It contained the oldest surviving railway in the UK but the derelict site was a bit of a blight on the high street,” says Van Bosch. “We opened it up and turned one of the train carriages into a café. We then invited locals to come and talk about our plans, taking a very grassroots approach.”


Boyle Construc.on  was  formed  in  1984  by  brothers  Donal  and  Eugene  Boyle.  Our  primary  focus  is  on  delivering   ‘Excellence’  through  adherence  to  our  ‘Working  Principles’  of  Client  Focus,  Staff  Development,  Communica.on,   Innova.on  and  providing  a  Safe  Working  Environment  for  all  and  are  firmly  established  as  one  of  the  leading   Contractor’s  in  the  North  West.        


HELPING LOCAL BUSINESS “We worked to bring the site up to standard and relocated entrepreneurial businesses within the arches. We then provided 132 homes on the site; on the ground floor of the residential building we set up commercial spaces, and also provided a new public realm around the entrance. “If we made above a certain profit we agreed to share with local authority, and at any point in time they could ask us to run over the figures with them,” she says. “We’re a trustworthy partner and we’re always upfront. “The development had a ripple effect on the high street but we knew that it wasn’t the place for high street chains. Instead we put in local retailers and only let the units to people who lived within three-mile radius.” U+I, she says, subsidised rents on commercial units and helped businesses with the skills to get up and running. “It was very successful, unlocking the value of the public land and delivering real benefit to the local area. It’s a good example of what we can do very well,” says Van Bosch. FOOTPRINT IN DUBLIN EXPANDED Eoin Condren is Director of Joint Ventures for Dublin and the pair will work closely together. Having expanded the company’s Dublin footprint significantly since 2012, U+I have a number of investment and regeneration projects ongoing, such as Donnybrook House, and ‘The Hive’ in Sandyford Industrial Estate. They have also just received confirmation from An Bord Pleanala for the Carrisbrook House site on Haddington Road in Ballsbridge. “Between the three live projects and picking up new opportunities, we’re quite busy and active in the market at the moment. “My day–to-day focus is on acquisitions, bringing our creativity and audacity to the fore and pushing boundaries. When we genuinely believe that an area needs a more radical approach to design, we’re not afraid of that,” says Van Bosch.

DUBLIN’S HOUSING CRISIS HAMPERS EFFORTS TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN TALENT Dublin’s housing crisis is seriously hampering efforts by the business sector to recruit and retain talent in the city, according to recent research commissioned by U+I, which surveyed over 100 senior hiring managers representing large national and international employers in the capital. Despite the majority saying that well paid, high-quality jobs are the main attraction to working and living in Dublin, 78% of respondents claimed that the high cost of accommodation was the single greatest obstacle in attracting talent to the city. According to the Housing Availability, Recruitment and Retention in Dublin research, three quarters of those surveyed said that the limited availability of accommodation was hindering their efforts to recruit, as many young professionals and single middle-income earners are priced out of the Dublin market. For the first time, this new research quantifies the challenges posed by the housing crisis to Dublin’s position as an attractive location for international talent. As attracting and retaining talent is the number one issue, U+I chief executive Matthew Weiner said the findings of the research were a real concern. “Diversity, next generation talent and creativity are essential ingredients for a thriving modern city and the housing market needs to adapt and respond to ensure that Dublin maintains a competitive labour market and vibrant culture,” he added. To address this issue, U+I’s Compact Living model proposes purpose-built, selfcontained, rental-only homes to maximise available space and cater to the needs of single-person households. “Compact living is just one example of a broader suite of solutions, alongside mixed-use regeneration, which we believe is required to tackle the housing supply challenges faced by Dublin.” Compact Living homes are 24 sq. m. apartment homes, which are purpose-built, self-contained and rental-only. These homes are designed to maximise the available space, containing everything required to allow residents to live in comfort and in privacy including kitchen, en-suite facilities, washing machines and storage. They contain the benefit of access to shared spaces when required, such as private dining rooms, laundromats, onsite gym and workspaces. According to Weiner, these homes cater primarily for young professionals, keyworkers and individual middle-income earners looking for a foothold in a thriving capital city, and can play a key role, alongside wider mixed-use developments, in solving Dublin’s housing crisis. When briefed on U+I’s compact living development proposals, more than three in four believe that these apartments would be attractive to potential employees. While the concept is yet to be rolled out fully on the ground, equipped and functioning units have been constructed in prototype form at U+I’s London offices. The research reports are available at


8FSFTFFLJOHQBSUOFSTIJQTXJUI -PDBM"VUIPSJUJFTUPEFMJWFS OFXIPNFT Clúid Housing is an Approved Housing Body (AHB) that works in partnership with Local Authorities to deliver homes to people on housing waiting lists. 6

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Clúid Housing continues to work in close partnership with local authorities across Ireland in the delivery of housing units under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000. This approach was developed to ensure an adequate supply of housing for all sectors of the current and future population.


he inclusion of Part V in the Planning and Development Act 2000 was a game-changer for the housing market. Introduced 18 years ago, the Act required the vast majority of housing developments to comply with obligations to make a percentage of the properties available for social housing. Some of the first Part V agreements with local authorities in the Dublin area delivered houses at Laburnum Square in Pelletstown in West Dublin and in Belarmine in Stepaside, South Dublin. This allowed the transfer of 100 social rented apartments to Clúid Housing and the Housing Association for Integrated Living (HAIL). These projects are fine examples of what can be achieved through collaboration and consultation. Clúid’s New Business Manager, Antoinette Hayden, said: “Clúid prides itself in the management of Part V units which have integrated so successfully into the overall development and have provided safe, secure, comfortable and well-managed homes to its customers.” Clúid has over 600 Part V units in mixed tenure schemes across Ireland, which range from two to 54 units in a housing development. Hayden continued: “Clúid has the expertise and experience of managing mixed tenure developments which provide long-term sustainable housing. The most successful Part V schemes are when the Approved Housing Body (AHB) has input in design and specification at an early stage of planning.”

Some of the first Part V agreements with the local authorities in the Dublin area delivered houses at Laburnum Square in Pelletstown in West Dublin and Belarmine in Stepaside, South Dublin. “The mix of units – 46 apartments in a mix of one, two and three bedroom simplex apartments and three bedroom duplex apartments – encourages a range of ages and family sizes, allowing Clúid to meet a variety of housing needs from Dublin City Council’s Housing List. Each dwelling provides a good quality apartment with some level of private outdoor space.” HOUSING MANAGEMENT STANDARDS Another example of successful collaboration at an early stage of planning for a Part V scheme is the development at Belarmine Hall in Stepaside. This was a housing development of 64 units, delivered by Clúid in partnership with Castlethorn Construction. Clúid was involved in the initial design and specification and advised the developer of a housing mix that would be sustainable into the future to ensure the highest housing management standards. Hayden concluded: “Collaboration and pre-planning consultation allows Clúid, the Department of Housing and developers to deliver long-term, sustainable housing, and benefits all involved. We look forward to future collaboration on these projects and to the continued success of integrating Part V units into overall larger housing developments.”

SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT In the early 2000s, Castlethorn Construction approached Clúid Housing at a very early stage of construction for Laburnum Square, Pelletstown, Dublin 15, which was completed in 2007. As with all large private developments, Castlethorn Construction, under the Part V obligation, had to provide a percentage of social and affordable housing within the housing development. On agreement with Dublin City Council, Clúid began working in partnership with Castlethorn Construction on issues such as location, design, specification and management of the proposed social rented dwellings. Hayden said: “This collaborative approach was vital for all parties involved in ensuring that the Department of Housing’s Social Housing Design Guide and Clúid’s Design Guide were adhered to in the design of the development. It also ensured that Clúid’s experiences and aspirations for the proposed apartment complex were taken on board by both the developer and architect.

For more information about the Part V scheme contact Antoinette Hayden


Building Homes, Building Communities



STRATEGIC SCHEME TO DEVELOP LAND BANKS The strategic development of major landbanks across Fingal, which have the potential to deliver more than 2,000 homes over the next five to ten years, is to be spearheaded by a new programme office established by Fingal County Council called ‘Project Talamh’.


roject Talamh recognises the important role that publicly-owned land has to play in providing affordable housing and quality urban neighbourhoods. It brings together a multi-disciplinary team of housing, planning, architecture, procurement and project management staff from within the Council. Project Talamh is focussed on three major land banks, namely Ballymastone in Donabate, Church Fields in Mulhuddart and Cappagh Finn in Finglas, which have the potential to deliver in excess of 2,000 homes over the next five to 10 years. Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, is leading the Project Board of senior management officials in providing strategic direction to Project Talamh and approving policy and project decisions to advance housing delivery. “Fingal County Council recognises the challenges of mobilising land development in both public and private ownership in the current housing crisis, with the associated constraints of complex procurement and planning processes,” he noted. “Fingal is responding to this challenge by bringing staff from different disciplines together to work as a team to streamline work processes and to bring together knowledge and experience from different disciplines to realise successful projects,” he added.

Fingal County Council is planning to strategically develop major landbanks in the region through its new programme office called ‘Project Talamh’ end of 2019. This site has the potential to deliver 1,000-1,200 homes with an intended mix of 60% private units, 20% private discounted units and 20% social units. The Council commenced procurement on this project in October 2018 through the Competitive Dialogue Procedure and anticipates a contract award by the end of 2019. The Church Fields site in, Mulhuddart, comprises 37 hectares of land, of which 25 hectares is the main development area. A Land Management Plan the potential to support approximately 1,000 homes with a proposed tenure mix of social units, private discounted units, cost rental units and older people’s accommodation and associated community facilities. The council has applied to fund the infrastructure delivery through the Serviced Sites Fund and Project Talamh is currently appraising the site to determine a cost-effective approach to development. Regarding the third site at Cappagh Finn in Finglas, the council owns eight hectares of land located between Finglas village and the M50 and it is expected that approximately 200 mixed tenure units can be delivered. The site requires significant remediation and funding has been sought under the Serviced Sites Fund, which if successful, could see construction starting on the site by the end of 2019.

SITE DEVELOPMENT MODEL The Project Talamh Programme Office analyses approaches to site development through economic and financial models, and co-ordinates and manages the development of these lands. The Office tailors the approach to each site and reports to the Project Board on progress against key milestones from site identification, project specification, procurement, planning to construction. Reid continued: “The council is focussed on delivering sustainable mixed tenure residential development on council lands. Key to the delivery of housing is the advance or parallel delivery of social and physical infrastructure. Funding from Central Government’s LIHAF and Serviced Sites Fund initiatives are instrumental in providing supporting infrastructure to progress housing delivery on Multi-Unit Housing Development Sites (MUDHS).” In relation to Ballymastone, the council owns 35 hectares of residentially-zoned land in Donabate, between Donabate Village and Portrane Demesne. The development of this land is facilitated by the construction of a LIHAF funded distributor road, which is currently under construction and due for completion before the 73

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SOCIAL HOUSING PLANS FINALISED FOR FEAKLE Work on Clare County Council’s new social housing scheme in Feakle represents the first such development in the area since 1973. Funded by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government under the Rebuilding Ireland Programme, the development consists of a mix of twobed and three-bed units across a range of 13 single and two-storey houses.


lare County Council signed a contract with Custy Construction Ltd to take possession of the site towards the end of October with the main works starting in early November following lodgment of the commencement notice to Building Control. Since then it has gone through extensive public and department consultation and includes a new pedestrian way linking the main street to the school and playground. Mayor of Clare, Councillor Michael Begley, said, “The Feakle scheme provides a great Pictured after the contract was signed for the new social housing development in Feakle (l-r): Cllr opportunity to address the Gerry Flynn, Chair of the Social Development SPC; Ruth Hurley, Senior Executive Architect; Cllr housing needs of the village and Michael Begley, Mayor of Clare; Anne Haugh, Clare’s Director of Social Development; Aidan surrounding area. The scheme Healy, Reddy Architecture and Urbanism; Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council; will provide housing for families Darragh Lynch and Dermot Custy, Custy Construction Ltd; Siobhán McNulty, Clare County and elderly tenants enabling them Council’s Senior Executive Officer in Housing; Mairead Corbett; Housing Administrative Officer; to live in close proximity to the and Diane Keane, Executive Housing Technician. village and amenities.” Councillor Gerry Flynn, Chair of the Social Development funding or development opportunities arise in the future. The SPC, commented, “This is a positive step in the ongoing addition of a link between the Main Street, playground and programme of delivering housing schemes in an effort to reduce school will enhance the village amenity while providing muchthe social housing waiting list. The design, accessibility and needed housing in the village centre,” he added. usability of previous social housing developments in County Anne Haugh, the Council’s Director of Social Development, Clare have been of the highest standard and I am sure this new said it’s one of several capital construction projects for the scheme will be welcomed by applicants on the Council’s waiting council, including other sites in Shannon, Ennis, Clonlara and list for social housing.” Quilty. “There are currently nine housing capital build approved COMMUNITY CO-OPERATION IS KEY projects in Clare with a minimum of 144 social homes being Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said the delivered directly by Clare County Council over the next two to co-operation and involvement of the community and elected three years. An additional 84 social homes are being delivered members has been “key” to the development of the scheme’s in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs),” Haugh design and layout. noted. “The local community, council and local residents were The design team for the Feakle scheme was led by Reddy consulted at preliminary design stage to develop the brief for the Architecture and Urbanism and also included P. Coleman site and also to create a strategy for remaining local authority & Associates, Birmingham king quantity surveyor and Don lands in order to provide a potential vision for the lands as O’Malley and Partners M&E. 76


JOINT VENTURE INITIATIVE TO STIMULATE HOUSING SUPPLY IN SOUTH DUBLIN South Dublin County Council has now agreed on the joint venture development of 975 homes on 72 acres of council lands at Kilcarbery in Clondalkin, Dublin 22, following a detailed master planning and competitive tender process.


he mixed tenure development which will include 294 social housing units (30% of the development) is the first of its kind envisaged as part of the major urban sites initiative under “Rebuilding Ireland”. Prior to tender, South Dublin County Council (SDCC) invested over six months and €500,000 on detailed advance studies including site investigations, archaeological investigations, ecology and environmental impact studies and traffic impact analysis. This is part of what the council labels the “de-risking process” which gives potential joint venture partners confidence in the context of planning and associated risk analysis. The architectural framework plan established Drawings for a combination of social housing (orange) and private housing an overall design strategy for the site to guide (blue) units at Kilcarbery. the development of detailed designs thereby ensuring compliance with National and Local Development plan The tender process, which commenced in April 2017, standards. involved the shortlisting of an initial nine submissions down to four who engaged with the Council in competitive dialogue before the successful tender was announced. CONSORTIUM OF BUILDERS The successful bid by Adwood Ltd is a consortium of established Dublin builders Adroit and Maplewood. Adwood Ltd will pay the council €38m and deliver 294 social housing units at competitive rates over four years. In return for state support through the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) of €2m, the developer has also committed to delivering 50 units at prices discounted to the market. The 681 private houses include a comprehensive range of three and four-bed houses as well as 272 one, two and three-bed apartments. The tender also includes an 847 sq. m. community building which will be handed over to South Dublin County Council. As much of the master planning and pre-planning studies have been completed Adwood Ltd has committed to securing planning and being on site by early summer of 2019.

