Local Authority Journal - Autumn 2022

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Measures contained in the Waterford City and County Development Plan 2022-2028 will help the south east county continue to grow and become an even more attractive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable place, according to the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR).






Despite government commitments to increase the delivery of social housing units, a rising number of tenants are now forced into the private rental sector, according to Colette Bennett, Economic and Social Analyst with Social Housing Ireland. She points to an urgent need to build up the social housing sector rather than subsidising a dysfunctional private rented sector.


Seventeen projects chosen for this year’s Public Service Innovation Fund, set to receive support funding of €725,000, include initiatives from Cork City Council, Dublin City Council, Waterford City & County Council, Leitrim County Council and Donegal County Council.


Fingal County Council’s unique conservation grazing project, which drafted in a group of goats (heralded as ‘little firefighters’) from Mayo to help reduce the growth of vegetation and thereby preventing the spread of wildfires near residential properties in Howth, is one of six projects from Fingal shortlisted for this year’s Excellence in Local Government Awards.

Under the terms of the new Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund scheme, first-time buyers will get grant aid of up to €30,000 to refurbish a vacant property as their principal private residence, in addition to €20,000 to convert a derelict property not previously used for residential purposes.

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) has partnered with the Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) Programme to recruit graduates with disabilities across Ireland for a variety of roles within several participating local authorities – Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Kerry and Waterford –in areas such as Human Resources, Climate and Environment, Community and Sport, Communications and ICT.

The City Edge Project – an urban regeneration partnership between Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council – is part of a national strategy to rejuvenate the western edge of the city. With significant areas of underutilised land, this part of the city could be further developed by the project to accommodate 75,000 jobs and 40,000 homes in the future.

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A key action of the Government’s Housing for All strategy to tackle Ireland’s housing crisis is that all 31 local authorities will develop their own action plans to detail social and affordable housing delivery over the next five years. So, just how well are local authority plans currently progressing nationwide.

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Dublin has been selected as one of four European capital cities to pilot the Digital Rights Governance Framework to develop a foundational educational module on digital rights, ethics and privacy targeted at young people and local authority workers across these cities, over the coming years.


An international best practice report on Dublin City Council’s new initiative to accelerate the potential of drones across Ireland’s local government sector has predicted thousands of UAV flights to be in operation by 2030, while the benefits of drone technology are increasingly realised by emergency response, public safety and environmental monitoring applications.



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 Local Authority Journal © 2022


The Government has approved over €186m of Urban Regeneration and Development Funding to support the delivery of a €2.9bn regeneration programme at Clonburris Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) in South County Dublin, which will enable over 8,700 homes to be built in the new neighbourhood for approximately 23,000 people between now and 2030.

A new initiative to strengthen democracy across Europe has seen an impressive response from capital cities across Europe, according to Helfried Carl, founder of the European Capital of Democracy initiative. A total number of 22 cities from 13 countries have applied to become the first European Capital City of Democracy.


Graphic Design: Niall Mc Hugh


Tel: Email:01-6785165info@localauthorities.ie

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Ireland’s Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, Southern Regional Assembly and UCD’s School of Geography shared best practice guidelines on improved landscape governance for sustainability with European colleagues during an international training workshop in Italy earlier this year.


Editor: Grace Heneghan

Managing Director: Patrick Aylward


A group of ‘climate champions’ who recently graduated from the first climate action course in Ireland will now become community-based environmental ambassadors. The eight-week pilot programme run by Laois County Council in partnership with Laois and Offaly Education & Training Board could now be rolled out on a nationwide basis.

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The International Energy Agency’s Head of Energy Efficiency Brian Motherway, and Formula 1’s Mark Gallagher, Change & Transformation Lead, will join AEE's Bill Kent; as the keynote speakers.AEE’s inaugural event will bring together energy managers and engineers from across Europe to engage with like-minded professionals from AEE European Chapters.

The Association of Energy Engineers inaugural AEE Europe Energy Conference and Expo will take centre stage at Dublin’s RDS (Simmonscourt) on 26-27 October.

This year’s Electric Vehicle Summit & Expo on Wednesday 9 November will bring together key influencers and change makers to the RDS to share their plans to support the delivery of 194,000 electric cars and vans by the middle of the decade.

For further information visit https://evsummit.ie




With fuel prices soaring, many drivers are making the move to EVs much sooner than initially planned, with both private and commercial vehicle owners now looking to the government and industry for the information and stability they need to make this transition.

Sponsored by SEAI, Huawei and Certification Europe, this two-day conference will feature energy leaders from European industry who will have an opportunity to engage with solution suppliers within the exhibition area.

Challenges around model supply and affordability, access to charging infrastructure, fluctuating energy costs and range anxiety are ongoing. However, with EV demand rapidly increasing and EVs being seen as one of the key avenues to achieving transport sector decarbonisation, industry and government will need to work closely together to ensure the adoption of electric vehicles is successful and sustainable.

In addition to the main conference programme this year’s summit has been expanded to include an exhibition space housing key players and innovators leading the electric change.

A variety of training workshops will run in conjunction with the event while the SEAI's Large Industry Energy Network (LIEN) will also present the latest case studies within the exhibition area. For more information visit https://aeeeuropeenergy.com/

As the electric vehicle (EV) market rapidly matures, it is a critical time for partnerships to be formed between the EV supply chain, key government representatives and the energy sector.Inresponse to the fast-paced growth of the EV market in Ireland, the 5th Annual Electric Vehicle Summit will once again provide a platform for strategic conversations, in a bid to overcome barriers to market development.

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Climate themes such as energy, transport, flood resilience, nature-based solutions, resource management and citizen engagement will take centre stage during this year’s Dublin Climate Action Week (#DCAW22) from 12 to 17 September.

The organisers said that the six-day programme aims to provide a series of “solution-focussed events” to showcase what Dublin’s local authorities can do to tackle climate change.TheMayors

The office will also support and co-ordinate a network of town regeneration officers to be appointed across 26 local authorities, who will bring a co-ordinated approach to the delivery of Town Centre First across the country and support local town teams.

Based at the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) on Dublin’s Ushers Quay and led by a National Town Centre First Co-ordinator, the new office aims to drive best practice implementation of policy actions and co-ordinate engagement with national stakeholders and the local government sector.

launched another exciting programme of events across a range of themes. We invite you to join us again in September, and each of us has a valuable contribution to make. It counts if we are all Taking Action, Together!”

The first significant step in a major new strategy to tackle vacancy, combat dereliction and breathe new life into town centres has seen the door opened to a National Town Centre First Office.


of South Dublin County Council and Fingal County Council, An Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and the Lord Mayor of Dublin City Council have jointly stated in the online programme promotional video: “Climate change continues to impact the Dublin Region, but we are working together to reach our climate targets. We’ve organised Dublin's second Climate Action Week to showcase our ongoing progress to the people of Dublin and elsewhere.

For details on the policy visit www.gov.ie/en/ publication/473d3-town-centre-first-policy/

The new Town Centre First policy aims to deliver on the objectives of ‘Housing for All’ and ‘Our Rural Future’. Its policy contains 33 unique actions to give our towns the tools and resources they need to become more viable and attractive places in which to live, work, visit and run a business.

The policy is underpinned by multi-billion-euro investment spread across major government schemes such as the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF), the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), Croí Conaithe (Towns) Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.The policy also contains a range of actions designed to achieve key objectives such as social and economic revival in towns, provision of housing, as well as addressing challenges like vacancy and derelict buildings.

The second Dublin Climate Action Week will again be organised and delivered by South Dublin County Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council in partnership with Codema (Dublin’s Energy Agency) and the Dublin Climate Action Regional Office (CARO).

“Building on the success of last year we’ve

For further information and registration details visit https://cifconference.ie/

Pia Feeney, Director Government & Infrastructure, Strategy and Transactions, EY Ireland

The Excellence in Local Government Award winners will be announced at the 19th annual ceremony on 24 November at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood, Santry. Awards will be presented for excellence in 15 different categories, while one local authority will be once again awarded the overall award and named Local Authority of the Year.

Conference Topics:

• Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer, National Transport Authority

• Economic and industry outlook

For the full shortlist visit government-awards-shortlist-announced/www.chambers.ie/news/local-

Construction sector experts will address the challenges faced and explore how industry and Government can work to ensure delivery of Ireland’s vital housing and infrastructure plans.

This year’s CIF Annual Conference, at Dublin’s Croke Park Conference Centre on Thursday 6 October, will examine how Ireland can increase the industry’s resilience to prosper in a cyclical, ever-evolving market.

• Prof Jamie Goggins, Director, National Construction Technology Centre

• Reform of the public works contract to bring it into line with international norms

• Planning review update

• Ethical supply chains and sustainability: meeting the changing needs of our clients

An extra one million people are expected to be living in Ireland by 2040, which will place huge demands on the housing market. This year’s conference will consider the moves that may be made to harness its potential to meet future needs.