An artist’s impression of the new Kilcarbery housing development in Clondalkin, Dublin 22. 77




LOWDOWN ON LIMERICK’S REBUILDING PROGRAMME Limerick has many strengths that make it a highly attractive location in which to live and work, for businesses to operate in, for students to study in and for tourists to visit. Limerick City and County Council is at the forefront of enabling this growth and delivering on its social housing targets.


nder the National Planning Framework 2040, it is planned that half of the overall national growth in terms of population, employment and housing will be targeted at Ireland’s five cities that includes Limerick city. With the Treaty City scheduled to grow by at least 50 per cent by 2040, Limerick City and County Council (LCCC) is at the forefront of enabling this growth and delivering on its social housing targets. Tackling a current housing waiting list with 2,607 applicants (as at September 2018) is a challenge especially where the construction industry is emerging slowly from a low baseline. The Council is responding to all avenues for delivery including turnkeys, partnering with the Approved Housing Body (AHB) sector and supporting the local and national supply-chain of volumetric builders.

Pictured at the opening of a mixed-use housing scheme of 81 new homes SOCIAL HOUSING STRATEGY on Lord Edward Street earlier this year (developed on the site of the former Limerick Clothing Factory) – Minister Eoghan Murphy was presented with Under the Social Housing Strategy 2020, LCCC’s target a book ‘A Stitch in Time’ by two former factory employees. Commissioned for delivery was 753 new social homes during 2015by the Council, the book chronicles the social and cultural history of the 2017. By 31 December 2017, the Council successfully Factory and its contribution to the life of Limerick city. delivered 2,694 additional tenancies through the following funding streams: • New-Build (General Housing and Regeneration); use activation. The newly-established Housing Delivery Office • Acquisitions and Voids (CAS, SHCEP, Part V, General Housing) of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government • Leasing (RAS, HAP, CALF) (DHPLG) has greatly assisted in the assembly and development of some of the region’s largest land banks. PLANNING ‘REBUILDING IRELAND’ In addition, the €200 million LIHAF funding was Under the current Rebuilding Ireland programme, an overall enthusiastically welcomed and LCCC received approval for target of 1,365 social homes is required to be delivered for 2018 a major project in Mungret (a sustainable urban extension to to 2021 through a three-pronged blended approach of new build Limerick city) to unlock the potential for 2,700 homes on 80 (67%), acquisition (20%) and leasing (13%). hectares over the long-term. For 2018, a specific target of 251 homes has been given to LCCC for delivery by the year-end. LCCC has a strong project SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES management ethos as schemes move from initial capital appraisal The success of the Rebuilding Ireland programme is dependent stage to housing completion to ensure that projects are delivered on continued support and commitment by the DHPLG and the within time, cost, scope and quality requirements. As of 12 Approved Housing Sector, elected members, the private sector October 2018, 204 homes have been completed with over 100 and the general public. homes in progress for delivery by year-end. LCCC is delivering much-needed homes in safe and sustainable communities. This is evidently now achievable but ACCELERATING DELIVERY needs continued ongoing commitment. Rebuilding Ireland is In parallel with the build-buy-lease approach, LCCC is bringing a golden opportunity for the physical, social and economic forward council-owned land banks for mixed-tenure and mixedbetterment of Limerick. 79

Collaboration and Commitment Hits The Road

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, County Hall, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland Comhairle Contae Dhún LaoghaireRáth an Dúin, Halla an Chontae, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Átha Cliath, Éire

Tel: 01 205 4700 Fax: 01 280 6969 Web: DunLaoghaireRathdownCountyCouncil



HOUSING DELIVERY IN DÚN LAOGHAIRERATHDOWN Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s Housing Department is on course to complete 650 homes by the end of 2018, and is now on target to deliver 1,563 social housing units between 2018-2021.


ith its main priority to continue the provision of suitable, cost-effective, good quality accommodation and housing support for people in need of housing, the delivery of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s core objectives has been achieved by focusing on a number of options provided for under Rebuilding Ireland such as direct build, acquisitions, void management, Part V, long-term leasing, private rental, and the ‘Buy and Renew’ scheme.

Direct Build – to date in 2018, 43 new homes have been completed and allocated which includes Georges Place, Dún Laoghaire (12 rapid build dwellings), Temple Fitzgerald Park in Dún Laoghaire. Road, Blackrock (3 homes), Pottery at Churchtown, which are currently undergoing major Road, Dún Laoghaire (4 homes), refurbishment and are due for completion by the end of this year. The Brambles, Sallynoggin (10 homes), and Rochestown Phase 3, Sallynoggin (14 homes). A further 58 dwellings are due to be Leasing, RAS and HAP: To date a further 240 homes have completed in the next few weeks at Dunedin, Monkstown (14 been provided through Leasing, RAS and HAP. Following its turnkey homes) and Rosemount Court, Dundrum (44 homes). implementation in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown in March 2017, the Fitzgerald Park, Dún Laoghaire, a development of 50 dwellings is HAP Scheme alone has created 378 tenancies for our housing on its way to completion by the end of 2018/early 2019. applicants through the private rental market. Of these 212 were created in 2018. Part V: The steady increase in construction in the county has, to date, also added 19 homes to the social housing stock by way of Accolades: The Council has a strong record of delivering high Part V, while a further 28 homes are scheduled to be completed quality, energy efficient and comfortable homes in established before the end of this year. residential areas with access to amenities and services. This is evident from the awards recently received for some Buy and Renew Scheme: In 2017, the Council acquired a developments, including: small development of 12 vacant homes under this Scheme


Engineering Services For light industrial and commercial projects we provide: Site Selection: We have a proven track record for locating the most suitable sites tailored to the specific developments, whether greenfield or serviced. Preliminary Design: We will liaise closely with the client in order to establish their requirements. Feasibility Studies / Budgeting: Drawing on our experience of contractor rates for building works, and knowledge of the commercial property market. Planning Permission: We can produce in-house all documents necessary to obtain planning permission and ensure compliance with conditions, etc. Fire Safety Certificates: We have in-house capability to obtain Fire Certs for all types of Industrial Buildings. Detailed Design: Structural design, underground services, site finishes, etc. to approved for construction stage. Project Supervisor Design Process: Preliminary Health & Safety Plans done in-house. We will advise on general safety aspects concerning the project. Tendering & Cost Control: We issue tenders to a number of competent and competitive builders who are experienced in the requirements of this sector. Construction Management & Supervision: Development of project schedules, site visits and meetings, etc. Certification: In-house certification of finished project to planning permission and building regulations. Mapping & Conveyancing: All engineering documentation to allow acquisition, leasing or sale of property, including mapping and Certificates of Identity.

Allen Barber Consulting Engineers, Deanrock Business Park, Togher, Cork.

Email: | Tel: 021 4319291 | Fax: 021 4840832


* The 12 Rapid Build homes at George’s Places achieved a Silver Certificate from the Irish Green Building Council this year registering the highest score so far for multi-unit housing development. * Phase 2 of the Rochestown House Development won an award for Best Sustainable Project at the RIAI awards in 2017. This scheme, the final phase of which was completed this year, has provided a total of 60 high quality new homes for older persons, many of which were downsized from larger properties. * The Mews in Sallynoggin, delivered in December 2017, was recognised as Best Sustainable Project in 2018. This project is A1 Building Energy Rated social housing and is in keeping with the Council’s ethos of providing Rosemount development in Dundrum. age-friendly, bright, spacious, comfortable accommodation, with superb indoor air. due to be implemented here, was progressed by the Council, the Housing Agency and two Approved Housing Bodies Downsizing: This initiative, which is actively promoted by (Respond and Túath) who are working together to deliver the Housing Department, provides opportunities for existing 155 social and affordable dwellings. An application has been Council tenants who are in properties too large for their needs to submitted for funding under the Serviced Sites Fund to the downsize to a more manageable sized property while continuing DHPLG towards the provision of enabling infrastructure. The to live in their local community. tender to advance this project was published in August 2018 Since 2016 a total of 46 tenants have downsized. The Mews and it’s expected that works will commence in early 2019. is one of the Council’s developments, which achieves the goal • Abbey View House – this scheme of 11 dwellings, to be to make good use of limited available sites as well as supporting developed on a site provided by the Council—is at tender their downsizing policy and it has freed up larger housing units, stage. which are being re-allocated to families. • Loughlinstown Wood – this scheme, on a site provided The Council, which continues to implement all Government by the Council—is being developed by two co-operative initiatives including the Repair and Leasing Scheme and the housing bodies and will provide eight co-operative owned Rebuilding Ireland’s Home Loans Scheme, approved 17 loans in dwellings and 34 co-operative social dwellings. The project principle for first-time buyers up to the end of October (to a value is due to go out to tender in the near future. of €3,863,767) helping them to purchase a home of their choice. SOCIAL HOUSING PRIORITISED Council-owned Sites: The Council is examining and carrying out According to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, it feasibility studies on a number of its sites with a view to bringing will continue to prioritise the provision of social housing and these to the planning process as quickly as possible. For example, continue to work in partnership with its stakeholders to facilitate the Shanganagh Castle site will provide 540 new social and the continued growth in the number of homes being provided in affordable homes. A detailed masterplan is being prepared for this the county. site and it is intended to submit an application for funding under According to the Council, Cherrywood SDZ is one of the the Serviced Sites Fund to the Department of Housing, Planning biggest and most ambitious projects currently in the State. and Local Government (DHPLG). Development on this new town at the foot of the Dublin The Council continues to work in partnership with the Mountains overlooking Dublin Bay started in 2016. DHPLG, the Housing Agency and Approved Housing Bodies The entire development is expected to be completed within to deliver much-needed homes. And a number of new a five-eight-year timeframe, with the provision of c. 8,000 homes developments are due to come on-site soon. These include: and accommodation for 20,000 residents, including c. 2,000 • Enniskerry Road – an affordable cost rental pilot scheme, social housing tenants. 83

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DCC REGENERATES 100 ‘DREAM HOMES’ AT DOLPHIN HOUSE Dublin’s largest apartment scheme – the regeneration of 100 homes at Dolphin House – has been completed at a cost of €26 million; 37 of the homes are newly built, with the remaining 63 flats refurbished under Dublin City Council’s ‘Deep Retrofit’ programme. The new build and the retrofitted homes achieved A2 and A3 BER ratings.


he 1950s estate of 400 flats near the Coombe Hospital has been kept intact. in Dolphin’s Barn is the largest remaining council flat The residents devised a number of innovative ideas to ensure complex in the State. It was designated for demolition and long-term sustainable ownership of the new homes. A shining redevelopment more than a decade ago, and the council example of this is that the surnames of the existing families have had hoped to pursue the project as a Public Private Partnership been intrinsically inscribed into the brickwork at two strategic (PPP), but the economic crash scuppered those plans. locations. The regeneration is an exemplary example of tenant-led These are a great source of pride for all residents who area renewal. The 100 homes were designed and built using appreciate their local heritage and lineage being recorded in the principles of community-based, tenant-led approaches to stone forever. The new residents also have play areas, green areas estate regeneration, ownership and management. The Dolphin and landscaped gardens to avail of. House Regeneration Board worked in partnership with Dublin City Council to successfully deliver these homes. Dublin City Council appointed one of its most senior, creative and affable architects, Stefan Lowe to the project. He prioritised this regeneration project and insisted on attending all the local meetings and the residents were delighted when he agreed to personally develop the plans himself. As a result the residents have now got their “forever dream home” while the The regeneration of the 1950s estate near the Coombe Hospital in Dolphin’s Barn is an exemplary example of tenant-led area renewal. existing community 85


Flood Protection – Enhanced Environment Civic Amenity – New Cycle Track Comhairle Cathrach Bhaile Átha Cliath TIONSCADAIL TUILTE AGUS RANNÁN UM CHREAT-TREOIR UISCE, Dublin City Council, Flood Projects & Water Framework Directive Division



REDEVELOPING ESTATES Dublin City Council has an area office led by the very experienced, personal and effective Gerard O’Donoghue, based in the estate who has organised the movement logistics for new tenants. Gerry has been committed to this regeneration for the last 10 and insisted he was not going to retire until the 100 homes were built and the plans agreed to build Tony Flynn, DCC Executive Manager. further replacement homes, a community centre and a public park as part of the redevelopment of the estate at increased densities. While the refurbishment work was expensive, the result has been high-quality low-energy use buildings. Tony Flynn, DCC Executive Manager, said the blocks were stripped back to their skeletons to allow for the replacement of all sewerage systems, drains, water and electricity services. Sabrina Lynch, who will move in to one of the refurbished flats in the coming days with her two children, said it represents a huge improvement in living standards.

Statement of Achievement • Regeneration of 100 homes at Dolphin House is completed. • 37 of the homes are newly built, with the remaining 63 flats having been refurbished under Dublin City Council’s “deep retrofit” programme. The new build and the retrofitted homes achieved A2 and A3 BER ratings. • The enhanced quality of life and transformative effect the new homes will have on the residents who have lived and experienced life in the former flats. • The new development is a high-quality, low maintenance, low-energy and attractive development. • The homes were designed collaboratively by the inhouse city council architect, local area housing office and the Dolphin House Regeneration Board. • The Council and the community are committed to building More and Better homes on the site. • The existing community have been kept intact during the regeneration process. • International best practise in energy efficiency, essential infrastructure, green space and sustainability have been incorporated. • The vital roles of statutory agencies play in the regeneration (Health, Education, Social Protection and Justice) are part of a long-term commitment by Dublin City Council and Dolphin House Regeneration Board to ensure sustainable regeneration.

The residents devised a number of innovative ideas to ensure long-term sustainable ownership of the new homes. 87

I’m delighted that the regeneration of 100 homes at Dolphin House is now complete. This is a superb example of what Dublin City Council and the community can achieve through collaboration” – Brendan Kenny, DCC Assistant Chief Executive.


GMC Utilities Group provide a complete service and turnkey solution to the utility and civil engineering industries. The Group has constructed major projects such as the non-domestic water metering project for the greater Dublin area, water leak detection and management services, road and infrastructural projects, railway station platform extensions, water supply and sewerage schemes, gas network and distribution projects, water network and distribution and rehabilitation projects, electricity network enhancements, utility diversion projects, renewable energy projects and solutions, telecoms and broadband network projects.

澔澔濆濙濗濙濢濨澔濕濢濘澔濩濤濗濣濡濝濢濛澔濤濦濣濞濙濗濨濧澮澳 澳 澳 澳 澔澔



 These works included the upgrade of the utility

services for the connection of buildings in Sir John

 Rogerson’s Quay, Windmill Lane, Creighton Street  

and Hanover Street East. In addition, the upgrading of the surrounding streets with modern granite paving and cobbles as well as the upgrade of the architectural landscaping and street furniture.



This project is to replace five kilometres of ageing water mains in Swords, County Dublin from Cooks Road/Forest Road to the junction with the Dublin Road / Main Street then along Main Street and North Street and onwards to Lissenhall, ending near the Swords north M1 motorway junction. As of July ‘18, over three kilometres of water mains have been replaced.

We carry out preventative maintenance for the ESB electric vehicle charge points in all thirty-two counties. In addition, we provide an emergency on-call service to react to any technical issues or physical damage at a vehicle charge point.



These works will address odour issues during storm water events, reduce sewer flooding and upgrade the using GRP liners, in areas of Galway (William sewers Street, Shop Street, High Street, Cross Street, Augustine Street, and Flood Street) and Limerick (O’Connell Street, Catherine Street).澔     澻濁澷澔濉濈澽激澽濈澽澹濇澔澻濆濃濉濄澔  濚濠濖澳濛濢濨濦濘澳 濠  濜濟濟濘濡濡濜濨濠澳濕濨濦濜濡濘濦濦澳濣濔濥濞澳 濖濔濣濣濔濚濛澳濥濢濔濗澳  濗濨濕濟濜濡澳濄濄澳 濧濘濟濍澳 濃濄澳濋濉濇澳濌濋濃濃澳 濘濠濔濜濟濍澳 濜濡濙濢濓濚濠濖濜濥濟濁濖濢濠澳 

澻濕濧澔濨濣澔澷濙濢濨濙濦澔濄濕濦濗濧澠澔激濣濢濛濚濣濦濘澔 This project will deliver natural gas to the Centre Parcs site in Ballymahon, County Longford. The works, measuring twenty-one kilometres, will take place along regional and local roads from Ories to Tang, in County Westmeath and then along the N55 connecting in Rathmore.

澽濦濝濧濜澔濋濕濨濙濦澮澔濂濙濨濫濣濦濟澔濁濕濢濕濛濙濡濙濢濨澔 A design and build contract for eight Local Authority areas (Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin, DunLaoghaire Rathdown, Meath, Longford, Louth and Westmeath) for targeted leak reduction activities including: ƒ DMA Establishment and Validation ƒ Survey to Establish Baseline DMA leakage levels ƒ Find & Fix Water Leaks ƒ Water Network Pressure Management ƒ Water Mains Rehabilitation by open cut and trenchless technology techniques ƒ Renewal of Shared, Backyard and Lead Services ƒ First Fix Programme ƒ Water Network Rationalisation澔


FURTHER REGENERATION IN THE ROYAL COUNTY Three major urban regeneration projects in the Royal County town of Navan are set to receive €3.7 million in funding from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, under its Urban Regeneration Development Fund.


oney from the Urban Regeneration Development Fund will allow Meath County Council acquire sites which have been identified for regeneration and these include properties on Flowerhill, Abbey Road and the Kenstown Road in the largest town in County Meath. Damien English TD, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, recently paid tribute to Meath County Council’s work on the application process, in collaboration with local community and business interests. This work was done before submitting their priority projects for the locality to his Department following a call from Government for this Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF). “It is great news that Navan is being supported so positively under the URDF. As the largest town in County Meath it is important that we can continue to grow and develop in a sustainable and co-ordinated way. I am excited for the town and look forward to plans progressing under this Government initiative,” stated Minister English. The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) has an overall allocation of €2 billion to 2027 and the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government (DHPLG) has responsibility for implementation of the Fund. There are two categories of submission – ‘Category A’ for projects that are ready to go and ‘Category B’ to support initial development of projects (Master Planning/Feasibility) to ensure a pipeline of projects into the future. Meanwhile, the next round of Department funding under the Urban Regeneration Development Fund will open in February 2019.

Eastern & Midlands Regional Assembly for a share in €6,337,000 with 6 other projects. Navan’s Mayor Cllr JIm Holloway said he looked forward to the regeneration of Flower Hill, the development of brownfield sites within Navan and development of the highest architectural standards. “In this way we can provide for those who wish to live within Navan Town and close to services,” he added. ASHBOURNE PUBLIC REALM STRATEGY An additional €1.37m has been allocated to Ashbourne under the same scheme to support the implementation of the Ashbourne Public Realm Strategy, the construction of cycle facilities on the Milltown Road in Ashbourne and the construction of cycle facilities along the Main Street/R135 in Ashbourne (a ‘Category A’ project). In making the announcement Minister Regina Doherty said the funding will significantly support improvements in Ashbourne town centre and expand the existing cycle and pedestrian infrastructure. “More importantly, it’s an investment in the future of Ashbourne. This welcome injection of capital funding will help plans to boost the vitality of the town as a great place to live, work and visit, and also facilitate and foster growth in the town. Ashbourne has great potential and this investment will help us realise that,” Minister Doherty noted.

THREE APPROVED PROJECTS Navan Active Land Management A: €3,675,000: The Council will acquire sites which have been identified for regeneration and these include properties on Flowerhill, Abbey Road and the Kenstown Road, B: Flowerhill Regeneration: Approved in principle Eastern & Midlands Regional Assembly for a share in €6,337,000 with six other projects. C: Railway Street & County Archive: Approved in principle

(Source: Meath Chronicle)










National Ambulance Service (HSE).pdf 1 06/06/2017 13:07:00

Working Together National Ambulance Service






The National Ambulance Service (NAS) responds to over 300,000 ambulance calls each year, employs over 1,800 staff across 100 locations and has a fleet of circa 500 vehicles. In conjunction with its partners, the NAS transports approximately 40,000 patients via an Intermediate Care Service, co-ordinates and dispatches more than 800 aero medical / air ambulance calls and completes 600 paediatric and neonatal transfers. NAS also supports community first responder schemes in conjunction with CFR Ireland. The mission of the NAS is to serve the needs of patients and the public as part of an integrated health system, through the provision of high quality, safe and patient-centred services. This care begins immediately at the time that an emergency call is received and continues through to the safe treatment, transportation and handover of the patient to the clinical team at the receiving hospital or ED. According to NAS Director, Martin Dunne, the service will move towards a more multidimensional urgent and emergency care provision model which is safe and of the highest quality. This is in accordance with international trends, the desire to implement the

recommendations of the various reviews into the service and the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes whilst ensuring appropriate and targeted care delivery. Delivering high levels of care is the priority at the National Ambulance Service College where all NAS emergency medical technicians, paramedics and advanced paramedics receive training and on-going revalidation. The college has the latest training aids and simulators which ensures comprehensive training in a consistent manner for all staff. It also trains call taking and dispatch staff for the NEOC. Training is further provided for the Irish coastguard, the defence forces, An Garda SĂ­ochĂĄna, health care professionals and members of voluntary organisations. The range of courses includes patient care programmes, leadership courses, tutor development, major incident planning and preparation and driving. The college provides vocational and professional education and training to ambulance and associated personnel based on current best practice, to meet the strategic and operational needs of the National Ambulance Service and the Health Communities and Patients it serves.

Building a Better Health Service CARE COMPASSION TRUST LEARNING


HSE National Ambulance Service HQ, Rivers Building, Tallaght, Dublin 24 D24XNP2 T: 01 4631624/6 E: W: F: T:


RESPONDING TO SOCIAL HOUSING NEEDS Details of current construction projects around Ireland to build over 414 new social homes, in addition to 2,500 new units to be supplied over the next five years with an investment of €500 million, were unveiled at the recent launch of Respond’s 2017 Annual Report by the Minister for Housing.


4,300 units around the country with 3,600 homes at various stages of development from pre-planning to delivery. Respond also delivers supported temporary accommodation through the provision of four family hubs nationally.

pproved Housing Bodies, such as Respond, know the important contribution that they play in social housing delivery, noted Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD, at the recent launch of the housing association’s 2017 Annual Report. “Respond has the ambition to continue to play a role in Rebuilding Ireland…and is playing its part in addressing the current challenges; they’re expanding and improving the housing services they provide and are also significantly increasing the number of social housing homes that they are providing around the country,” he noted. Declan Dunne, CEO of Respond said: “Every day Respond Housing provides housing and homeless services to over 8,000 residents in lifetime homes and supported accommodation to 128 families in Dublin hubs. Right now, we’re on site in eight different locations in Ireland building over 414 new social homes. This is only the beginning of our development plans, which truly took off this year, and we will deliver at least 2,500 new social homes over the next five years with investment of €500 million.”

About Respond

€493 million

Vibrant Caring Integrated Communities

invested to date in Social Housing







8,717 tenants 99


156 estates nationally 3 new Family Hubs

families accommodated in Family Hubs



4,329 SOCIAL

Details of 414 new HOUSING UNITS social housing 2,957 3,256 2,504 We have a full portfolio of developments on different property types. site include: 81 homes in Castlegar, Galway 54 homes in Golflinks Road, Kilkenny 50 homes in Deansground, Kilkenny 33 homes in Letterkenny, Co Donegal 46 homes and 1 communal building in Fermoy, Co Cork 50 homes in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan 50 homes in Athy Co Kildare 42 homes in Knockgriffin, Co Cork 8 homes at Martanna House, Drumondra, Dublin 9 children (u18yrs) accommodated

adult females accommodated

adult males accommodated


CALLING ON COMMUNITIES Respond’s CEO noted that their core mission is to help alleviate the housing and homelessness crisis Ireland currently faces by providing what he described as “real on-the-ground solutions”. The housing association’s long-term aim, he added, is to provide lifetime social and affordable homes to a far greater proportion of the population, “bringing Ireland more into line with our European neighbours where people from all walks of life live in housing association developments side by side. “We will continue to build new homes and to build on our own stated ambitions. I would ask communities across Ireland to embrace new social housing or homeless services when they are announced for their area. Communities should know that they have nothing to fear and everything to gain when they welcome new residents to their area.” He noted that the Government, local authorities, Approved Housing Bodies and residents´ committees are all responsible for delivering their part of the response. “We will only truly solve this crisis if we view it as one that affects all of us”.

Other developments due to come on stream include: 155 homes at tender stage Enniskerry Road, Dublin 18 101 homes planning lodged for High Park, Dublin 9 RESPOND HEADLINES 8,717 tenants in lifetime homes, including 2,957 children 3 new Family Hubs opened in Dublin accommodating 99 families over the period 250 homes nearing completion this year 414 new social homes currently in construction 3,600 new social homes in development pipeline 2,500 new social homes to be supplied over the next five years

ABOUT RESPOND: Established in 1982, this Approved Housing Body (AHB) has built over 5,600 homes nationwide and employs over 130 people. It currently manages and owns in excess of



NEW RESOURCES NEEDED TO TACKLE RURAL HOMELESSNESS Peter McVerry Trust presented new research during the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore in September, which showed that the number of people experiencing homelessness outside of cities and urban areas is up by 30% this year alone.


A RURAL ‘RENT DENT’ Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, says “there’s a danger of the opportunity to make a real dent in rural homelessness being missed if a targeted and housing-led response is not implemented soon”. Peter McVerry Trust has recently expanded its work to 13 counties, which the charity says demonstrates the growing need for the emergency accommodation and housing support services it provides. It’s North-East Regional Office opened its doors in Drogheda, Co. Louth in September, to facilitate the tenancy sustainment, housing supports, and the Family Hub service the organisation provides in partnership with Louth County Council. Two years ago, the charity established its Mid-West Regional Office in Limerick City in December 2016, to provide housing with supports for people exiting homelessness, in partnership with Limerick City and County Council.

he national housing and homeless charity has claimed that new measures are now necessary to deal with the growing numbers of people experiencing homelessness in rural Ireland. Peter McVerry Trust is calling for a multi-agency taskforce on rural homelessness to be established to deliver a tailored response to the challenges of rural homelessness. The charity proposes that the agency would have representatives from a cross-section of relevant government departments, statutory agencies and voluntary organisations with expertise in the areas of housing, finance, rural affairs, health, education, justice, and children and youth affairs. The lack of support services available to those in some areas of rural Ireland has also been highlighted by the homeless charity, and it claims access to mental health supports and drug and alcohol treatment services in rural areas could also help prevent people from becoming homeless. EMPTY HOMES NETWORK Peter McVerry Trust is also calling for an Empty Homes Network for rural Ireland to be set up, to help implement the government’s National Vacant Housing Reuse Strategy and to deliver a housing-led response to solving rural homelessness. This agency would also focus on the best ways to revitalise rural towns and villages and benefit the existing communities by examining ways to counter the increasing levels of vacancy in both commercial and residential buildings in rural areas. Peter McVerry Trust continues to work with property owners and local authorities around the country to identify buildings that qualify for the government’s ‘Repair and Lease’ and ‘Buy and Renew’ schemes aimed at bringing vacant properties back into use for social housing.

Diarmuid Lyng, Gaelic Voices for Change; Francis Doherty, Peter McVerry Trust; Brian Smyth, Social Farming Ireland take part in Peter McVerry Trust’s panel discussion on rural homelessness at the National Ploughing Championships September 2018, chaired by Mairead Lavery of the Irish Farmers Journal.




With over 800 unit completions in 2018, FastHouse has rapidly established itself as one of the major players in offsite timber frame construction. It was this production capability and consistency in quality that resulted in the company securing the timber frame package for the new Center Parcs development in Longford.