• John G. Murphy, Managing Director, Murphy Ireland and President, CECA

The Minister added that local authorities had also demonstrated agility “and have been fundamental in welcoming and accommodating our Ukrainian citizens fleeing their country. In rising to the occasion our local authorities have only further proven their dedication to the communities they serve”.

Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, said that the shortlist of 80 projects represented the daily essence of the hard work and ambitious planning at local level. “We’re also delighted to reveal the shortlist for the new additions to this year’s Awards. The range of projects received for these new categories highlight the ingenuity amongst local authorities in developing new civic solutions to help Ireland become a better place to live and do business.

Niall Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer, Irish Water

Dr Avril Behan, Project Director, Build Digital Project at TU Dublin

• Creating adaptable, flexible and modern methods of construction

• Economic investment in infrastructure to create a growth Overcomingenvironment the skills gap and improving diversity in the industry

A total of 23 local authorities have been shortlisted for this year’s Excellence in Local Government Awards, across 15 categories, including new additions such as ‘Climate Change’, ‘Communications’ and ‘Diversity & Inclusion’.

Now in its 19th year, the awards scheme is held annually in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Offering his congratulations to those local authorities on the shortlist, Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD said that over the last two years, he had spoken of how they have delivered on an unprecedented global event.

He said that they had demonstrated “flexibility and adaptability to deliver on community calls and local supports for individuals suffering isolation and loneliness through the Covid pandemic”.

Conference speakers include…


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• Develop policies, plans and actions to address these issues.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has developed a new eLearning module ‘Equality and Human Rights in the Public Service’ with the aim of enabling public sector staff to understand and meet their obligations under the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty (Public Sector Duty).

1. Equality obligations of public bodies as well as supporting your exploration of equality issues facing staff and service users.

The AER Summer Academy Conference featured workshops on Ukraine, creativity and innovation, entrepreneurship and the bioeconomy, including study visits to Glenveagh National Park. The plenary sessions and study visits, based on this year’s theme ‘Europe for the Next Generation’, focused on adaptation to challenges including climate change and the war in Ukraine.

There are three units in the eLearning module:

The AER, the largest independent network of regional authorities in wider Europe, brought its flagship conference to Donegal after a two-year hiatus. The event co-hosted by Donegal County Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta include plenary sessions, workshops and study visits on this year’s


The Assembly of European Regions (AER) Summer Academy attracted over 150 delegates from 19 regions in Europe to Letterkenny for the four-day event on 29 August-1 September.


• Report annually on progress and achievements on those actions.

Theprogramme.conference featured Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach, Liam Blaney, joined by Údarás na Gaeltachta CEO, Micheál Ó hÉanaigh and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.


The IHREC’s new e-learning module provides an opportunity in which to support public bodies to implement their public sector duty, and is suitable for all public sector staff, across all grades and functions.


‘Youth and Regional Government’ was discussed by Joe McHugh TD, joined by Donegal Youth Council’s Erin Gallagher in the first plenary session. This was followed by a visit to the Guildhall, where the delegation heard from the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, Cllr Sandra Duffy, and Paddy Harte of the International Fund for Ireland, followed by a tour of the 400-year-old City Walls and Peace Bridge.


2. Human rights obligations of public bodies and support your exploration of issues facing staff and service users.

Each unit contains information to build the capacity within staff of public bodies to better understand equality and human rights concepts and principles, international and national legislation and approaches to implementing the Public Sector Duty.

3. Steps involved in implementation of the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

There is a legal obligation on public bodies have regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect the human rights of public sector staff and service users, under Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. The legislation requires public bodies to assess, address and report to: Carry out an assessment of equality and human rights issues.

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Several councils – including Kilkenny (€764,374), Dublin City (€727,123) and Offaly (€676,727) – have drawn down significant sums but local authorities in Carlow, Cavan, Louth, Westmeath, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin have not yet obtained any funding.

Since 2000, €69m earmarked for Traveller housing has gone unspent. In 2019, €8.6m of the €13m allocated was spent, while in 2018 and 2017 almost half the national allocations were not spent.

Minister of State at the Department of Housing Peter Burke said he was confident that the full allocation would be drawn down by the end of the year.

In addition to those people who have sought accommodation in the Republic after fleeing the war in Ukraine, there has also been an unprecedented surge in the number of people from other countries now seeking international protection.

Only 18 of 31 local authorities succeeded in establishing a full-time vacant home officer by the end-of-June deadline imposed by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said that 2021 and 2020 were the only years since 2014 when allocations for Traveller



Geraldine Dunne, Co-ordinator of the Southside Travellers Action Group (Stag) in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, said she found it “very hard to believe” that the authority had drawn down no funding when there was a “huge waiting list” for Traveller housing.

Just over one-third of the annual budget for Traveller-specific accommodation has been spent this year, with seven local authorities yet to draw down any funds. A total of €18m was allocated for Traveller housing this year and just €6.2m has been drawn down, according to the Department of Housing.

The latest annual ‘Traveller count’, conducted in 2020, found that an increasing number of households were living on ‘unauthorised sites’ by the side of the road in the three Dublin areas yet to draw down any funds. However, nationally, the numbers of households living by the side of the road fell by 11.5 per cent in the same period.

“There’s about 50 families in the area that would need housing,” she said. “There’s overcrowding on sites. They are doubling up on bays… in caravans and sharing facilities with other families.”

There has been an unprecedented surge in the number of people from other countries, apart from Ukraine, now also seeking international protection.


The Travellers' Halting Site in Spring Lane, Blackpool, Co. Cork. (Pic: David Keane, Irish Examiner)

housing were fully spent. Local authorities were then directed to ensure basic sanitary facilities, like running water and portaloos, were provided to Traveller households during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In response to a recent parliamentary question, the Minister responded that 13 councils have yet to appoint full-time officers; these posts are considered vital to the Coalition plan of housing huge numbers of refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the State.The 13 councils which have not completed the process are Cork County, Donegal, Carlow, Galway city, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Sligo, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow.

The establishment of such posts is seen as essential in the Government’s plan to make vacant properties available in the coming months to help accommodate the huge upsurge in refugees and asylum seekers who have arrived in the State this year.A number of vacant buildings (former religious or education properties, former hotels and former hospitals) have been earmarked as capable of offering accommodation for up to 5,355 people by International Protection Accommodation Services.

Tom McNamara, CEO of Art Data Centre (project developer), said it was great news for this data centre campus and for Clare. “The project will be a key pillar of the ‘Ennis 2040

Fingal County Council is Chair of the Dublin Region EV Charging Working Group, supporting Dublin's transition to low emission mobility; 15% of Fingal’s commercial fleet also consists of EVs which are used to reduce impact on the climate while carrying out council business.

The Ennis Campus is considered to align well with policies set out in the new Government Policy Statement on the role of data centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy.

www.fingal.ie/environment/electricvehicles/ strategy/

With construction of the Art Data Centre Campus starting this year, it will be phased in over a seven-year year period. It has access to 200 mega-watts of power from both the network grid and gas generation on site and aligns with the current CRU requirements for dispatchable power and located in an unconstrained area. The proposed site, adjacent to Ennis, was zoned in 2019 for ‘Data Centres & Power Generating Infrastructure’.The200 MW Ennis Project underpins the Government Policy Statement as it has the key infrastructure on the 145 acres including access to Grid, Main Gas Interconnector running through site which facilitates self-generation availability on site, and access to both wind and solar farms in Clare through the Grid or Private Wire.


The €450m Ennis Art Data Centre has been four years moving through various stages including strategic site assessment, zoning and planning. It will create 400 to 450 permanent jobs when the data centre campus is fully operational. Up to 1,200 will be employed in construction and 600 jobs in support services.

Ireland’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) has targeted 100% electric vehicle (EV) sales, with up to one million EVs planned to be on the road by 2030. The Dublin region represents 25% of Ireland’s car fleet and has a significant role to play in the decarbonisation of the country’s transport system.


The objective of this first EV strategy for Dublin has been to assess the infrastructure to be deployed and where, the number of charging points needed, the level of investment required over the next 10 years. It will also explore the roles that all four local authorities could play in the roll out of the infrastructure.

“There’s an estimated 34,000 people who will rely solely on public charging spaces, and this strategy is a step forward in that mission.”

Economic Plan’, launched by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Leo Varadkar in 2021.

Dublin’s four local authorities have rolled out the capital’s first EV strategy, which will see 1,650 charge points deployed across the city and county by 2025, as part of the delivery of the charge point infrastructure under the Climate Action Plan.


To download the executive summary visit

“This Ennis project fulfils the Government’s key requirements immediately while state bodies, regulators and the electricity sector work to upgrade infrastructure, connect more renewable energy and ensure security of supply,” McNamara said.