& Son, FastHouse manufactured, delivered and installed 466 units, ranging from 915 to 2045 sq ft, within a 10-month period. Works were completed in October 2018, resulting in an overall manufacturing period of 21 manufacturing weeks over a 36week manufacturing schedule and averaging 14 weekly house installations. FastHouse’s rapid build methods can reduce build time by 11 weeks on design, manufacture, delivery and installation of the offsite timber frame systems. The wall panel products include hybrid, fully closed, traditional open and bonded SIP panels, while production capability is set to reach 1,800 housing units from 2020 onwards.

tephen Bell, FastHouse MD, said they’re delighted with the successful completion of the timber frame package for the Center Parcs project in Longford. “With demand increasing for offsite construction methods in Ireland, we are optimistic that FastHouse will be involved in various large-scale housing opportunities over the next five years,” he added. Producing high quality, precision engineered homes from its 200,000 sq ft factory in Derry, the company has grown rapidly since it was established in 2016. With investment of over £10m in its manufacturing facility and a workforce of over 100, FastHouse has a current production capacity of approximately 20 houses per week. And this is set to almost double following the installation of a further manufacturing line in mid-2019. Awarded the sub-contract in January 2018 by John Sisk

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CENTRE PARCS PROJECT TO PROMOTE LONGFORD With work on ‘Longford Forest’ progressing well, the Center Parcs resort is due to open in summer 2019. The benefits of the project are already being experienced in this Midlands County, with an uplift in tourism and community development since work started on the project last year.


Ireland on a shared ambition s a result of for Lough Ree and the Mid Center Parcs’ Shannon. arrival in County “Through this we aim to Longford we have activate the potential of the seen significant investment current and emerging wild by utilities and various places of Lough Ree and government departments in the Mid Shannon for local the county to improve our people and their livelihoods, infrastructure, in time for for visitors and for ecosystem the first visitors arriving in services,” according to Paddy the summer of next year,” Mahon. according to Paddy Mahon, Chief Executive of Longford Longford is already benefiting from the Center Parcs project in terms REAPING THE BENEFITS County Council. of the increasing profile of the county as a tourism destination. Once in operation, Center “Suppliers of goods and Parcs ‘Longford Forest’ will services in Longford and generate ongoing jobs and income. Around 1,000 highly varied throughout the Midlands Region will have the opportunity to do jobs will be created on site and Center Parcs are expected to business with Center Parcs and these firms have showcased their inject over €20m in wages and salaries into the local economy. products and services to key Center Parcs personnel at a number Center Parcs’ policy of purchasing locally wherever possible of meet the buyer events in recent months. Opportunities for will benefit many Longford suppliers, while businesses within the employment for 1,000 people across a whole range of categories locality of the site are expected to generate an additional 150+ will be advertised in the coming months,” he added. jobs as a result. Meanwhile, Longford County Council’s Director of Services St Mel’s Cathedral, the Camlin River Walk, the Albert for Economic and Community Development Barbara Heslin has Reynolds Peace Park, the Backstage Theatre, and the numerous noticed an uplift in tourism and community development in bars and restaurants in the town are also set to benefit by Longford since work started on the Longford Forest project last establishing themselves as ‘must-see’ attractions on any visit to year. Longford. “Traditionally, Longford was not seen as a tourist destination. However, the decision by Center Parcs to develop their facility A RECOGNISABLE NAME in Newcastle Woods, Ballymahon has changed all that,” Heslin Longford County Council’s Chief Executive believes that the points out. profile and image of Longford has been lifted through its association with Center Parcs. “As the single largest investment TOURISM STRATEGY Longford County Council’s tourism strategy includes an ambitious in tourism in Ireland, Center Parcs has instilled confidence in the future for the communities of Longford.” programme of work to support the fledgling tourism sector in the He added that ‘Longford Forest’ is already becoming a county. “We are already benefiting from the Center Parcs project in terms of increasing profile of Longford as a tourism destination, recognisable name in the portfolio of Center Parcs resorts and has created an energy, enthusiasm and catalyst which will help attracting ‘culturally curious’ and ‘experiential’ visitors. transform and develop Longford as a tourist destination. “We look Significant investment has already been made in developing forward to welcoming the thousands of visitors to our county in greenways along the Royal Canal and blueways on the Upper 2019 and beyond,” he concluded. Shannon,” she notes. Longford is also working in partnership with Roscommon, Offaly and Westmeath County Councils, Waterways Ireland, (The Spring 2019 edition of ‘Council Review’ will feature further Bord na Móna, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Fáilte updates on this project).


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LOUTH MUSEUM DISPLAYS DEDICATION TO RELEVANT EXHIBITIONS Louth’s award-winning County Museum in Dundalk – one of Ireland’s best loved museums – celebrates the story of the north east county’s rich social, cultural and industrial history from the pre-Christian era up to the present day over three galleries of permanent exhibition space.


owever, it’s more than a museum. Located in a lovingly restored late 18th Century warehouse, it celebrates the story of Louth’s development in manner that is immediate, accessible and most importantly

relevant. Included among the favourite items on display are a threewheeled Heinkel motor car; a North American Tobacco Indian; and a Ducatti motorbike. Above and beyond all of these is an ongoing commitment to ensure that it remains relevant to its audiences through the use of traditional and modern social platforms. This commitment is best exemplified through the recent conference ‘Do Borders Matter and the development of the first app to be developed by Irish museum – Louth’s Hidden History. Organised in association with Department of Foreign Affairs, Heritage Council and the Local Authorities Museums’ Network, the conference examined the vexed question of borders not solely in an Irish context but a broader European one. Featuring a mixture of speakers from the arts, journalism, museums and politics, the event reflected on the uncertainty of Brexit as well as the social, cultural and communal of ‘the border’ in a way that was relevant and accessible for delegate and speaker alike. Meanwhile, the museum’s app – Louth’s Hidden History – has exemplified the link between the museum collection and

site location since it was launched in 2015. The app links items displayed in its permanent exhibition with their places of origin (and vice versa), and was designed to highlight the connection between item and location. ACCLAIMED EXHIBITIONS It is in the area of temporary exhibitions, however, that the museum has attained its greatest acclaim. Over the last number of years the museum has developed a wide range of exciting exhibitions, including its multi-award winning Birth of a Nation (marking the centenary of the 1916 Rising); Their Story: Ireland, the Somme and World War 1; and One Team, One Dream – the Story of Dundalk FC. The Museum’s latest exhibitions highlight two of Dundalk’s traditions – shipping and engineering. The Sinking of the SS Dundalk commemorates the 100th anniversary of the torpedoing of the SS Dundalk just weeks before the end of WW1 with the loss of 20 souls, whilst When an Engineer Imagines highlights the career and achievement of Peter Rice the Dundalkman who was centrally involved in the construction of many of the 20th Century’s greatest building projects including Sydney Opera House, Lloyd’s of London, the Pompidou Centre and the inverted pyramid at the Louvre. Admission to all of these exhibitions is free.

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CASE STUDIES ON GREEN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT Wexford County Council and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) recently hosted the GPP4Growth project partners in Wexford to showcase local and national case studies of green public procurement, and to learn how public money can improve our local environment. Report by Dr Irene Cadogan, Executive Officer at the Department’s Waste Policy and Resource Efficiency Division in Wexford.


he GPP4Growth Interreg project brings together partners from nine countries, to exchange experiences and practices and improve their capacities on implementing resource efficiency policies that promote ecoinnovation and green growth through Green Public Procurement (GPP). Running until 2021, the project aims to: • Increase the capacity of regional administrations to effectively implement resource efficiency policies, applying green public procurement. • Improve the implementation of national/ regional resource efficiency policies, providing incentives to businesses to integrate environmental factors and costs when producing goods and/or providing supplies, services and works. • Unlock regional/national investments on GPP4Growth Partners pictured outside Wexford Garda Divisional Headquarters, green public procurement to promote during their trip to Wexford, with Wexford County Council staff members. the development of new green products and services. • Improve regional actors’ readiness and create knowledge of flood defence works in Enniscorthy. awareness on the influence of green public procurement on the adoption of sustainable consumption and production 1: Street Lighting LED Conversion patterns by businesses operating in the region. In Wexford County 14,575 street lights, under the remit of the Council, cost over €1 million per year in operating and maintenance costs. In response to national energy efficiency targets, increasing energy costs, high maintenance costs, obsolete equipment and poor lighting quality the Council decided to upgrade the bulbs to LED. To date 3,430 bulbs have been replaced reducing the maintenance costs by 87% per annum and reducing energy use by up to 70%. The Council will continue to replace approximately 2,500 bulbs per year until 2021.

During the ‘experience visit’ the partners took in two days of activities that included workshop sessions and practical demonstrations of green procurement projects. Wexford County Council has recently agreed to work with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment as a champion of green public procurement (GPP). To date, this collaboration has shown that many of the purchasing decisions made by the local authorities are providing good examples of green public procurement.

2: Social Housing Energy Efficiency Upgrade The Council renovated a small estate of 12 one-bed houses within Wexford Town. The energy performance of these houses was extremely poor; energy costs were very high and the health

CASE STUDIES Three case studies presented to the project partners addressed street lighting conversion, social housing upgrades and the design


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GREEN PROJECT INVESTMENT The case studies demonstrated that greener purchasing decisions can result in significant long run savings for local authorities. Designing and delivering green projects can be an investment in the longterm health and prosperity of a locality and does not always cost more. The experience has encouraged Wexford County Council to do more. Feedback from the GPP4Growth project partners was very positive and the learning from this trip will feed into the outputs of the project as well as the next ‘experience visit’ due to take place in Antwerp next year. Bernie Kiely from the Department’s GPP4Growth partners pictured with staff from the Department of Communications, Waste Policy and Resource Efficiency Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) at Wexford County Hall. Division said: “it was great for us to be able to bring the GPP4Growth partners of tenants was at risk of being adversely affected. to Wexford and share our story about implementing GPP. Local With the help of 50% grant-aid from the Sustainable Energy authorities need to get recognition for the work they are already Authority of Ireland (SEAI) these houses received a deep retrofit; doing and senior level support to help them do more.” internal and external insulation, heat pump, solar PV panels, demand controlled ventilation and new windows and doors. PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATIONS At the end of the project all properties had received Speaking after the two-day visit of the GPP4Growth project an ‘A’ level energy performance certificate. After grant aid, partners to Wexford, Wexford Country Council’s Chief Executive improvements cost the council €12,500 per unit. While energy Tom Enright described the event as a “welcome opportunity for costs have significantly decreased there were other significant the Council to demonstrate in a very practical way the manner in benefits such as reduced maintenance, better air quality which green procurement practices can yield substantial rewards and health outcomes. As a result of these improvements the for a contracting local authority”. properties have become much sought after within the area by He thanked the Department of Communications, Climate social housing tenants. Action and Environment for their championing of GPP, stating: “Wexford Council will continue to pursue all opportunities 3: Design of Flood Defence Works to integrate environmental factors and costs when procuring The town of Enniscorthy, located on the banks of the River goods and services into the future – not only does this make Slaney in Wexford, has a long history of flooding. Extreme floods environmental sense, but as we have shown here in Wexford, it occurred in 1924, 1947, 1965 and 2000, and more recently in also makes financial sense”. 2015. Flooding has resulted in inundation of properties and roads in the town and represents a risk to the health and safety of its inhabitants, causing property damage and traffic disruption and adversely affecting commercial activity in the town and its environs. The Office of Public Works (OPW), in conjunction with Wexford County Council, undertook a study of the flooding problem, following which a preliminary design for the Enniscorthy Flood Defence Scheme was exhibited for public consultation in 2009. In response to feedback received, the initial designs were altered to improve bio-diversity and ecology issues within the design. This included tree planting, a nesting wall, re-design of the bridge to reduce impact on flight path of birds, fish refuges, spawning areas, habitat creation and the construction process has been designed to reduce impact on fish and lamprey migration. The project will cost in the region of €45 million and has gone to tender. 101

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LIMERICK BECOMES IRELAND’S FIRST ‘DIGITAL CITY’ As a new strategy has set out the framework for the digital transformation of Limerick into a Smart City Region, and the new initiative to assist in the promotion of Ireland’s first digital city as a top international destination for investment, innovation, equal opportunities and a better quality of life.


nder ‘Limerick 2030: An Economic and Spatial Plan’ – the blueprint that has guided the economic renaissance of the city and county over the past five years – the Limerick Digital Strategy will seek to transform the way people access information, education and digital services and improve the way local businesses trade in the digital economy. The strategy will see an increase in the Pictured (l-r): Dr. Mihai Bilauca, Head of Digital Strategy at LCCC; Laura Ryan, LCCC’s Head of use of integrated data Marketing and Communications; Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance and cutting-edge digital technologies by enhancing and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Cllr James Collins, Mayor of Limerick; and Conn Murray, LCCC Chief Executive. (Pic: Oisin McHugh/ True Media) collaboration between organisations, access to Dr. Mihai Bilauca, described the strategy as a new era for information and education at local and regional level and an Limerick. “This has been a very exciting and pioneering project increased investment in digital and ICT infrastructure. It will to be a part of together with our partners in the Limerick Digital enable the public and businesses to have equal opportunities and Leaders Network and supported by the most forward thinking harness the potential of the digital economy valued globally at management and staff in Limerick City and County Council,” he $21 trillion. noted. The Limerick Digital Strategy joins up the digital and smart “The collaboration and support that can be found in Limerick cities agendas for the Treaty City, setting out the vision for the is second to none! We are in a digital age that offers enormous Smart Limerick City Region in 2030 and guides Limerick to a new opportunities and this strategy will ensure Limerick can reap level of digital maturity. every advantage it offers. With the recent award of €6.5m in To achieve this vision, it will create equal opportunities Horizon 2020 funding Limerick is now firmly on track to become through digital channels for all citizens to be involved in the first Lighthouse Smart City in Ireland.” the development of their communities and accelerate the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr James development of the Smart Limerick City Region. Collins said the digital strategy was another example of the unprecedented economic resurgence taking place in Limerick. COLLABORATION AND SUPPORT “This strategy will support and accelerate this transformation by Head of Digital Strategy at Limerick City and County Council, the use of integrated digital technologies, new online services, 103

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new channels of citizen engagement and participation, new collaboration and information platforms such as It’s truly a digital transformation journey,” he added. According to Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, the past two decades have seen advances in digital technologies that have changed the world, and he added that Limerick will now be at the forefront of this revolution. “This is exactly the type of smart

Dr. Mihai Bilauca, Head of Digital Strategy at Limerick City and County Council; Orla O’Connor, Co-ordinator; and Cllr James Collins, Mayor of Limerick, at the launch of the new Digital Strategy for Limerick. (Pic:Oisin McHugh/True Media)

About Limerick’s Digital Strategy • Smarter Living will see 1,000 smart homes, 100 smart buildings and a smart energy district at the core of the Digital City; • It is envisaged that by 2020 Limerick people, businesses and visitors will be able to participate in 80% of public consultations using digital channels; • By that time, they will have access to information on some 2,000 attractions, services, community groups and businesses with more than 1,000 events each year in an integrated digital experience platform –; • Locals will also be able to access 50 new online services, payments, licences, permits and grants in ‘My Limerick’; • The strategy also includes a framework to allow the public to browse the Internet in 20 public Wi-Fi zones in 17 town centres; • 100 sensors will be deployed across city and county for noise, air, water and soil quality and pedestrian counting; • In addition, 37,137 premises will be connected to high-speed broadband under the National Broadband Plan; • A major factor in successfully implementing the smarter living plan is the installation of 40 new Smart CCTV cameras in 14 rural towns to enable safer communities; • 100 open data sets have been published in the Insight Limerick Service; For more information visit


initiative to ensure the considerable momentum built up in Limerick over the last five years or more is continued. This strategy will support both national and EU digital agendas, the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan, and accelerate other local plans and strategies through the use of digital technologies. It will especially underpin the Limerick 2030 Economic and Spatial Plan.” ONLINE SERVICES DOUBLED Among the key targets for the strategy are to double the number of online services, digital start-ups and SMEs trading online, double the use of data for more effective city and county management and the development of 1,000 smart homes, 100 smart buildings and a smart energy district. It is about enabling a Smarter Living in Smart Limerick. In this digital transformation journey the first step was to develop into a digital marketing platform with integrated information about what Limerick has to offer. To better serve the public, a digital transformation programme of the Council has also been initiated in 2017. The strategy will continue with the development of digital infrastructure, fibre connectivity, Public Wi-Fi, Smart CCTV for safer communities and support for the National Broadband Plan; the development of 50 new online services and applications to support innovation and transformation of services and work practices across organisation and communities supported by 6 programmes of digital skills. It will enhance the use of data with over 100 datasets to be provided in a new service called Insight Limerick which will allow the public to understand more about their city and county services. The data for this service will be provided by hundreds of sensors deployed across city and county for air, soil and water quality and water levels, pedestrian counting and noise monitoring. The entire strategy involves the local people and communities taking an active role in the codevelopment of new, innovative services.

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Semiton Ltd. has been operating since the late 1970’s as contract builders. It has established a substantial contracting business with turnover in recent years ranging between 8 and 10 million euro. The Company is based in Clonmel where it operates from its head office, on the Dungarvan Road. Our values are expressed by the duty of care we show for the environment and quality. In caring for people, we look after the health and well being of those that work for us, with us and those we work for. We care about the environment and the impact that we may have on it. We seek to minimise waste, recycle as much materials as possible and use resources sparingly. Predominately, we strive to achieve a high standard of quality.


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MAPPING OBSERVATIONS ON HOUSING IN DUBLIN The Dublin Housing Observatory – a new research unit based in Dublin City Council and overseen by an independent advisory board – continues to strive to provide evidence to inform housing policy, leading to better practice.


n just one year the Dublin Housing Observatory (DHO) has launched a Mapping Viewer in collaboration with AIRO and OSi, which contains a wealth of housing related data , some of which was not previously available to the public, such as the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) data. It has also commissioned and published an independentlyauthored report on the city’s Rapid Build Programme and the lived experience of residents’ in Dublin’s Rapid Built Housing. Meanwhile, the results of the DHO’s study on vacant housing, presented at the International Conference of Irish Geographers 2018, were used to inform a report for DCC’s Strategic Policy Committee on Housing. It has also developed a research project that will allow DHO to examine the impact of short-term letting on Dublin’s housing market using reliable data. The work of other Dublin City Council departments has been supported by DHO in, for example, reviewing the DCC Housing Strategy; policy and best practice guidance in urban renewal and regeneration; research support for area management in Dublin’s north east inner city and development of an overall housing data management system. The DHO has also organised several housing policy related events attended by national and international researchers, academics, practitioners and elected officials. MAPPING VIEWER Launched in July 2018, the Mapping Viewer contains information on Dublin’s rental and sales market, vacant housing, planning and zoning data, local services, and demographic information from the Central Statistics Office. Speaking at its launch Dr Dáithí Downey noted: “The data and analysis offered by the Dublin Housing Observatory is going to play a key role in the future development of Dublin City Council’s housing policy. We have never had access to this level of information before, and it will be a game-changer as we seek to tackle the challenges of providing sustainable, affordable housing in a changing city.” Using the viewer, DHO was able to submit specific area profiles that informed decision making, guided policy, and answered crucial questions about housing and rental costs for those living in an area. For example, it revealed a high dependence on the private rental market near the St Michael’s Estate area of Inchicore. This evidence offered support to the council’s case for a cost

Pictured (l-r): Eoghan McCarthy (AIRO), Dr Daíthí Downey (DHO), Prof Ken Gibb (CaCHE), and Colin Bray (OSi). rental model of housing provision in the area. This is a system where rents are tied to the current and capital costs of housing. Tenants living in cost-rental projects tend to see lower rents than those living in the private rented sector. Such a system, therefore, would have a significant impact on Dublin’s housing crisis. RAPID BUILD HOUSING The Observatory also collaborated with Prof Katherine Brickell, Dr Mel Nowicki, and Dr Ella Harris from the Royal Holloway University of London. The researchers explored the lived

The DHO mission statement – “To support Dublin City Council’s provision of high quality affordable homes and sustainable communities and help drive strategy and policy design for Dublin’s Housing development supply and use.”


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reasons; firstly, because Minister Eoghan Murphy instructed local authorities to draw up Vacant Home Action Plans to identify “ambitious but realistic” targets for returning vacant homes to use as a means of increasing housing supply. Secondly, DCC schemes which attempted to identify and return vacant homes to use (Repair and Lease, Buy and Renew), had produced very little return. A street survey was conducted in November 2017, in four Dublin City Electoral Divisions in order to identify potentially vacant housing. The results showed an extremely low level of housing that was both vacant and available for re-use in Dublin. A deeper examination of the Census data on housing vacancy was recommended as this may provide more nuanced learning about vacancy both nationally and in Dublin. The findings were presented by the DHO team at the Conference of Irish Geographers and by Dr Dáithí Downey at the Housing (SPC). The conclusions helped to understand the low yield generated by government schemes like the ‘Repair and Lease’ and the ‘Buy and Renew’, which have struggled since their inception.

Pictured at the seminar titled ‘Financing Affordable Housing to 2040 and Beyond’ were (l-r): Javier Burón Cuadrado, City of Barcelona; Dáithí Downey (DHO); Dr Rory O’Donnell (NESC); Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General, Housing Europe and; Susanne Bauer, City of Vienna and Chair of EUROCITIES Housing Working Group; Back Row (l-r) James Clarke, Head of Housing Strategy, Greater London Authority and; Herbert Bartik, Senior Expert Urban Innovation, Vienna. experience of those exiting homelessness into Rapid Build housing in a report titled ‘Home at Last’. This report described the Rapid Build programme as an “unequivocal and fundamental solution to Dublin’s housing crisis for many homeless families”, but more importantly, the programme had a lasting positive impact on families coming from precarious positions in the private rented sector. While researchers found that tenants responded very positively to their rapid built homes, they also found that tenants had anxiety about the longevity of their tenancy and the home itself, despite receiving reassurance from the local authority. Crucial in maintaining the longevity of the Rapid Build programme, these findings will inform future decision making. HOUSING VACANCY The DHO investigated the issue of housing vacancy for two

(Source: DHO Mapping Viewer in collaboration with AIRO and OSi, shows the CSO vacancy rate by small area).

FINANCING AFFORDABLE HOUSING In June 2018, in collaboration with international researchers and in partnership with the EUROCITIES Housing Working Group, the DHO hosted a two-day seminar series titled ‘Financing Affordable Housing to 2040 and Beyond’. Each seminar provided researchers, practitioners and policy makers with a platform to discuss methods of facilitating affordable rent and affordable owner-occupation of housing in their respective cities. Presenters included speakers from Vienna, Barcelona, Brussels, Scotland and London, as well as researchers from Ireland’s National Economic and Social Council (NESC), UCD, Irish AHBs, The Housing Agency and Dublin City Council’s Department of Housing and Community Services. HOUSING STRATEGY REVIEW Currently, the DHO is engaged in supporting a review of Dublin City’s Housing Strategy. A recent workshop, organised to explore the effectiveness and continued relevance of the objectives stated in the strategy was attended by DCC senior management, elected councillors and housing agency research staff. Findings from the workshop will assist in progressing efforts to provide ‘affordable housing’ solutions including the promotion of the cost-rental model of housing provision. Despite its youth, the Dublin Housing Observatory has left several important marks on the housing policy landscape. It aims to keep the discussion going and continue to contribute to Dublin’s housing debate.

REFERENCE: ¹Based in Maynooth University, the All Ireland Research Observatory (AIRO) maintains and manages the Mapping Viewer, which is incorporated into the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) ‘GeoHive’ platform. The Mapping Viewer can be accessed online at 109


AN OFFALY LOT DONE… FOR PEAT’S SAKE! Bord na Móna and Offaly County Council have welcomed the prestigious award for Lough Boora Discovery Parklands, which was recently crowned Ireland’s Best Place at this year’s Royal Town Planning Institute’s annual dinner in Dublin.


he Royal Town Planning Institute, which has 25,000 members worldwide, held a nationwide competition during the summer where over 150 nominations were made for places right around the country. The nominations were selected to celebrate places protected, planned or improved by town planners for communities were shortlisted down to 10 by a panel of judges and then went to a public vote. Lough Boora Parklands – a thriving nature and outdoor sculpture park – was crowned the overall winner of RTPI Ireland’s Best Places competition. Anna Marie Delaney, Chief Executive with Offaly County Council, said the award is true recognition of the results which can be achieved by state agencies co-operating with each other. “That the project has been developed to today’s excellent standard, including the Sculpture Park, many kilometres of paved trails and a lovely visitor centre over 25 years, is testimony to the strength of the vision in the first place and also the determination to keep going and get the job done.” She added that to further complement the Discovery Park, Offaly County Council is currently developing a greenway along the Grand Canal from Tullamore to the parklands. “This is being delivered in conjunction with Waterways Ireland and since 2017 the council has completed the first 10km of high quality cycleway from Tullamore westwards. We hope to complete the 71kms of the Grand Canal Greenway through Offaly under the National Greenway Strategy Fund.” GREAT PARTNERSHIP Andrew Murray, Senior Planner with Offlay County Council, said he was privileged to work in partnership with Bord na Móna on the project over the past 10 years. He noted that his predecessors in the council had been to the forefront in supporting Tom Egan and his team in developing the initial vision more than 25 years ago. “It’s heartening to see how Tom and his colleagues never wavered from their vision and developed a truly wonderful after use for these industrial peatlands. The parklands now attract 100,000 visitors per annum. “This project took vision, grit and determination to make a superb amenity from an industrial peatland site. ‘Reimagining’ like this, but on an enormous scale will need to take place on the remainder of the industrial peatlands as they cease peat production over the next decade and we must take the lesson

Situated in what was once an industrial peat bog over a decade ago in County Offaly, Lough Boora Parklands now attracts some 100,000 visitors a year. from Lough Boora that nothing is impossible.” With good planning from the outset, Murray said he hopes that the bogs will accommodate a huge variety of uses in the future, “from simply leaving some of them to re-wild themselves right through the vast range of development and amenity afteruses that are possible”. IRELAND’S BEST PLACE Almost 12,000 people voted on a shortlist of 10 places. Lough Boora Parklands had an impressive 18% share of the total votes cast. Tully Cross, a scenic village in County Galway, and Cork City Centre, the thriving and historic city centre, won second and third place respectively. Situated in County Offaly, Lough Boora Parklands attracts some 100,000 visitors a year. Once an industrial peat bog, its transformation includes the creation of a nature reserve maintained by the Irish Wildlife Trust that aims to ensure its natural resources and biodiversity remain for generations to come. A visitor centre, café and extensive trails encourage cyclists and walkers to explore the beautiful landscape and sculpture park, which showcases sculptures from national and international artists. John Acres, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute,



spectacular ‘Sculpture in the Parklands’. “To further complement the Discovery Park, Offaly County Council has, over the past year been delivering a cycle track along the Grand Canal from Tullamore to Lough Boora. The council’s planning team was particularly pleased to work with Bord na Mona in 2013 to find an optimal position and design for

Minister Damien English TD, Minister for Housing and Urban Development (centre) pictured with (l-r): Andrew Murray, Offaly County Council Senior Planner; John Acres, RTPI President and Bord na Mona’s Tom Egan and Pat Ring, at the recent presentation of the award at the RTPI annual dinner in Dublin. said: “Lough Boora Parklands is an exemplar of partnership working. Several agencies – Offaly County Council, Bord na Mona and the Irish Wildlife Trust – came together to transform a disused site into a remarkable tourist attraction like no other in Ireland. This shows the real value of planners being able to integrate approaches which balance the differing needs, challenges and opportunities for the park.” Referring to the long working association between the council’s planners and Bord na Mona, Offaly’s Senior Planner Andrew Murray said that almost 25 years ago, representatives of the local community, the Council and Bord na Mona formed the Lough Boora Group. “They completed a feasibility study that formed a blueprint for the subsequent development of the greater Lough Boora area, looking at the use of the site after the end of the peat harvesting. “With their combined vision, Offaly County Council and Bord Na Mona worked collaboratively on securing funding for the delivery of the network of paved trails and in particular the

You can explore the local sculptures, lakes, wetlands and facilities using this interactive map of Lough Boora Discovery Park, which is located between Tullamore, Birr and Clonmacnoise. the excellent visitor centre and coffee shop. We look forward to continued collaboration.” A VISIONARY PROJECT Marion Chalmers, Chair of RTPI Ireland, described the Lough Boora Parkland as “a visionary project” which has secured sustainable natural rural regeneration of a former major industrial peat bog right in the centre of Ireland. “Of particular importance is the praise and respect Bord Na Mona has for the planners that have worked with them since the inception of the project. Additionally impressive is the continued commitment of the Lough Boora Group to working together to further grow and invest in the asset of the Lough Boora Parklands as a resource and attraction of regional and national importance. “It certainly merits achieving the Ireland’s Best Place Award and RTPI Ireland looks forward to watching the Parklands develop and evolve far into the future,” she concluded.