The project will be phased in over a seven-year year period.

“The infrastructure available in the Ennis site will assist the Government in national ambitions to deliver ongoing opportunities for the country in the tech industry,” he added.

Clare County Council has granted planning permission to the new Art Data Centre Campus in Ennis, which is the first one to be approved following publication of the Government’s new data centre policy.

Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council are working together to deploy EV charging infrastructure to support and accelerate this transition.

According to David Storey, Fingal’s Director of Services for Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel: “There is a need for significant improvement in the number and type of charging points across Dublin. It’s important that we support people as they transition to using electric vehicles.”

He said the varying needs of those who live in places where they cannot easily plug their vehicle in to charge should be considered.



Having replaced the Rebuilding Ireland Strategy, which was launched in 2016, the Housing for All plan has been dubbed the “single largest investment in housing since the 1960s”. The scheme contains 213 actions which will deliver a range of housing options for families, couples and individuals.Itissupported by an investment package of over €4 billion per year. This is through an overall combination of €12 billion in direct Exchequer funding, €5 billion in funding through the Housing Finance Agency and €3.5 billion in funding through the Land Development Agency.Amajor component of ‘Housing for All’ is that these housing delivery action plans are consistent with the relevant adopted Development Plan for each local authority area and any associated environmental assessments.Theseplans are to set out the alignment of the Housing Delivery Action Plan with the National Planning Framework, in particular compact growth objectives. The location of where housing will be delivered to be outlined (such as towns, villages, urban and rural areas) and the planned numbers of homes to be delivered in each area and by year.The plans should also outline the planned delivery streams used to meet the targets, including the role of the Approved Housing Bodies, Land Development Agency (LDA) or other partners with a focus on delivery through new build.

1-, 2-,3- and 4-bedroom homes aligned with those needs, the provision of housing for people with a disability and for Age Friendly Housing.

Burns feels that while it is a challenge for local authorities to support central government in providing temporary housing solutions, the Ukrainian crisis has not impacted Fingal County Council’s progress in delivering social and affordable housing in theThecounty.North Dublin council was one of the first local authorities in Ireland to bring

The impact of COVID-19 on Fingal’s housing delivery action plans is waning, but was a factor when restrictions were in place and construction was not able to proceed. Supply in terms of contractor capacity is now under pressure to meet demand.

affordable housing development forward under the Government’s current ‘Housing for All’ policy. It has 39 affordable homes under construction in Dun Emer in Lusk, North County Dublin, where new owners are due to move in before the end of the year.“The council has further affordable housing and mixed tenure projects in the pipeline. Fingal is committed to constructing almost 1,000 new affordable homes over the next five years, including one of the largest mixed tenure developments in Church Fields, Mulhuddart.


‘Local Authority Journal’ checked out how some local authorities around the country are currently progressing with their own housing delivery action plans over the fiveyear period.

He noted that in July this year the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland reported the annualised rate of inflation is now running at 14 per cent.

Housing for All’ plan which was launched by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien TD in September 2021, has been described as the most ambitious plan in the history of the State. The plan proposes to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next ten years, and includes the delivery of 90,000 social homes, 36,000 affordable purchase homes and 18,000 cost rental homes.


The impact of construction inflation and lack of skilled labour on housing delivery action plans has been echoed by Robert Burns, Director of Housing and Community Development at Fingal County Council.

Vacant homes in the Fingal region do not appear to be a particular issue. “The level of vacancy in Fingal is quite low, being the

“This will, on its own, result in the delivery of over 1,000 social and affordable homes. We have also met our housing delivery targets since 2016 when the Rebuilding Ireland policy was introduced right through to recent years under the Housing for All policy,” according to Burns.

The Government’s 'Housing for All' strategy to tackle the housing crisis has directed all 31 local authorities to develop their own action plans, detailing social and affordable housing delivery over the next five years. So, just how well are the housing delivery action plans currently progressing in several councils across the country?


An assessment of housing types and sizes, in accordance with local needs, must include the adequate proportion of

Although the county council did not receive an allocation for affordable housing, it is currently examining its eligibility for affordable housing funding, with an application due to be submitted to the Department of Housing by the end of September 2022.

Tom Gilligan, Director of Services for Mayo County Council, was also instrumental in setting up the vacanthomes.ie initiative. “Two of the more significant housing


Annette Aspell, Director of Services at Kildare County Council, said that the targets set out in the plan shows the council’s commitment to delivering social and affordable housing for the county and “to playing our part in addressing this national challenge”.Shedescribed it as an ambitious plan with a series of key objectives to be delivered by 2026. “It is our ambition to continue working closely with our Approved Housing Body partners and with the Department of Housing to achieve these targets which will make a significant and positive impact on the supply of social and affordable housing in Kildare.”

“We’re seeing significant interest in the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund. This aims to tackle vacancy and dereliction by giving prospective homeowners a grant of up to €30,000 (€50,000 if you can prove dereliction) for the refurbishment of a vacant property for occupation as a principal private residence. Although still very much in its infancy, I anticipate the Croí Cónaithe Fund will prove very popular,” he added.

With a target to deliver 2,416 social housing homes and 226 affordable homes over the next five years, Kildare’s Housing Delivery Action Plan sets out how Kildare County Council and the AHBs will provide these new homes through direct build, turnkey and Part V Thearrangements.councilaimsto deliver a range of housing including mixed-tenure schemes, increase social housing stock and address issues such as affordability and vacancy between 2022 and 2026.

Fingal’s affordable housing scheme at Dun Emer, Lusk, Co. Dublin, where 51 homes are being built (39 affordable, 12 social) with home owners due to move in before the end of the year.

the year 2026. Mayo felt the need to be more ambitious and subsequently provided a greater target of 1,004 units for the provision of social housing.


delivery schemes include a 50-unit social housing project in Ballina which is well advanced and another 50-unit housing scheme in Westport which has gone to tender,” he said.

second lowest in the country at 17 empty dwellings per 1,000 inhabitants according to the 2016 census. I don’t believe that it is contributing to the housing crisis in any meaningful way,” he noted.

Kildare County Council’s housing delivery action plan has been described as “ambitious” with a series of key objectives to be delivered by 2026.


Mayo County Council received its delivery target for social housing of 730 units up to

“ “

Four new social housing developments, comprising 106 new homes for Cork City across Blackpool, Mahon, Pouladuff Road and Togher, were officially opened in June 2022.

In accordance with the targets as set by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Cork City Council’s Housing Delivery Action Plan will provide for the delivery of 3,934 social homes and 1,737 affordable homes across the city within the 2022-2026 timeframe.


The city council is confident, in partnership with AHBs and the LDA, that the proposed housing delivery detailed within its own Housing Delivery Action Plan can be delivered during this timeframe.

Mayo County Council’s 50-unit social housing project in Ballina, now at an advanced stage, is one of two significant housing delivery schemes in the county; while the other 50-unit housing scheme in Westport has gone to tender.

Gilligan sees the lack of suitable land as well as a shortage of skilled tradespeople within the construction sector as particular challenges. He even recalls one visit to a building project where a foreman asked if he brought any block layers with him, such was the“Inshortage.somecases, we are seeing builders not being able to access additional finance to deliver housing schemes. This is one of the significant challenges to Mayo County Council being successful in delivering its ‘Housing for All’ Plan,” he said.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Deirdre Forde, stated that this is the first plan in recent times to deliver both social and affordable homes in Cork City. “I am delighted to see such an amazing number of homes being committed to in the plan and supported by Government.”

Describing the action plan as the “most ambitious”, Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council, said the undertaking will involve considerable commitment and focus from all stakeholders, both internal and external.“Plans like this do not appear without considerable work behind the scenes,” she noted.

Cork City Council will provide 378 homes with the balance to be delivered by AHBs and the Land Development Agency (LDA) through affordable purchase and cost rental schemes. It is noted that these targets are deemed minimum affordable delivery targets.


Having replaced the Rebuilding Ireland Strategy, which was launched in 2016, the Housing for All plan has been dubbed the “single largest investment in housing since the 1960s”. The scheme contains 213 actions which will deliver a range of housing options for families, couples and individuals.

Mayo County Council is currently working on more than 34 projects which are at different stages. Before the ‘Housing for All’ plan, local authority had exceeded its overall housing targets under Rebuilding Ireland, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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At the launch of the scheme in July, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien TD, described the Croí Cónaithe Fund as “another key delivery milestone in the Government’s Housing for All plan and supporting home ownership”. He added that he was also intent on “extending the scheme further into city areas with high vacancy or dereliction in the coming months”.Where the refurbishment costs are expected to exceed the standard grant of up to €30,000, a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000 will be available for derelict properties (i.e. structurally unsound and dangerous), bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to


Those applying for the grant will be required to confirm on the application form if they are applying for the vacant property refurbishment grant alone, or the vacant property refurbishment grant including the derelict property top-up grant.Properties considered for inclusion must be vacant for two years or more and built before 1993. For the purposes of this scheme, a property is deemed to be vacant if it has been vacant and unoccupied for a period of two years or more.




a maximum of €50,000.