Tom Egan, Bord na Móna’s Land Project Manager of Lough Boora (seated holding the award) and John Acres, RTPI President (seated right) pictured with original employees and community representatives who set up the Discovery Park, in addition to Offaly Tourism officials. 111

John Cradock  Ltd  –  Jons  Civil  Engineering  Ltd  Joint  Venture  

In partnership  with  Hines  Ireland,  delivering  Cherrywood  Infrastructure  Phase  1   • 5.4km  of  high  quality  internal  roads,  footpaths  and  cycle  lanes,  including  services  for all  future  development  on  the  400  acres  SDZ  site   • 82  acres  of  new  public  amenity  space  at  Tully,  Beckett  &  Ticknick  Parks,  including sports  facilities,  hard  and  soft  landscaping,  Pavilion  Building   • Upgrade  to  live  roads  at  Tullyvale  and  Wyattville,  with  major  interface  with  live traffic  and  Luas  operations  

         John  Cradock  Ltd,  Unit  5,  Kilcullen  Business  Campus,  Kilcullen,  Co.  Kildare   045-­‐484484      

       Jons  Civil  Engineering  Ltd,  Carranstown,  Duleek,  Co.  Meath   041-9823682      


A TOWN IN THE MAKING Nestled at the foot of the Dublin Mountains in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown between the M50 and N11 transport corridors, the Cherrywood Strategic Development Zone is on course to become the major new town in South Dublin, and will accommodate an estimated population of around 20,000 residents.


verlooking Dublin Bay, Cherrywood was designated a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) in 2008 and in, October 2016, when permission was granted by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for major physical infrastructure, the main landowner put their contractors to work. There are now significant changes to the site with the creation of 4.1km of new roads, junctions and upgrades to some existing ones. The most significant one has been the removal of the large roundabout at the Cherrywood Business Park/Wyattville Road, a new signalised junction and the creation of three new This is the biggest and most ambitious project of its nature in the state and is flagship parks incorporating high quality sports and one of the largest in the entire EU. recreational facilities. The area has been transformed into a new and remarkable town – up to 8,000 homes, including a designated multi-disciplinary Development Agency Project Team minimum of 800 social housing units, will be spread over a town firmly established to drive it to completion. The town centre centre and three smaller village centres and neighbourhoods with design, which obtained planning permission, will deliver a high quality transport links including the existing LUAS Green development at the optimum location adjacent to high quality Line and a network of new greenways. transport. This will succeed in overcoming significant site challenges. COMMUNITY AND SCHOOLS The high standard of quality architecture and variety of The scheme provides for six new schools and community the proposed buildings and public spaces will result in an allfacilities with extensive commercial, retail and non-retail spaces, inclusive and distinctive new district centre. This will provide for with an estimated population of 20,000 residents and huge a very vibrant mix of employment and residential uses that will employment opportunities, both during the construction phase serve Cherrywood’s new community. and upon completion. The first primary school building received its grant of The investment in the extensive physical infrastructure has permission in July 2018. This 24 classroom building, which opened the door to development, with the Notification to Grant incorporates an additional special needs unit, will be built Permission issued by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council adjacent to Tully Park and will benefit from the new park’s new to the main landowner for three of the four Cherrywood Town facilities, such as ample cycle parking and pedestrian links. As Centre quadrants on 29 May 2018. area rich in heritage and unique in character will be captured as This permission provides for development over a gross floor the Cherrywood SDZ Development progresses. area of approximately 191,115sqm to incorporate commercial, office and retail uses, with the provision for c.1,269 residential APOLOGY & CORRECT ADVERTISEMENT: The first phase units, together with high quality public spaces and space for of the Cherrywood Development in South Dublin, which was a new library facility. It marks the first permission to issue for delivered by John Cradock Ltd, in association with Jons Civil residential development for the SDZ. Engineering Ltd and Hines Ireland, featured in Issue 58 of ‘Council Review’. However, we wish to unreservedly apologise to John Cradock Ltd for publishing the incorrect advertisement, which failed to highlight this association with their partners. And, by way of recompense, we have re-run this feature with the correct advert (see opposite page). We wish to thank John Cradock Ltd for their continuing support.

LARGEST EU PROJECT A designated Major Urban Housing Delivery Site, Cherrywood has been successful in achieving Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Funding (LIHAF) to further open up lands for muchneeded housing. As a corporate priority for the county council it has a



NINE IRISH PROJECTS REACH AWARDS FINAL Nine impactful and diverse Irish projects were shortlisted for this year’s Europe-wide Innovation in Politics Awards, which were presented in Vienna on 17 November. And despite not taking home any awards, it was a great opportunity for the Irish finalists to meet with their European counterparts and to share their experiences on community initiatives.


reland’s nine shortlisted projects were among the 80 finalists selected by a European Jury of 1,053 citizens for this year’s Innovation in Politics Awards. Organised by the Innovation in Politics Institute based in Vienna, this is the second year of the Innovation in Politics Awards, which aim to recognise ground-breaking political initiatives across Europe at any level of governance that can act as an inspiration to others. The category winners were announced at a gala ceremony on 17 November the Austrian capital, and despite not winning in any of the categories, Ireland was well represented with a total of nine projects shortlisted for the final, which reflected political innovation at national (3), regional (1) and local level (5). Edward Strasser, CEO of the Innovation in Politics Institute, said: “With no less than nine Irish finalists selected by citizens across Europe, it’s clear that the innovative approaches by Irish politicians stand out. Engagement with citizens, communities, and civil society as well as cross-party collaboration and support are key features of the projects.” Over 600 projects from all over Europe were nominated in eight categories: Civilisation, Community, Democracy, Human Rights, Ecology, Jobs, Prosperity, and Quality of Life. The European Jury selected 10 finalists in each category. Here’s a recap of the following nine Irish finalists across all categories: HUMAN RIGHTS CATEGORY *Ireland’s LGBTI+ Youth Strategy 2018¬¬-20 – Dr Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs A first for Ireland and the world, this strategy is informed by the views of thousands of young people and by those who work with them and on their behalf. It guarantees a cross-governmental approach to put additional measures in place to further enhance the lives of LGBTI+ young people and address some of the key challenges they may face as part of their daily lives. The strategy aims to make a significant contribution towards the Government’s broader commitment to continue to strive for the full inclusion of LGBTI+ people in Irish society and to build a more inclusive Ireland. *Legislation & Policy to Protect Victims and Tackle Violence against Women and Domestic Violence – Frances Fitzgerald TD, former Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality

Cllr Declan Doocey, Mayor of Waterford City and County Council, accepted the finalist’s certificate on behalf of the council for the ‘Waterford Greenway’ project. This suite of ground-breaking legislation, introduced by Frances Fitzgerald TD, as Minister for Justice and Equality, aims to tackle violence against women, domestic violence, and improve the legal system’s response to both the crime and the victim. A set of three pieces of legislation was introduced: the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill 2016, the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill 2016 and the Domestic Violence Bill 2017. Innovations in the legislation include a comprehensive definition of consent, criminalisation of coercive control and protection for victims in all forms of intimate relationships. These Bills – now laws –garnered cross-party support, reform and strengthen protection against gender-based violence and the rights of victims. JOBS CATEGORY *Protection of Freelance Workers – Senator Ivana Bacik In 2017, the Oireachtas passed the Competition (Amendment) Act 2017 which restored to low-paid, vulnerable freelance workers, including freelance journalists, musicians and actors, the fundamental right to be collectively represented by trade unions. This began as a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by 114


Mayo’s Cllr Patsy O’Brien, who was presented with the finalist’s certificate, committed considerable resources in developing and launching the ‘Atlantic Economic Corridor’. Senator Ivana Bacik and came after years of campaigning by trade unions following a 2004 ruling by the Competition Authority. The legislation was developed collaboratively with Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and received cross-party support. It has attracted widespread international interest and praise for its innovative approach to workers’ rights. PROSPERITY CATEGORY *Waterford Greenway – Waterford City and County Council The Waterford Greenway, a spectacular 46-km off-road cycling and walking coastal trail from Waterford to Dungarvan, opened in March 2017. It followed a detailed and successful consultation process by Waterford City and County Council driven by former Cllr Ger Barron, Cllr Damien Geoghegan and others. It has become an important national tourism asset, creating employment and benefiting local communities and the economy in a rural area that was in decline. Between its opening in March and December 2017, almost 250,000 people walked or cycled the Waterford Greenway in its first year. Economic renewal and growth, tourism and recreation-related spending on items such as bicycle hire, and food and lodging are just a few of the ways it has positively impacted on the local economy and Waterford more generally. *Atlantic Economic Corridor – Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources, and the Northern and Western Regional Assembly From Kerry to Derry, the Atlantic Economic

Corridor (AEC) is one region with a shared goal to create economic prosperity along the Atlantic coast of Ireland. This initiative, led by Seán Kyne TD, Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources, is a collaboration of geographical, sectoral and thematic interests with the aim of building a brighter and sustainable future for the 1.7 million people of the Atlantic region. During his term as Chair of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA), Mayo’s Cllr Patsy O’Brien had committed considerable resources in developing and launching the Atlantic Economic Corridor. With the support of national and local government and State agencies, this initiative aims to bring together the State capital investment programme with the potential investment of the private sector to strengthen the region’s economic contribution and make the Atlantic region a better place in which to live and work.

COMMUNITY CATEGORY *Dunmanway Community Garden – Cork County Council The Dunmanway Community Garden Initiative leased a one-acre site from Cork County Council and began developing the space with the active involvement of local Cllr Declan Hurley. The project trained people in basic horticultural skills, construction skills and co-operative working. With support from Government agencies, the community garden hosts courses for adults such as literacy and numeracy through gardening, therapeutic gardening, mental health and well-being sessions, painting, ceramics, photography and woodcraft. The Garden has improved the community’s quality of life. It received further funding from Cork County Council and

Cllr David Maxwell, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, and representatives were presented with a certificate for their ‘Peace Link’ project – one of nine Irish finalists. 115


expand, with 15 new bike stations and 100 new bikes added in 2018. It has made it easier to travel around the city, improving the environment with fewer motorised journeys, and has improved public health by encouraging more active transport. It has been transformational for Dublin. *Peace Link – Building Relations Through Sport – Monaghan County Council The Peace Link Project was developed by the Clones Erne East Sports Partnership (a consortium of community, sporting and statutory organisations based along the Fermanagh and Monaghan border South Dublin County Council’s ‘300K Have Your Say – Participatory Budgeting’ project was region). This initiative was built on a finalist in the Democracy category. previous work carried out by Clones Community Forum under EU PEACE I has engaged workers from an unemployment programme who and PEACE II in bringing community and sporting organisations take visitors on a tour of the garden or help new volunteers to get involved. This success story is due to the phenomenal input of the together to work strategically and collaboratively to build peace through the mechanism of sport. volunteers who established and maintain the garden to meet the The project aimed to provide a sporting hub from which needs of the community. activities and events could be delivered that would positively impact meaningful relationships and peace building across the DEMOCRACY CATEGORY Clones and Erne East areas in counties Monaghan and Fermanagh *300K Have Your Say – Participatory Budgeting - South Dublin respectively. The sporting hub is located within walking distance County Council of Clones town centre and is 500m from the border between In 2017, South Dublin County Council’s Participatory Budget Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. initiative, the first one in Ireland, allowed citizens to vote for Monaghan County Council assumed the role as lead partner projects designed and submitted by citizens. An additional for a €7.8m application to the EU PEACE III Shared Spaces €300,000 was provided specifically for this purpose. The then Programme. The project received cross-party support in both Mayor, Cllr Guss O’Connell and former Mayor Cllr Dermot jurisdictions. Opened in 2014, it has surpassed all expectations Looney, with the support of the entire council membership, in terms of building community relations through sport and is a proposed that Participative Budgeting be piloted in an electoral hub for building a healthy, vibrant community for all ages and ward in 2017. backgrounds. The ‘300K - Have Your Say’ initiative attracted 160 project submissions; 17 were shortlisted for public voting of which eight, ranging from €5K to €120K, were successful. The real objective of increasing citizen participation in local government was achieved. The Participatory Budgeting process was independently evaluated and positively endorsed by the Institute of Public Administration, and it has since been repeated in 2018. QUALITY OF LIFE CATEGORY *Just Eat dublinbikes - Dublin City Council Dublin City Council’s Dublin Bikes (now called Just Eat dublinbikes) – one of the first bike-sharing schemes introduced in Europe – has proven to be one of the most successful. Just Eat dublinbikes is rated so highly due to the intensity of use of the scheme, with its 1,500 bikes generating over four million trips a year. A key aim of the scheme was to encourage more people to cycle in Dublin. Since the introduction of the scheme in 2009, on the initiative of Cllr Andrew Montague, Just Eat dublinbikes continues to

For further details about Innovation in Politics Awards visit www. 116


EUROPE’S BEST POLITICAL PROJECTS TAKE CENTRE STAGE IN VIENNA This year’s Innovation in Politics Awards were presented to the best political projects throughout Europe at an international gala in Vienna’s City Hall on 17 November. A jury of over 1,000 European citizens had selected 80 finalists, nine of whom were from Ireland, and eight winners were finally selected from over 600 nominees in eight categories.


he Innovation in Politics Awards scheme was set up in 2017 to recognise successfully implemented political initiatives – regardless of party affiliation, political level or region. At this year’s awards presentation, over 450 guests, including parliamentarians, mayors and members of government from 15 European countries, got to know the best of the best projects and their creators in Vienna City Hall – from the sustainably transparent ‘food chain’ in Bavaria to the free Interrail Pass for all 18-year-old Europeans to the creative revitalisation of social and economic problem districts in Belgium or England.