In the case of a top-up grant in respect of a derelict property, an independent report prepared by an appropriately qualified professional, such as a quantity surveyor or engineer, is required to be submitted along with the application confirming that the property is derelict.

An SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme Grant, which will cover works of up to €26,750, may be available in combination with this grant. The local authority must satisfy itself that proposed works are not claimed for under any other grant.

Confirmation of vacancy can be validated and verified using, for example, utility bills which can help determine vacancy periods (pattern of usage or disconnection) or such other proofs as

Proof of both vacancy and ownership will be required to support the grant payment. In terms of ownership, it is a matter for the applicant to confirm ownership with the local authority.

A local authority may give approval, in principle, to a grant application – the applicant must provide evidence of active negotiations to purchase a property, such has confirmation of engagement from the estate agency or property owner and where the owner provides such evidence as to vacancy as is required under the scheme on behalf of the applicant.

are available to the satisfaction of the local authority. Confirmation of vacancy must be validated and verified by the local authority prior to grant approval.

Under the terms of the new Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund scheme, first-time buyers will get grant aid of up to €30,000 to refurbish a vacant property for occupation as their principal private residence, including the conversion of a derelict property which has not been used for residential purposes before now.

new Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund of €50 million will be delivered through local authorities to provide grant aid to first-time buyers to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, with priority given to applications in areas where there is a high level of vacancy or dereliction.


This scheme follows a commitment under the national rural development policy ‘Our Rural Future’ for the period 2021-2025 to introduce new supports and incentives for the refurbishment of vacant properties, and complements other supports provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development. These supports include the new 2022 Building Acquisition Measure, which provides up to €400,000 to each local authority to purchase vacant and

For further information croi-conaithe-towns-fund/www.gov.ie/en/publication/c2183-visit

Such approval, in principle, shall not be confirmed as approval in full until ownership has transferred to the applicant and no drawdown may take place until such ownership has been confirmed to the satisfaction of the local


Mary Mac Mahon, IPI President

derelict buildings for future development as community assets. It also includes the broader Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which is designed to rejuvenate small rural towns and villages throughout Ireland.The government’s ‘Our Rural Future’ policy for rural Ireland seeks to implement 161 measures up to 2025 across a range of government departments and agencies.




“This scheme can revitalise towns and villages which is essential to addressing the housing crisis, but also supports sustainable development, rural regeneration, social inclusion and climate action, bringing people back to live in towns and villages where services are

Welcoming the details of the Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund, President of the Irish Planning Institute (IPI), Mary MacMahon said: “The sustainable delivery of housing is an urgent priority, and the re-use and renovation of derelict and vacant properties in our towns and villages is a key part of this.

and regenerating our towns and villages will ensure more balanced and sustainable regional development, with more opportunities away from our large cities."We also welcome the intention to expand the scheme in future to provide serviced sites for new homes, which will provide further alternatives to one-off rural housing. We hope local authorities, and their new Vacant Homes Officers, are properly resourced to make the scheme a success."


Pictured at the announcement of the new grant scheme on 14 July (l-r): Minister for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, and Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan.

On welcoming the announcement, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has described it as a “hugely important scheme” for individuals and families throughout the country who are trying to secure a Ministerhome.Humphreys said it would also play “a decisive role in addressing the issue of vacancy and dereliction facing many rural communities”. The Minister noted that by supporting people to renovate vacant properties through this new fund, “we not only support more people to live, work and raise families in rural areas, but we also revitalise these areas for everyone’s benefit”.

The Land Development Agency appreciates its partnership and collaboration with Local Authorities countrywide

Tel: 01 910 3400

Tara Street Dublin 2, Dublin

Land Development Agency


2nd Floor Ashford House

There was a heavy reliance on Covid-19 income supports among renters in the reference period, which provided a buffer for renters during this period. However, these supports have now been withdrawn, renters continue to live in precarious situations, with greater poverty risk, and fewer resources to do anything about it.

• For households in local authority accommodation, the poverty rate after housing payments is 50.5 per cent.



Social Justice Ireland has consistently argued for the prioritisation of social housing delivery. This would put over 60,000 homes back into the private rented market, which would undoubtedly have a positive impact on market rents.

One in five tenants in the private rented sector are subsidised through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), and this does not include tenants in the Rental Accommodation Scheme or those on Rent Supplement. Yet despite huge Government spending on these subsidies, the need for additional rent payments, or ‘top-ups’ are driving increases in poverty.

• For households in receipt of rent subsidies, the poverty rate after rent payments is 59.1 per cent.

Far from supporting families out of poverty, the inadequacy of housing subsidies as a social housing solution are so inadequate as to be driving greater numbers into it.

Main findings of the new report:

Despite government commitments to increase the delivery of social housing units, a rising number of tenants are now being forced into the private rental sector, according to Colette Bennett, Economic and Social Analyst with Social Justice Ireland. She points to an urgent need to build up social housing sector rather than subsidising a dysfunctional private rented sector.

This latest study shows that renters are particularly hard hit – they are more than twice as likely to be at risk of poverty before housing costs are included than owner occupiers, and more than four times more likely after housing costs are included.

• Renters are the worst affected, with 41.6 per cent at risk of poverty after housing payments.

• Lone parents are the worst affected of all household types, with an increase in the poverty rate to 51 per cent after housing payments.

‘Build to Rent’ is not the answer, as it provides lower standards for the same, or higher, costs and is increasingly used by Government to provide ‘social housing’. This must end. Government needs to do more to make homes affordable.


• People living with a long-standing health problem are also severely affected, with a poverty rate increasing from 39.1 per cent before housing costs to 53.8 per cent afterwards.

While housing affordability continues to present a serious issue in Ireland, with prospective homeowners facing increases in house prices of 15.2 per cent in the year to March 2022; rents advertised on Daft.ie increasing by 11.7 per cent annually to Q1 2022; and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) Rent Index indicating an annual growth in new rents in new tenancies of 9 per cent to Q4 2021; the poverty risk of households in receipt of housing subsidies continues to be the highest of all occupancy types.

• The overall poverty rate increases from 11.6 per cent before housing costs are included to 19 per cent after housing costs are counted – an increase of almost 371,000 people.

real number of people in poverty is 952,185 – almost one in five of the total population, according to Social Justice Ireland’s latest housing study ‘Housing Costs and Poverty 2022’

The prioritisation of social housing delivery would put over 60,000 homes back into the private rented market, according to Colette Bennett, Economic and Social Analyst with Social Justice Ireland.




the plan adoption letter, the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has commended the local authority’s ambitious targets to grow Waterford City as a regional city of scale, by accommodating an additional population of 50% to 60% by 2040 while at the same time, bringing vibrancy to Waterford’s towns and villages. The Regulator also praised the council for its clear commitment to supporting national renewable energy targets under the Climate Action Plan 2021.



One way the OPR does this is to independently assess the various stages of local authority plans to ensure they properly apply important national and regional government policies.Commenting on the new Development Plan, Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen said: “Waterford City and County Council has set clear development objectives for the city and county which focuses on sustainable social, environmental, and economic growth well into the future, with an emphasis on bringing vibrancy and resilience to the county’s villages and“Wetowns.are particularly impressed with the manner in which the plan outlines a coherent strategy for the delivery of key national planning objectives including the promotion of compact growth1 and town and village centre regeneration.”

“County development plans decide how the provision of the homes will be co-ordinated with wider employment opportunities, retail activity and community facilities. By also properly co-ordinating national, regional and local considerations in making its development plan, the members of Waterford City and County Council have taken important steps to help ensure that the towns, villages and wider rural communities develop sustainably and

Waterford City and County Council’s targets to grow the city as a regional city of scale, by accommodating an additional population of 50% to 60% by 2040, has been commended by the Office of the Planning Regulator.


He noted that, for example, in places such as Shandon and Kilrush in Dungarvan Waterford has prioritised new development on sites located close to the centre. “This reduces the need for people to travel and means that walking and cycling are viable options. The plan also contains a robust renewable energy strategy, which provides for measurable renewable energy targets, demonstrates the local authority’s clear commitment to supporting national renewable energy targets under the Climate Action Plan 2021.


Measures contained in Waterford City and County Council's Development Plan 2022-2028 will help the south east county continue to grow and become an even more attractive, prosperous, resilient and sustainable place, according to the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR).

This is the first time that a development plan prepared by Waterford City and County Council has been assessed by the OPR. Established on foot of the Mahon Tribunal Report, the OPR provides independent oversight of the planning system.

In total, the OPR made 13 recommendations and nine observations on its submission at the draft stage of the Waterford City and County Development Plan, and four recommendations in its submission at the Material Alternations stage to the council’s draft Development Plan.

Recommendations are made on matters considered to constitute a potential material breach of legislative or policy requirements, and which may affect the co-ordination of national, regional and local planning requirements. Observations are advisory and generally issue on discretionary or more minor matters.

“We are also satisfied with the manner in which the vast majority of our recommendations and observations were addressed at draft plan and material alterations stages. In some cases, while our recommendations were not fully implemented, we felt that the local authority provided good rationale for their decisions.”


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Seventeen winning projects chosen for this year’s Public Service Innovation Fund have been awarded a total of €725,000 including projects from Cork City Council, Dublin City Council, Waterford City & County Council, Leitrim County Council and Donegal County Council.

The anticipated results from this project will assist in shaping future policy decisions in the efforts of reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions associated with the retrofitting and energy consumption of social housing units, while providing quality housing and meeting the demand for additional social housing units.


Dublin City Council will establish 'BETAhood' – an online platform to enable local neighbourhoods to request and trial ‘tactical urbanism’ solutions in their area andThiscommunity.solution will also feature a budgeting framework to allow local communities to make funding decisions, that will feature operational processes for the rapid deployment of innovative trials in local neighbourhoods and communities.

Information Sharing Analysis Centres (ISACs) are non-profit organisations that provide a central resource for gathering information on cyber threats as well as allowing two-way sharing of information between the private and the public sectors.TheISAC is comprised of all 31 local authorities and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). The collaborating partners in this proposal are Cork City Council, the LGMA, the HIS Liaison Group, IVI Maynooth University and the National Cyber Security Centre.



Category: Citizen Support Innovation Project Title: BETAhood Amount Awarded: €35,000

Category: Digital Transformation


Project Category: Green & Sustainability Initiatives Project Title: Climate Ready Housing Amount Awarded: €27,000

The project aims to develop a deeper understanding in the associated requirements for the retrofitting of social housing (BER B2 or cost optimal) units, and to create a digital twin in three Dublin City Council social housing units located in Dominick Street West, Dublin 7.


he purpose of the Public Service Innovation Fund (PSIF), operated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), is to turn innovative ideas from public service organisations into reality.


Project Title: Establishing an Irish Local Government Information Sharing Analysis Centre Amount Awarded: €45,000. Cork City Council aims to create Ireland’s first Local Government Information Sharing Analysis Centre (ISAC) to counter cyber threats and allow two-way sharing of information between the private and public sectors.

Category: Citizen Support Innovation Project Title: Leitrim Connected Amount Awarded: €50,000 Leitrim County Council will use Geographic Information System (GIS)

This project will establish a theoretical baseline to measure the performance of various retrofitting strategies, monitor and measure their outcomes, identify any policy gaps and confirm any changes in energy consumption by occupants.




From 83 submissions received, a total of 17 successful projects were selected by an industry panel to receive funding across three categories –Digital Transformation, Citizen Support Innovation, plus Green and Sustainable Initiatives. Overall, the Department awarded an investment of €725,000 to support all projects.

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Louth County Council aims to develop a digital twin of the county’s road network and intends to use AI solutions to improve intelligent identification of potholes and other road defects, as well as providing valuable information on several other highway assets including traffic signs and road markings.

ArcGIS will facilitate the single entry and issue of geotargeted alerts, across multiple channels (SMS, a dedicated messaging app, social media platforms), which will be of benefit to both the agencies operating the system and the citizens of Leitrim alike. Alerts can be targeted to citizens based on several criteria such as community area, distance from a location and a route corridor.

Amount Awarded: €45,000

Project Title: A novel organic approach to the treatment and control of Japanese knotweed using microbial remediation as an alternative to pesticide use

Category: Green and Sustainable Initiatives

technology based on ArcGIS (a location-based analytics tool) to develop a new way of communicating key emergency and nonemergency information to the widest community possible.

This project seeks to promote sustainable consumption patterns by diverting waste from landfill. Waterford City & County Council will deploy sensors to bottle banks across pilot sites to manage the capacity, alerting bin companies when the bottle bank is ready to be emptied. In addition, the sensors will be used to develop an app that can be used by the public to determine the capacity of a bottle bank before they make the journey.


Project Title: Smart Bring Banks

Amount Awarded: €50,000

The data collected will be incorporated into deterioration models and lifecycle planning models aimed at forecasting future condition of the road network and the required maintenance spend.

Category: Green and Sustainable Initiatives

Amount Awarded: €47,000

Category: Green and Sustainable Initiatives

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, on announcing the recipients of the Public Service Innovation Fund 2022.



Donegal County Council proposes a novel approach to tackle the challenges posed by Japanese knotweed infestations by using a specially prepared compost. This will reduce the costs associated with its treatment and reduce its impact on the environment andJapaneseinfrastructure.knotweed is regarded as one of Ireland’s top invasive plant species. Using the results of a pilot project co-ordinated by the Inishowen Rivers Trust, this project will examine the impact of mulch and extract to reduce the growth of Japanese knotweed in a controlled manner and to identify any challenges.

Visit in-2022/www.ops.gov.ie/networks/funding/projects-fundedfor full details.

Project Title: AI Powered Road Asset Management


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Companies become WAM Leaders when they offer paid placements or internships for graduates with disabilities.

ccording to Census data from 2016, the employment rate of disabled people was about half of the rate for those without disabilities (36.5 per cent versus 72.8 per cent). Disabled people in Ireland continue to face significant gaps in employment, compared to people who do not have a disability.TheWAM work placement programme works to close the gap by supporting graduates with disabilities in the transition to the workforce, and by working with employers to ensure their recruitment practices are accessible and

recruitment and retention of people with disabilities in addition to enabling local authorities to meet their commitments, as set out in the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities.Graduates with a qualification of NFQ Level 6 and above and who meet the eligibility criteria should visit www.ahead.ie/ for information on all the roles available and details on how to apply.


The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) has partnered with the Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) Programme to recruit graduates with disabilities across Ireland for a variety of roles within several participating local authorities – Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Kerry and Waterford – in areas such as Human Resources, Climate and Environment, Community and Sport, Communications and ICT.

positions available demonstrate the breadth of roles available in the local government sector. “These roles span a whole range of areas and disciplines, including emerging and exciting areas such as climate action, communications, active travel, sport and community development.”CarolineMcGrotty, AHEAD’s Employment Manager, said: “AHEAD is delighted to be working with various local authorities across Ireland to offer fixed term, fully paid, graduate level work placements for people with disabilities.

“This partnership will hopefully lead to greater inclusion and awareness as to the

HOW THE WAM PROGRAMME WORKS AHEAD, founded in 1988, is an independent non-profit organisation working to create inclusive environments

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• Employers conduct all CV screening and interviewing in line with their mainstream practices ensuring reasonable accommodation is put in place for graduates who have specified them. AHEAD can provide disability equality or pre-interview training if required.

• When successful candidates are identified by the employer, WAM undertakes a Needs Assessment process to identify any workplace supports required by the graduate in line with the Employment Equality Act.

At the start of the placement process, employers meet with WAM to discuss the potential role available, which must be ring-fenced for graduates with disabilities through the programme.

• WAM supports all parties involved in the placement process from the beginning of the placement until its completion.

Since 2005 the WAM programme has provided over 550 placements for graduates with disabilities in some of Ireland’s largest

• WAM provides pre-placement training both face-to-face and online with the graduate, manager and mentors prior to the commencement of all placements.

There are two aspects to WAM – the Employer Network and the WAM

Placement:*TheEmployer Network

• WAM undertakes all advertising on the WAMWorks Database. Graduates must apply for the role via this database. For details visit www. ahead.ie/wamworks

companies. It worked with a wide network of employers in 2020-2021, such as Bank of Ireland, Irish Life, Dell, Public Jobs, Salesforce, Central Bank of Ireland, Bank of America, ESB, Enterprise, NTMA, UCD, PepsiCo, Diageo, VMWare and GSK.

• Employers meet with WAM to discuss the potential role available, which must be ring-fenced for graduates with disabilities through the programme.

in education and employment for people with disabilities. It established the Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) in 2005 and is currently funded by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP.The Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) work placement programme aims to promote access to the labour market for graduates with disabilities and to build the capacity of employers to integrate disability into the mainstream workplace.

* WAM Placements: These full-time roles, which must be for a minimum of six months, are mainstream graduate level placements. They offer an opportunity for the employer to gain from an enthusiastic, skilled employee while the graduate gains work experience relevant to their qualification. This is underpinned by the support of WAM’s online and

offline training programmes which form part of the placement process.