The jury of more than 1,000 Europeans awarded their points in an online evaluation procedure. This year’s winning projects selected in eight categories hailed from Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and the UK, in addition to a European Commission project. Edward Strasser, co-founder of the Innovation in Politics Institute: “Strengthening our democracies in Europe is at the heart of our work. To this end we show how courageous and creative democratic politicians are breaking new ground. With the Awards, we present their projects to a Europe-wide audience, so that the best political ideas can also be used in other regions and countries.”

Pictured (far left) Edward Strasser, co-founder of the Innovation in Politics Institute, with the award winners, following the final of the Innovation in Politics Awards in Vienna City Hall on 17 November. (Pic: Sebastian Philipp) 117

“everyone has a right to a place they can call home Focus Ireland's models of service provision are dictated by the needs of our customers The Agency believes that the quality of services delivery is equally as important as the kind of services we provide. There are eight primary values that underpin our models of service provision both to internal and external customers:

FOCUS IRELAND Head Office: 14a Eustace Street, Dublin 2 T (01) 671 2555 F (01) 679 6843 Fundraising & Events: 1 Lord Edward Court Bride Street, Dublin 8 T (01) 475 1955 F (01) 475 1972

• Respect • Safety • Accessibility • Empowerment • Stewardship • Quality • Partnership • Integration

Head Office, Irish Cancer Society, 5 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4, Ireland Tel: 01-2310 500 Fax: 01-2310 555

The Irish Cancer Society, is the national charity dedicated to preventing cancer, saving lives from cancer and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer through patient care research and education. The main work of the Society is the delivery of nursing services to patients with cancer throughout Ireland. These services include; funding hospital based Oncology Liaison Nurses, community based Night Nursing for patients in their home, and Home Care Nursing teams. Additionally the Society operates a FreeFone Cancer Helpline, staffed by fully qualified nurses. This Cancer Helpline receives almost 6,000 calls annually The Society, was founded in 1963, is financed entirely by voluntary contributions from the public and receives no government funding. This allows the Society to pursue new and innovative services for patients with cancer outside of government policy. We rely on thousands of dedicated volunteers from around the country to help with our fundraising activities, the largest of which is our annual Daffodil Day. We have a number of Helpline's to provide you with support, encouragment and information during your cancer experience. They are....

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About the Innovation in Politics Awards: The initiative was established in 2017 by the Vienna-based Innovation in Politics Institute, to give recognition to political work, showcasing it as an example of best practice for others. Its mission is to support initiatives at any level of governance and across the political spectrum that break new ground, are creative and achieve results. For further information visit www.

At the closing ceremony in Vienna City Hall Edward Strasser, co-founder of the Innovation in Politics Institute, announced that next year’s Innovation in Politics Awards Ceremony will be held in Berlin in November 2019. (Pic: Sebastian Philipp) WINNING PROJECTS BY CATEGORY DEMOCRACY: Including the Citizen at the Heart of Parliamentary Work In 2018, the French National Assembly set up an open source platform for participatory democracy, on which 13,475 citizens have already contributed around 150,000 articles on topics such as “Combating fake news”, “Women and science” or “Ecological change”. JOBS: The Chef Duel In Sweden there is a shortage of 5,000 trained cooks and at the same time fewer and fewer young people are applying for this job. The cooking duel initiated by Camilla Andersson Sparring has significantly increased the interest in becoming a cook. In 2018, cooking duels were already organised in seven Swedish communities, in which 2,500 pupils participated. ECOLOGY: Regiothek The Regiothek is an online platform for food transparency “from farm to fork“ in Bavaria. Supply chains are displayed geographically to help smallholders, grocers and restaurants consumers who care about food transparency become aware of them. HUMAN RIGHTS: Gdansk Immigrant Integration Model Mayor Pawel Adamowicz formed a cross-sectoral team for integration with the aim of providing equal quality of life for immigrants. The process promotes personal skills (antidiscrimination training), special projects (summer day care for Roma children begging on the street), to solutions for the labour market.

PROSPERITY: Creative & Digital District Charleroi Charleroi, a former coal and steel city in Belgium, is one of the most socially disadvantaged cities in Western Europe, with youth unemployment at over 40%. The CATCH plan for economic growth focuses on new economic sectors. A small team implements the digital transformation of the city and creates new jobs and cooperation between self-employed, start-ups, incubators and large companies. COMMUNITY: Every One Every Day Barking and Dagenham ‘Every One Every Day’ is an initiative in Barking and Dagenham, the poorest borough of London. It encourages and supports residents to use their skills in practical, joint activities in their neighbourhood and to share resources. Anyone can suggest activities that the project team supports. QUALITY OF LIFE: #FreeInterrail On their 18th birthday, all EU citizens will receive a greetings card, information on mobility in Europe and an Interrail pass for free rail travel during one month. With #FreeInterrail, 15,000 young Europeans travelled and experienced their home continent for the first time in summer 2018. CIVILISATION: European Solidarity Corps (Jean-Claude Juncker) The European Solidarity Corps allows young people to participate in charitable projects across Europe. The Corps offers volunteer work, teaching positions and jobs in projects run by authorised organisations.



LAUNCH OF €500M CLIMATE ACTION FUND (ROUND 1) Seven major climate change projects will share €77 million government funding, leveraging a total investment of €300 million in round one of the Climate Action Fund, with potential to reduce annual emissions by over 200,000 tonnes of carbon as a result of the new initiatives.


he Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD and the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD recently announced the successful projects under the Government’s new Climate Action Fund, as part of Project Ireland 2040. The government is committed to making Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Minister Bruton is currently developing an all of government plan to achieve this objective and deliver on Ireland’s climate and energy targets. The government’s Climate Action Fund, under Project Ireland 2040, will provide at least €500 million in government funding to support initiatives that provide for the kind of step change that is needed. Nearly 100 applications were received and €77 million is being allocated to seven projects (see below), leveraging a total investment of €300 million. Seven projects have been approved: The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, • ESB eCars: €10m to develop a recently announced the successful projects under the Government’s new Climate Action nationwide, state-of-the-art electric Fund, as part of Project Ireland 2040, pictured alongside An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, vehicle charging network capable of and the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD. facilitating large-scale electric vehicle uptake over the next decade. • Dublin City Council: Dublin District Heating System: • Gas Networks Ireland: GRAZE Gas €20 million to capture waste heat generated at industrial - Green Renewable Agricultural Zero Emissions Gas: facilities, in particular, the Dublin Waste to Energy Plant in €8.5m to support the installation of the first transmission Ringsend and piping it into homes and businesses in the connected Central Grid Injection (CGI) facility for renewable Poolbeg, Ringsend and Docklands areas of Dublin city. gas and a grant scheme to support circa 74 compressed • South Dublin County Council: The South Dublin County natural gas vehicles. Council Tallaght District Heating Scheme: €4.5m • Irish Rail: Hybrid Drive for Inter City Railcar fleet: €15m provided to establish a sustainable district heating solution in invested to design new hybrid power-packs for intercity the Tallaght area to provide low carbon heat to public sector, railcars to reduce diesel use and greenhouse gas emissions. residential and commercial customers. Following the proof of concept in one three car train, the • Road Management Office: Local Authority Public hybrid power-packs will be implemented across the wider Lighting Energy Efficiency Project: €17.5m invested to fleet.



retrofit all remaining 326,000 non-LED local authority public lights to high efficiency LED Lanterns. Public Lighting accounts for approx. 50% of total energy use and based on the application, the project could deliver emission reduction of over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 from electricity generation per annum. • 3 Counties Energy Agency: Driving HGV Efficiently into Brexit: €1.4m to support the transport sector in reducing reduce fuel consumption and emissions from vehicles by being smarter about transport use and by embracing new technologies. Over a two-year period telematic equipment will be installed in over 1,000 vehicles and appropriate training for the drivers will be provided. Through continuous monitoring and positive reinforcement of driving behaviour performance, the overall fuel efficiency is expected to increase by 10%. UNPRECEDENTED INVESTMENT An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, said “Project Ireland 2040 provides for an unprecedented investment of €22 billion in climate action over the next decade. We’re working to take peat and coal off the grid by the middle of the next decade and to have 500,000 electric vehicles on our roads by 2030. From next July, no new diesel-only buses will be bought by Dublin Bus and from 2030, no new diesel or petrol cars will be sold in Ireland. “The transition to a low carbon world will require profound changes in how we live our lives. We want the Climate Action Fund to empower communities, industry, researchers, the public sector, and citizens to take ownership of climate action efforts. The projects being announced today have the potential to make a real difference in the area of climate action and, most importantly, they will hit the ground running.” Minister Bruton said the projects will support decarbonisation across the transport, heat, electricity and agriculture sectors and demonstrate the types of investments we need to make. “For example, the investment we are making in the ESB to develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art electric vehicle charging network, will be crucial to reducing range anxiety and supporting individuals to move to electric vehicles. “This investment by the Government will leverage additional investment from the project promoters and marks significant step towards achieving our ambitions.” FOUR NEW FUNDS UNDER NDP Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD said the Climate Action Fund is one of the four new funds provided for under the National Development Plan (NDP), as a new innovative funding model for the allocation of resources in support of key priorities of Government. “The projects represent the first in a series of announcements over the period of the NDP that will see €500m invested in innovative projects that will help us achieve Ireland’s climate and energy targets in a cost effective manner,” he added.

“The principal source of funding for the Climate Action Fund will be through the repurposing of part of the existing petroleum products levy collected by the National Oil Reserves Agency, and so this particular Fund will therefore be able to support projects without any additional cost to the Exchequer.” Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources, Sean Canney TD said the strong regional balance across the seven projects approved with 29 local authorities involved as applicants or project partners. “These projects will now proceed to the validation stage which will include a more detailed examination of the projects, agreement of project outputs and payment timelines. This was the first call for applications and was open to applications from the public and private sector. As the Climate Action Fund develops, additional calls will be made which will provide further opportunities for applicants to avail of support,” Minister Canney noted. Full details of the Climate Action Fund are available on the Department’s website. 121


A NEW CHAPTER OPENS FOR KEVIN STREET LIBRARY Kevin Street Library has opened its doors after a closure of almost five years, and the €3.9m modernisation and refurbishment project by Dublin City Council’s architects has seen the start of a whole new chapter for the local community in the south east inner city.


sed by generations of Dubliners, young and old, the recent reopening of the newly refurbished library on Kevin Street has been warmly welcomed by local residents. The library was officially reopened by Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring TD, in the presence of Dublin’s Lord Mayor Cllr Nial Ring in late September. Kevin Street Library first opened in 1904 and was the fourth public library in Dublin. It closed to the public in 2013 for much-needed renovation and modernisation. The new library has been reimagined for the 21st century, containing a spacious public library and inner reading room. To the rear of the building is a bright and animated children’s library equipped with a fun slide. These changes to the library have already resulted in high engagement with the public, as almost 800 new borrowers and 1,500 renewed library accounts have been logged since reopening to the public in late July. Almost 10,000 items have been borrowed from Kevin Street Library by the public so far in this time. The Lord Mayor of Dublin noted that the response from the public since the library reopened showed that it is an important part of the local community. “Dubliners have been using this library since it first opened in 1904 and with this beautiful restoration and modernisation, future generations will have the benefit of this facility for many years to come.” Major improvements have been made to ensure the building is welcoming to all members of

the public with the introduction of ramps, accessible restrooms and a lift to all levels, including a new floor containing nine PCs, a study space and a mezzanine with special collections. The library is open six days a week, with late night opening on Tuesdays and Thursdays. HUB OF INFORMATION The Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring, said that the library will act as a hub of educational, cultural, information and civic engagement within the south east area of the city and further afield. “It is a fine example of what can be achieved by central and local government working together in partnership for the benefit of our communities. €3.9 million was invested in the renovation, with my department contributing €1 million towards the project under its Library Capital Investment Programme. It highlights my Government’s continued investment in the public library service, not alone in Dublin City, but throughout the country.” The launch of the new library included performances from St Patrick’s Boys Choir as well as young performers from Synge Street CBS, St Patrick’s Grammar School and Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount. Brendan Teeling, Dublin City Librarian (Acting), said that the refurbished library is a credit to Dublin City Council architects and library staff. He thanked the Minister for his support, adding that they’re also delighted that the local community has taken the library back into their hearts.



SUPREME SAFETY AT TIPPERARY FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE Tipperary’s Chief Executive Joe MacGrath congratulated Tipperary Fire and Rescue Service for its historic achievement in winning this year’s Supreme Safety Award at the 55th National Irish Safety Organisation/Northern Ireland Safety Group Annual Safety Awards, presented in recognition of its safety management system and an innovative wellness programme.


he ‘Supreme Safety Award’ reinforces the status of Tipperary Fire & Rescue Service as safety leaders within the country; having won the ‘Best New Entrant Award’ in 2013 and the ‘Best Public Service Award’ for the last four years running. Achieving the Supreme Award represents a whole new level for one of the largest retained fire services in the country, and it’s the first time that a public service body such as Tipperary Fire & Rescue has won this award. According to Councillor Mattie Ryan, Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, “the safety and management award is another step in improving the overall standard of our safety performance and provides both service providers and the public with independent assurance of a high quality service. I would like to congratulate all involved in Tipperary County Council on this achievement”. Tipperary’s Chief Executive Joe MacGrath also congratulated Dave Carroll, Chief Fire Officer, and members of the Tipperary Fire Service on this historic achievement. “This is a significant achievement, not alone for the fire services but also for the entire organisation. It shows what can be achieved in health and safety through persistent hard work and dedication.

Cllr Mattie Ryan, Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council (centre) was presented with the award by Deputy Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection at the ceremony in Killarney. Pictured (l-r): Harry Galvin, NISO President; Paul Reihill, HSE Lead, Irving Oil Whiltegate Refinery; Cllr Ryan, Minister Pat Breen; and John Thompson, NISG Chairperson.