Since 2005, the programme has provided over 550 work placements for graduates with disabilities in some of Ireland’s largest companies.


is made up of WAM Leaders and the WAM Community. WAM Leaders are companies which offer placements for graduates with disabilities while the WAM Community is for employers who want to keep in touch with WAM by attending events and training.

For further details visit https://www. ahead.ie/wam and for current WAM opportunities visit currentopportunities.https://www.ahead.ie/

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• Communications (Firefighting goats in Howth)


A group of Old Irish Goats, originating from the national herd in Mulranny, Co Mayo, arrived to their new home on Howth Head last September as the first phase of the project got underway. The project is also trialling, for the first time in Ireland, the Norwegian 'no-fence' system which employs GPS tracking to define fenceless grazing areas.



• Promoting Economic Development (Fingal Skills Strategy)

* Fingal Maker space: The Fingal Maker space is a multi-use, creative and educational community space developed and funded by Fingal libraries with funding from Creative Ireland. The space houses a range of facilities and tools including laptops, a 3-D printer and a vinyl cutter.

* Fingal Skills Strategy: The first cross sector skills strategy, developed at a local level in Ireland, looks to grow the skills of the workforce in Fingal, benefiting both citizens and employers, such as developing new training courses, building relationships and links with employers, educational institutions, and other stakeholders.

• Sustainable Environment (Wildfire Management Strategy Howth Head)

Fingal County Council’s new conservation grazing project, which saw a group of goats (heralded as ‘little firefighters’) drafted in from Mayo to help reduce the growth of vegetation and prevent the spread of wildfires near residential properties in Howth, is one of six projects from Fingal shortlisted for this year’s Excellence in Local Government Awards.

Fingal’s six projects short-listed in this year’s ELG Awards:

• Sustaining the Arts (Seanchaí Micro Forest)

Fingal County Council has been nominated in six categories:

* Wildfire Management Strategy Howth Head: Fingal County Council worked with international wildfire experts, Dublin Fire Brigade and local community groups to prepare a proactive wildfire management strategy for Howth. Strategic wildfire breaks near residential properties have been created and the council initiated a goat grazing project to help reduce vegetation growth.

* Fingal Age Friendly Guide: Created through the #Keep Well Campaign to support mental health and wellbeing during 2021, the guide was delivered across the county with information on health and wellbeing, local support contacts, history and poetry, quizzes, recipes, puzzles and lots more.

• Local Authority Innovation (Fingal maker and maker space)

* Seanchaí Micro Forest: A micro forest located on the grounds of Blakestown Community School, the project saw students learn a variety of old techniques such as wood splitting and turning, digging and tree planting and mulching. Some 450 native broadleaf trees were also planted as part of the initiative.

County Council has been shortlisted across six categories for this year’s Excellence in Local Government (ELG) Awards, including a nomination for a conservation grazing project. The council launched the three-year initiative in September 2021 at the Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, in partnership with the Old Irish Goat Society.

• Age Friendly Initiative (Fingal Age Friendly Guide)

Now in their 19th year, the annual awards showcase best practice across local government and recognise the skills, hard work, innovation and enthusiasm within the sector. Held in association with Chambers Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the winners will be announced on November 24 at an awards ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry.Shepherding the ‘little firefighters’ – the new goat herd at Howth Head.

* Firefighting goats in Howth: This ground-breaking conservation grazing project was launched by Fingal County Council, which saw a group of 25 goats, originating from the national herd in Co. Mayo, helping to prevent the spread of wildfires in Howth.


For further information and updates on the City Edge Project


Unique in Ireland, the City Edge Project is a transformative initiative which aims to re-imagine the Naas Road, Ballymount and Park West areas at the western edge of Dublin City. Creating a new urban quarter, it has the potential for 40,000 new homes and 75,000 jobs, making it one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe.

partnership between Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council – is part of a national strategy to rejuvenate the western edge of the city. With significant areas of underutilised land, this part of the city could be further developed by the project to accommodate 75,000 jobs and 40,000 homes in the future.


Covering an area of ca.700 hectares of land, City Edge is strategically positioned to become an attractive urban extension of the city, where people will be able to live, work and socialise. To help achieve this, and as part of the first phase of the project, an international urban design and urban planning team was selected. visit www.cityedge.ie.

The initial phase of the project, which culminated in the formulation of the City Edge Strategic Framework in May 2022, will inform statutory plan making processes at the next stage of the City Edge Project. (See the side panel for an outline of the Strategic Framework’s main objectives).


part of a national strategy to rejuvenate Ireland’s cities and large towns, whilst concentrating new housing and employment in existing urban areas, Dublin City Council is collaborating with South Dublin County Council on this joint urban regeneration effort.

The City Edge Project – an urban regeneration

The project team is being led by Macreanor Lavington – the award-winning architects and urbanists based in London and Rotterdam – to undertake a detailed study of the area. The team will define an aspirational vision for how this part of the city can develop over the coming decades, within a green and climate resilient mixeduse urban quarter.

This project considers how the regeneration of City Edge can support the delivery of new homes to cater for the various needs of the city’s growing population, to help Dublin become a climate resilient city, accommodate the next generation of

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solutions to the City Edge Study Area and to champion future-proofing approaches that ensure the long-term success of the area. The delivery of homes and employment space are key components of this, as is positively incorporating existing businesses in the strategies for the project.


* Provides a context for the preparation of a statutory plan to provide more detailed guidance for the future development of the area.

* Seeks the support of government departments and state agencies including alignment of relevant policies and programmes and allocation of funding in order to deliver the City Edge vision; and

This work will consider how the regeneration of the Naas Road Study Area can support the delivery of many new homes to cater for the various needs of the growing population. It will also address the ways to help Dublin become a climate-resilient city, accommodate the next generation of employment and the provision of liveable spaces that connect seamlessly with the surrounding neighbourhoods.


In summary, this non-statutory document:

* Sets out high-level strategies for the regeneration of City Edge, including an overarching vision and strategic objectives;


Following detailed analysis of the area and public consultation on an Emerging Preferred Concept, the City Edge Strategic Framework was noted by the elected members of both South Dublin County Council and Dublin City Council in May and June 2022 respectively. The purpose of Framework is to set out a high-level approach and transformational trajectory for the regeneration of a new liveable, sustainable and climate resilient urban quarter.

In planning for the future of the area, the integration of existing neighbourhoods with new development will be paramount, in terms of ensuring residential amenity is protected. There will be many advantages for existing and new development including an attractive new urban setting, greatly enhanced amenities such as parks and green spaces, improved access to public transport and increased opportunities for safe walking andThecycling.National Planning Framework sets out 10 National Strategic Outcomes and Public Investment Priorities, which include topics relating to the concept of the ‘Liveable City’. These topics include Compact Growth, Sustainable Mobility, and Access to Quality Childcare, Education and Health Services.Thescale of the project will allow for a holistic approach and one that can tie in the co-ordination of many different aspects such as sustainable transport, active travel, the circular economy, social sustainability, environmental sustainability, climate change resilience, biodiversity and the potential for energy production and storage.

To view the key aspects of the Strategic Framework visit https://cityedge.ie/about

* Proposes the delivery of strategic infrastructure including streets, parks, public transport and utilities;

The City Edge Strategic Framework is a non-statutory plan, which sets the long-term, high-level strategy for the regeneration of the area over a 50year timescale. The Framework will be followed by a more comprehensive Statutory Plan in 2022/2023 that will provide more detailed policy and guidance on future development.

* Outlines a series of priority actions in the areas of legislation, policy, funding and infrastructure to facilitate the future development of City Edge;

This western edge of the city is already a cornerstone of the Dublin economy with some 1,500 businesses employing 25,000 people, alongside well-established residential communities of 5,000 people. There are also significant areas of underutilised land and in the future, this part of the city could be further developed to accommodate up to 75,000 jobs and 40,000 homes.

This area has been identified in the National Planning Framework (NPF) as a part of Dublin that is currently underutilised and has the potential to achieve Government policy in terms of compact growth, at scale. The regeneration of these lands is in accordance with national and regional planning policy as set out in the NPF and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy, which together seek to support compact growth focussed on public transport links.

The project aims to bring innovative


employment and provide liveable spaces that connect seamlessly with the surrounding CORNERSTONEneighbourhoods.OF

technology is seeing significant evolution and market growth – with widespread use across public services internationally. This is now to be seen more frequently across the Irish public sector, to enhance and support operations such as emergency response, surveying and mapping, planning and enforcement, pollution control and traffic monitoring.

Authority (IAA), Maynooth University and others come together to review current and future applications of drone technology and to maximise the benefits of these technologies. The Public Service Innovation Fund was designed to support projects like this that are driving innovation across the sector.”


Supported by the Department of Public

Expenditure and Reform’s Public Service Innovation Fund (PSIF)**, the project received €35,000 under the 2021 Public Service Innovation Fund. It has brought together key stakeholders across multiple sectors to position local government as a leader in the application of drone technologies.Onlaunching the report ‘Accelerating the Potential of Drones for Local Government ’ at Dublin City Council’s head office in June, Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment, Ossian Smyth TD, said: “I am delighted to see organisations such as Dublin City Council, the Local Government Management Association (LGMA), the Irish Aviation

This project aims to provide a focal point for drone users to work collaboratively, instilling better practice and ensuring that local authorities play a leading role in driving forward drone innovation for the local government sector.

Dublin City Council’s Smart Dublin team*, which has been leading a new initiative to accelerate the potential of drones for local government, recently launched its International Best Practice Report for Local Government.


Several key challenges relating to drone operations have been addressed, including compliance, business models, health


The benefits of drone technology are now being increasingly realised by emergency response, public safety and environmental monitoring applications. An international best practice report on Dublin City Council’s new initiative to accelerate the potential of drones across Ireland’s local government sector has predicted that thousands of such UAV flights will be in operation by 2030.

governments, fire services and emergency responders to deliver significant benefits to communities.“Weareatthe start of this revolution happening in our skies. Increased technology advances will make it possible to automate and scale these services globally, while it's only a matter of time before we see passenger services being rolled out. Paris is likely to be the first city in Europe to operate electric air taxi services, as early as 2024, in time for the Olympic“IrelandGames.andDublin are at the forefront in the use of drones across Europe thanks to progressive policies by the IAA, and programmes such as Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council showing leadership in thinking ahead and future proofing the city," he pointed out.

Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, stated that the city council’s fire services, building control and survey and mapping teams are using drone technologies to allow safer and more efficient work practices.

Leading international drone expert Philip Butterworth Hayes, joint author of the best practice report, noted that drones are being deployed globally by local


these operations it is critical that we continue to do so in a way that builds trust with our communities. I am delighted to see the Smart Dublin team drive this project with the support of such a wide range of collaborators across industry and academia,” he noted.


Philip Butterworth Hayes was joined by Prof Tim McCarthy, Maynooth University’s leading Geographical Information Science (GIS) researcher, to present their findings on drone best and emerging practices internationally and how Ireland is positioning itself. They outlined the set of recommendations to navigate and explore the opportunities this technology brings, while highlighting challenges that need to be considered, discussed and implemented.ProfMcCarthy, one of Ireland’s top drone researchers who is leading multi-million-euro projects with Science Foundation Ireland and Airbus, highlighted the importance of collaboration, if Ireland is to realise the potential of drones.

Prof Tim McCarthy, GIS researcher at Maynooth University, Jamie Cudden, DCC’s Smart City Programme Manager, with Ossian Smyth TD, Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment, who launched the report at DCC’s head office.


“As we start to consider how we scale

Concerns identified by respondents included the importance of trust (75%), privacy (54%) and safety (50%), and key issues that need to be addressed before the technology realises its full potential.

and safety, privacy and understanding innovation potential. The funding of €35,000 has supported the development of a series of best practice guides, frameworks, case studies, online learning materials and workshops for the sector, accelerating new opportunities and innovation potential for drones across Ireland.The results of a national omnibus survey of 900 respondents, released at the launch, found that 84% of respondents felt positive about drone technologies and pointed to a confidence that drones could deliver mail (67%) and takeaways (55%) across Ireland by 2025.

Success ful in growth industries. De si g n, en gi n eer and build of high te ch f aciliti e s , p l a nt s and fac torie s for l e adi ng comp ani e s worl d w i d e . Advanced Technology Facilities DisplaFlatSemiconductorsPanelysPhotovoltaicsBatteries Biopharma & Life Sciences Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology Food & SpecialtyConsumerNutritionCareChemicals Data Centers Cloud Computing Co-LocationHighPerformance Computing Enterprise

Dublin City Council’s Smart Dublin team is leading the new initiative to accelerate the potential of drones for local government. To download the report summary, click https://bit.ly/3B4jPir

“We are witnessing an increasing array of developments in the drone industry including robotic platforms, multimodal sensor technologies coupled with machine learning processors which are helping us to monitor and manage our urban spaces, delivering more efficient services and improving our overall quality of life. These new technologies and services also give rise to real opportunities, to create new jobs and drive innovation.”

The main exhibitors during the showcase at the report's launch.

*The Smart Dublin team explores emerging technologies to help future proof city services, through collaboration with academia, industry, citizens and public entities. For further information visit

**Thewww.smartdublin.ie/PSIFsupportsinnovative ideas across public service organisations, with funding from €25,000 up to €60,000 available. It is focused on impact, scalability, transferability, learning and collaboration. For further information www.ops.gov.ie/what-is-ops2020/overview/visit



“To move to the next stage there needs to be significant collaboration with local authorities, industry, the IAA, communities and other government agencies to collectively roll out these new technologies and to shape a future where drones are helping to support communities in automated environmental monitoring and specialist support services.

* The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) will guide the direction of the project as well as provide input to the development of training resources and content.

* Smart Dublin will open wider stakeholder engagement through their network of innovation and industry partners.

* Maynooth University’s U-Flyte Research Partnership will provide expert advice and research support for the delivery of this project.

* The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) will support dissemination through their wider innovation network.

Philip Butterworth-Hayes, international aerospace consultant, Minister Ossian Smyth TD, and Prof Tim McCarthy, GIS researcher at Maynooth University, pictured at the report’s launch.


Dublin has been selected as one of four European capital cities to pilot the Digital Rights Governance Framework in order to develop a foundational educational module on digital rights, ethics and privacy targeted at young people and local authority workers across these cities, over the coming years.

This follows a meeting when project partners, city representatives from Brussels, Dublin, Sofia and Tirana and other stakeholders working on digital rights came together for the announcement of the Digital Rights Governance Framework project on 25 May.

The four capital cities will receive technical advice, ad hoc support and advisory input to address the challenges related to the ethical and digital rights aspects of their local digital strategies and projects.TheCities

Dublin will collaborate with three other pilot cities over the coming months to strengthen the commitment to digital rights.

As a pilot city, Dublin will build upon its existing citizen engagement initiative – Academy of the Near Future – a joint collaboration between Dublin City Council, Smart Docklands and Trinity College Dublin’s CONNECT Centre.

recently joined the capital cities of Brussels (Belgium), Sofia (Hungary) and Tirana (Albania) to collaborate with digital governance experts to cocreate, design and pilot a Digital Rights Governance Framework. This UN-Habitat initiative has been developed as part of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights over the coming years.



It also intends to ensure the provision of digital rights with transparency, community participation and accountability at the forefront of practices, and marks a milestone for the digital rights of all citizens within the European Union.

As urban areas increasingly adopt new forms of technology and data-driven decision-making, the Framework will aim to help cities to strategically manage the opportunities and risks driven by technology.

Other objectives include the provision of secure digital services to

Coalition for Digital Rights, UN-Habitat, Eurocities and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), with support from the Open Society Foundations, developed the Framework as a technical support to uphold the human rights in the digital context of localAftergovernments.thepilotphase, the governments in the four cities will have increased the capacity to advance digital rights in their local communities and share the learnings with cities from all around the


During the session, which was held online, the panel reflected on why governing human rights in the digital environment is an urgent priority for cities, introduced the Digital Rights Governance Framework and presented the first four European cities to pilot it.


The event provided an opportunity for participating cities to showcase their existing digital rights initiatives along with their future for the upcoming Framework.

Dublin City Council’s Assistant Chief Executive Eileen Quinlivan reiterated the need for ethical data collection and the mainstreaming of human rights as the city continues its digital transformation.Shealsodrew attention to the wide selection of Smart Dublin projects already taking an active role in promoting citizens’ digital rights and inclusion in the city. Such initiatives include ‘Unheard Voices’, a community challenge that encourages citizens to engage in local consultation, and 'WiFi4EU', an open access WiFi platform that tackles unequal access to internet connectivity.


Committed to protecting human rights, the Digital Rights Governance Framework is defined by a series of key objectives ranging from improved access to affordable internet, enhanced data privacy and control over personal information.

Dublin will work with the other three pilot cities and the UN-Habitat team over the coming months to strengthen the commitment to digital rights. The initiative kicked off with two workshops in June and July, the first focusing on identifying the foundations of

Building on these workshops, the Smart Dublin team will develop an education programme for students and local authority staff centred around the themes of technology and ethics, data privacy and digital Deliveredinclusivity.through

developing policies, laws, plans and strategies that promote ethical digital service standards at the city and global level.

the framework that connect to Dublin while the second created concrete deliverables to identify a range of noted issues and opportunities for the city.