Pictured (l-r): John Shinners, Tipperary’s Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Liam Quinn, Health & Safety Advisor, Tipperary County Council’s Cathaoirleach Mattie Ryan and Chief Executive Joe MacGrath, with Dave Carroll, Tipperary Chief Fire Officer and Eddie Ryan, Senior Asst. Chief Fire Officer. “In particular, the award signifies a very strong commitment to the safety of all in the fire services and the deep sense of pride and gratitude we all have for the work that is done every day in helping others”. SETTING A SAFETY CULTURE Dave Carroll, Tipperary’s Chief Fire Officer, explained: “Our occupational health and safety management system paves the way for the best possible working conditions in our service. Our commitment in this area has been recognised with this award and I’d like to congratulate our Health and Safety Committee and all the members of our service for making this possible.” Carroll attributed their supreme award win to a huge amount of both effort and engagement throughout all levels of the organisation, starting at the top with their chief executive Joe MacGrath in Tipperary County Council. “It is only by everybody engaging in the health and safety procedures and the culture that we set that we are able to achieve these awards. In winning this award we join an elite club of former winners which brings with it a challenge to not only retain but to further improve on our safety record”. The Supreme Safety Award, sponsored by Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery, was presented to Tipperary Fire and Rescue Service for consistently showing good or continuously improving health and safety performance over a number of years and an outstanding contribution to occupational safety, health and welfare during the previous year.



PLANNING BALANCE AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT The words ‘balance’ and ‘consultation’ come up quite a lot when Donegal County Council’s senior planner Eunan Quinn discusses the work of the planning service, claiming that planning is about more than just regulations, it’s also about facilitation.


hat’s where the policy side comes in and the necessity of consultations with as broad a range and as broad a spectrum of stakeholders as possible. We have to provide a reasonable, balanced outlook to our policies,” according to Eunan Quinn. He said this is illustrated by Letterkenny’s recent designation as one of a handful of regional centres in the National Planning Framework, which came as planners prepare a new draft strategic plan for Letterkenny. “When people think of the planning service, they often think of applications: the new house, the change of use for commercial premises. Donegal County Council is on target to receive about 2,100 applications this year, up to 4,500 when other application types and reports are included, such as those from local or state authorities. “While those are key functions, Eunan Quinn, Senior Planner with Donegal along with enforcement and County Council. building control, the overall planning impact is broader. Take the six-year Letterkenny plan, one of nine area plans for towns and villages in the county. Letterkenny received the most recent regional designation because of its size – projections suggest the town population could grow to 35,000 – as well as its strategic importance in a cross-border region that includes Derry and Strabane.” IMPLICATIONS CONSIDERED Plans must consider the implications, he claims, and says questions must be posed: Where will those people work? Where will they live? Where will their children go to school? What size of homes will they seek and what services will they require? “These are debates we’ve started to have through the Letterkenny planning process that will continue” he said. Workshops and other events were held this year in early consultation with the public, the business community, and other sectors and agencies; planners hope to have a draft completed by late 2018 or early 2019 for formal public consultation. Donegal County Council is working with Derry City and Strabane District Council on establishing the North West City Region, and there have been cross-border initiatives between the councils and chief executives since 2014.

The New N56 Kiltoy roundabout at Letterkenny Business Park. The differences in this most recent designation are the resources that underpin it, such as urban and rural regeneration funds. Still, none of these plans operate in a vacuum, he claims. The council adopted the County Donegal Development Plan (2018-2024) in June, and more than half of the current area plans were adopted recently. Those plans must align with national and regional strategy. “Decisions are actually quite constrained and defined and shaped by legislation and more particularly by policy, and we have to make our decisions within that context. And if we get it wrong we have to learn from that, which may call for a review of policy. PARALLEL ASSESSMENT PROCESS “It’s about trying to reach balanced solutions that are in the common good. Council services such as planning and roads also work together, along with Irish Water, to find those solutions, and the development of Letterkenny’s Business Park Road is an example.” Having seen changes in the service during his 25 years with the council, such as the increasing influence of European Habitat Directives, he said it has created a parallel assessment process that has to inform all the policy decisions taken. “People are becoming more aware of their planning landscape, and that there are things out there that influence their day-to-day lives and so, rightly, we are seeing more and more people become involved,” Quinn said. “People are very active, and all that discourse is very positive and good, and ultimately can only add value to the quality of the policy.” 124


SHANNON FLOOD RELIEF IS NOW ON STREAM A €9m funding package will be provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to cover the capital cost of a range of flood relief schemes along the Shannon as part of the Government’s projected €1bn flood relief investment over the next decade under Project Ireland 2040.


ll local authorities who are taking a proactive approach to address flood risk in their areas, through their work with the OPW as part of the €1bn investment in flood risk measures over the coming decade, were recently complimented by the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD. Minister Moran recently met with representatives from Leitrim County Council to discuss arrangements for the advancement of flood relief schemes in the county and the various other initiatives to better manage flood risk on the Shannon. “We agreed the way in which the flood relief schemes will be progressed for Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim, Mohill and Dromod. The schemes will be advanced by Leitrim County Council as the lead agency working in collaboration with the OPW. “Funding of €9 million will be provided by the OPW for the capital cost of the schemes as part of the Government’s investment of €1 billion on flood relief over the next decade under Project Ireland 2040 to support Leitrim County Council in the implementation of the projects,” the Minister noted. “Good progress has been made to date between the OPW and local authorities in agreeing the arrangements to progress the schemes nationally to ensure that the delivery of flood relief solutions in the shortest possible timeframe.” The Minister also set out the other co-ordinated initiatives by members of the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group, to help to further manage the flood risk for those living and working near the River Shannon.

Lough Allen to help alleviate any significant flooding event that may occur. The Group is completing an environmental assessment of this pilot to help inform any decision to target a reduction in lake levels. Together with the Minister’s announcement in May for 34 new flood relief projects to protect towns and villages along the Shannon, he said that these initiatives will help to open up our towns and villages for further investment and economic benefit. The recruitment of specialised expertise to support the development of the National Flood Forecasting Service is well advanced. The five-year plan to establish this service is being implemented by Met Eireann and the OPW in partnership with local authorities.

TARGETED ACTIVITIES At its biannual meeting in October, the Group was updated on the targeted maintenance activities involving the removal of silt and emergent vegetation and the removal of trees, in three locations. Agreement was reached on the following: • Appointment of consultants to examine the removal of the pinch-points resulting in lower summer water levels through the Shannon Callows, to help address the summer flooding in this area, while maintaining the appropriate navigation requirements; • Consultants are also being appointed for a study on the cause, degree and rate of restriction downstream of Parteen Weir; • A pilot will be run again this winter to lower lake levels in 125

SHANNON FLOOD RISK COORDINATION WORKING GROUP The Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group was established by the Government in January 2016 to enhance on-going co-operation across all state agencies involved with the River Shannon. • Group Membership • Office of Public Works • Local authorities, represented by County and City Management Association • Waterways Ireland • Electricity Supply Board • Inland Fisheries Ireland • Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government • Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs • Bord na Móna • Environmental Protection Agency • Irish Water

The full terms of reference for the group are available on the OPW’s website


LOCAL AUTHORITIES CONTINUE TO BUILD ON STRONG PERFORMANCE The number of social housing units delivered by local authorities in 2017 increased by 43% on the previous year, according to the latest report from the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC), which revealed that local authorities continued to deliver improved performance and efficiency last year.


he ‘Local Authority Performance Indicator Report 2017’ presents the performance of local authorities across a range of services such as housing, roads, water, waste/environment, planning, fire services, library/ recreational, youth/community, corporate, finance and economic development. Commenting on the recent NOAC report, Peter Carey, Chair of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and Chief Executive of Kildare County Council said: “As the NOAC Report demonstrates, local authorities have a very wide remit, which has been further expanded in recent years. “We are a reforming sector, continually seeking ways to improve our performance in the provision of local services and meeting the needs of our citizens. The indicators provide local authorities with an opportunity to assess their performance, and to identify where improvements might be made.” Housing is one of the major challenges facing Ireland at the moment, he noted, and added that local authorities are at the forefront in addressing this challenge, in line with the Rebuilding Ireland action plan. “Local authorities are making significant progress in this area with the number of social housing units delivered by the sector in 2017 increasing by 43% on the previous year. “As the report notes, local authorities provide social housing in a number of ways, including through the delivery of support mechanisms such as HAP and by playing a strategic role in managing the delivery of social housing in collaboration with other bodies. We are ramping up activity across all areas, determined to deliver very necessary solutions.”

“Local authorities have a very wide remit – we are a reforming sector, continually seeking ways to improve our performance in the provision of local services and meeting the needs of our citizens” – Peter Carey, CCMA Chair and Chief Executive of Kildare County Council.

KEY SERVICE AREAS The NOAC report revealed the following findings across a range of sectors: Housing: Working with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) in the delivery of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, local authorities added 2,532 individual units to their social housing stock during 2017.

This represented an increase of 43% on the previous year. By end December 2017, the local government sector owned and managed 133,394 social housing units. The average percentage of vacant dwellings within social housing stock was 2.7% in 2017 – a reduction compared with a rate of 3% in 2016. Vacant stock includes all units awaiting retenanting or those awaiting necessary repair work. The average time to re-let a social house reduced from 33 weeks in 2016 to 126


28.9 weeks in 2017. When a social housing unit was vacated, local authorities spent on average €17,107 to make the unit ready for re-let. There were 5,263 homeless adults at 31 December 2017. However, 4,729 adults exited homelessness during the year. Local authorities expanded their supply of emergency accommodation nationally for an additional 1,439 people in 2017. Local authorities play a key role Local authorities added 2,532 individual units to their social housing stock during 2017. in regulating standards in the private rental sector. There was a 5.1% increase in the number of registered while 546 were drawn down. private rental tenancies during 2017, from 311,295 to 327,187. Local authorities inspected 16,230 private rental units during Water: Water services have been transferred from local 2017 – an increase from 13,603 in 2016. Of the rental units authorities to Irish Water under a Service Level Agreement (SLA) inspected in 2017, 79% were found to be non-compliant with with each local authority. In 2017, a total of 58,100 samples were current standards. taken at private water schemes of which 98% were compliant. Building Standards: There was a 34% increase in new buildings Environment: Local authorities carry out a broad range of notified to local authorities during 2017, leading to a 37.5% environmental services including street, park and beach cleaning, increase in the number of buildings inspected by local authorities litter services, veterinary services, cleaning graffiti, road cleaning, during the year. management of recycling centres and civic amenity sites, and In total, local authorities were notified of 17,321 new management of landfill sites. They also play a regulatory role in buildings in 2017 and carried out 4,431 inspections; 80% of relation to waste collection. In 2017, 66,491 pollution complaints planning decisions made by local authorities that were appealed were made to local authorities. In 2017, 80% of areas surveyed to An Bord Pleanala in 2017 were confirmed. were found to be unpolluted, litter free or slightly polluted. Roads: Local authorities manage and maintain 95,574km of Community Organisations and Youth: In 2017, 13,329 regional and local roads throughout Ireland. In 2017, local community organisations were involved in their local Public authorities and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Participation Network (PPN) an increase of 1,414 during the invested: • €52.7 million in works to strengthen 329km of regional roads; year. In 2017, 69% of second level schools participated in Youth Councils. • €114 million to strengthen 1,557km of local roads; • €11.6 million to reseal 380km of regional roads; • €31.9 million to reseal 1,768km of local roads; • The number of online motor tax transactions from 2013 to 2017 increased by 42% to 3,631,289 transactions in total. Economic Development and Employment: Local authorities play an expanded and significant role in relation to economic development. In addition to adopting and co-ordinating the implementation of Local Economic and Community Plans (LCEPs) and the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, the sector provides planning and development services, physical infrastructure and supports social enterprise. The sector also delivers a range of festivals, events and place branding, bringing tourism to cities towns and villages throughout Ireland. The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are central to local economic development. In 2017, the LEOs assisted businesses to create 3,252 whole time equivalent jobs. The total number of participants in LEO mentoring programmes in 2017 was 8,393. The number of Trading Online Vouchers approved by LEOs in 2017 was 1,189

There was a 34% increase in new buildings notified to local authorities during 2017.



The performance indicators are categorised by housing, roads, water, waste/environment, planning, fire services, library/ recreation, youth/community, corporate, finance and economic development. While the indicators address the core functions of local authorities, it is acknowledged by NOAC that they do not reflect the extensive range of services delivered by city and county councils throughout the State. Housing Figures: Within the NOAC report, there is some variation between figures recorded by local authorities for additions to stock in 2017 and output figures reported by the DHPLG. The report notes a number of valid reasons for these differences including: • Part V Units, which are recorded differently by local authorities and DHPLG: • Local Authority Mortgage to Rent Units, and Repossessed or Voluntarily Surrendered units, which appear in local authority stock figures but not new output in DHPLG figures; • Units purchased from local authority own resources, which DHPLG may not have been advised of; • Units inadvertently omitted from previous local authorities returns that are reconciled in DHPLG figures laterally; • Units which inadvertently incorrectly counted by DHPLG as output due to a change in the categorisation of turnkey units from acquisitions to new build for 2017.

Local authorities manage and maintain over 95,570km of regional and local roads throughout Ireland. Fire and Emergency Services: Mobilisation time for fire and emergency services improved in 2017. The average time to mobilise the fire brigade in response to a fire was 1 minutes 27 seconds in full-time stations and 5 minutes 29 seconds in parttime fire stations. The average mobilisation time for a non-fire incident was 1 minute 35 seconds in full-time stations and 5 minutes 32 seconds in part time fire stations. A total of 40.5% of fire scenes were attended within 10 minutes, while 44.7% were attended within 10-20 minutes. Local Authority Staffing: The number of whole-time equivalent staff working in local authorities fell from 35,007 in 2008 to 27,380 in 2017, a reduction of 22%. The reduction rate slowed between 2013 and 2015; with small increase in staffing levels in 2016 and 2017.

Mobilisation time for fire and emergency services improved during 2017.

Libraries: There were 16,935,372 visits to libraries during 2017, while 13,920,251 items were borrowed from libraries. ABOUT THE NOAC REPORT The National Oversight Audit Commissioner (NOAC) Local Authority Performance Indicator Report 2017 ( presents performance indicators for the local authority sector in Ireland in 2017. The indicators are collected and analysed by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) on behalf of the NOAC as part of the Commission’s role in monitoring the performance of local authorities. This report presents the performance of local authorities in 2017 using 35 indicators identified by NOAC. 128

About the LGMA: The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), a state agency of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, was established in 2012 to provide a range of services to the Local Government Sector. The aims of the Agency are to meet the needs of local authorities and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) in delivering on the public sector reform agenda in the local government sector (particularly in terms of sectoral approaches to service delivery), researching emerging and identified issues, assisting local authorities in the implementation and measurement of change, and supporting enhanced performance by the local government sector.

For more information about the LGMA visit



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