Two Smart Dublin projects now actively promoting citizens’ digital rights and inclusion: Unheard Voices – a community challenge that encourages citizens to engage in local consultation, plus WiFi4EU — an open access Wi-Fi platform that tackles unequal access to internet connectivity.



In addition to these key objectives, the project aims to open a collaborative space for cities across Europe to learn from one another as they translate the Framework’s core principles into their dailyThework.meeting in May formally introduced the Framework along with the four European capitals now set to pilot the initiative. It featured contributions from the UN-Habitat, European Commission, Eurocities, and representatives from each of the pilot cities, to reinforce the link between digital rights and human rights while emphasising the need for developing local solutions to local

Dublin’s existing education and engagement initiative – Academy of the Near Future – the programme will continuously work with communities to find local solutions to local digital rights challenges while opening a platform for citizen engagement and collaboration.


Smart Dublin – an initiative of Dublin’s four local authorities, uses new technologies to improve services and enhance quality of life in the Dublin region. For further information visit www.smartdublin.ie

USEFUL LINKS https://citiesfordigitalrights.org/selectedcitieshttps://citiesfordigitalrights.org/milestone-digital-rights-citieshttps://citiesfordigitalrights.org/frameworkhttps://citiesfordigitalrights.org/city/dublin

SDCC’s wider project to develop Clonburris SDZ comprises:

This €186.3m of funding, along with €18.8m from the National Transport Authority (NTA) for Active Travel and Public Transport, will support the delivery of this new neighbourhood at Clonburris, between Lucan, Clondalkin and Liffey Valley West Dublin.

• Open space and recreation – 15.5km of cycle ways and walkways, 3.3km of canal frontage, approximately 90 hectares of open space.

The new urban neighbourhood of Clonburris in Dublin 24, when complete, will deliver up to 9,000 new homes for 23,000 people with retail and commercial hubs, eight schools and 90 hectares of parks and open space.

• Housing – between 7,730 and 11,098 new homes, including 1,000 social homes with 120 homes to be delivered under the Social Housing PublicPrivate Partnership Programme, and approximately 1,600 affordable homes, utilising the Affordable Housing Fund.

• Employment – 31,115 square metres of employment floor space.


“Clonburris will be a well-designed town with over 8,700 homes, good transport links and vital amenities and services. Up to 2,600 of these homes will be social and affordable homes delivered by my department and South Dublin County Council."Itillustrates the ever-growing reach of the URDF in revitalising our cities and towns, improving their offering as places in which to live, work, visit or invest,” he added.


“Clonburris has the potential to be a transformative project of national, regional and local significance in terms of housing provision, regeneration of neighbouring communities, enhanced transport, and the creation of a high-quality neighbourhood in a strategic location.

As a key activator of Project Ireland 2040, the URDF is driving regeneration and rejuvenation of strategic and underutilised areas within Ireland’s five cities, key regional drivers and other large towns.

To date, the Government has provided funding or approved in principle funding of €1.6 billion for 132 projects.


Making the announcement at the end of July, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said the funding will make it possible for a new town to be built in West Dublin.

For more information visit https://clonburris.ie

Dublin County Council (SDCC) has welcomed the Cabinet’s decision to approve a Preliminary Business Case (PBC) for €186.3m of Urban Regeneration and Development Funding (URDF), following the initial approval-inprinciple in March 2021.

The URDF support will act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration and development of one of Ireland’s largest underutilised sites, as well as the wider South Dublin area and the region at large.



SDCC’s Chief Executive Daniel McLoughlin said it will support the delivery of critical infrastructure to unlock the development of a new sustainable residential community within Clonburris SDZ.

• Community facilities – eight schools, 7,300 square metres of community floor space.

The Government has approved over €186m of Urban Regeneration and Development Funding to support the delivery of a €2.9bn regeneration programme at Clonburris Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) in South County Dublin, which will enable over 8,700 homes to be built in the new neighbourhood to accommodate approximately 23,000 people between now and 2030.

“This credible delivery programme will see the construction of over 8,700 much-needed new homes, which will serve more than 23,000 people, as well as the provision of 90 hectares of new public parks, community facilities, streets and utilities between now and 2030. The ongoing delivery of this €2.9bn regeneration project will also act as key employment generator with the forecasted creation of approximately 2,360 direct new jobs.

“High level analysis demonstrates that the €186.3m Exchequer investment would leverage private sector investment of €2.9bn and generate direct tax returns of €520m. As a key landowner in Clonburris SDZ, South Dublin County Council will lead the way in delivering 2,500 homes on our own land, as well as a range of public amenities.”

• Connectivity – two train stations, future bus connects, regional linkage (M50, N7, N4).

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Run at Portlaoise Further Education and Training Centre, the course was among several initiatives highlighted as part of ‘Your Council Day’ on Friday July 1. On this day, every year local authorities raise awareness about their work on climate action.


The course – which included a session by TV presenter and environmentalist Duncan Stewart –was co-ordinated by Laois County Council and Laois and Offaly Education & Training Board.

“This course gently brings people along rather than lecturing them,” said participant and retired teacher Catherine Donlon, who is also a member of Portlaoise Tidy Towns.


Suzanne Dempsey, Laois County Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, pictured with climate course student Catherine Donlon and Laurence O'Reilly, SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities Mentor for Laois and Offaly, during the climate change course at Portlaoise Further Education and Training Centre.

“People will not accept it if you lecture them. This course offers a much softer and effective approach. It is peer-to-peer education where we talk to people around us.

“These participants will go out into the community and essentially, spread the message about climate change, with the council’s support,” according to Suzanne Dempsey, Laois County Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer.“The training is free, there is no financial reward for them, so it is all about community spirit and goodwill. Because it is peer-based, they deliver the environmental message to people who know them and trust them,” she added.The second course starts this autumn. For further information contact centre manager Lisa McEvoy at 057-8661338 or portlaoisefet@loetb.ieemail

‘Community Climate Action Champions’ will now go into their local areas to educate their peers on the steps they can take to combat the climate crisis.

reduction and sustainable living. The adult learners will now also rally neighbours to explore initiatives such as solar panels and order them as a collective rather than individually.


A group of ‘climate champions’ who recently graduated from the first climate action course in Ireland will now become community-based environmental ambassadors. The pilot programme run by Laois County Council in partnership with Laois and Offaly Education & Training Board could now be rolled out on a nationwide basis.


Suzanne Dempsey, Laois County Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, outlines one of the environmental initiatives.

Following graduation, participants have an opportunity to educate others on sustainability and to provide tips to reduce energy and waste at home, food saving, fast fashion and herbTheyplanting.alsoreceived a ‘yellow belt’ certification in lean management, which has educated them on waste

“We were allowed to bring home an energy kit to assess where we were losing heat through our windows, doors and roofs and a couple of us discovered some of our appliances were not working efficiently.”

It is hoped the course can be replicated throughout Ireland, with some tutors also exploring a Cross-Border Transition Year climate project, pairing a school in the Republic with one in Northern Ireland.

Ireland’s Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, Southern Regional Assembly and UCD’s School of Geography had the opportunity to share their best practice guidelines on improved landscape governance for sustainability with European colleagues during an international training workshop in Italy.




The first panel session on ‘analysis’ opened with a video on the Red Faith Good Practice, a methodology from Hungary which uses air borne technologies to improve the collection and analysis of forest data for decision making.

he fourth and final International Training Workshop of the Interreg Europe PROGRESS project took place in the Italian city of Florence, home of the European Landscape Convention, at the end of March.

A hybrid event, the workshop attracted over 100 participants from across Europe who learned about a range of Good Practices which have improved landscape governance for economic and environmental sustainability.

The ESM webtool is being used by Ireland’s local authorities and regional assemblies with ongoing development and training undertaken by UCD and the All-Island Research Observatory. For further information visit www.enviromap.ie.

Representatives from the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA), (Ireland’s project partner), the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA) and UCD’s School of Geography participated in the event. Attendees from a number of Irish local authorities, government departments, state agencies, NGOs and research institutes joined the event online.


Hosted by the Association of Tuscany Regions (ANCI), the event was opened by ANCI’s Marina Lauri who outlined how participation on the PROGRESS project since 2019 has informed the development of the forthcoming Italian law on mountain areas.



This was followed by three presentations of analysis tools at different scales. Ireland’s presentation featured the Environmental Sensitivity Mapping (ESM) Webtool for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and spatial planning by Associate Professor Ainhoa González, UCD’s School of Geography.“TheESM Webtool is a freely accessible, evidence-based, environmental sensitivity mapping system that efficiency saves time and cost and removes of complex IT barriers, making it ‘a game changer’, to advance practice by fostering participative, informed, and transparent decisions,” Ainhoa González noted.

The webtool is now used by Ireland’s local authorities and regional assemblies with ongoing development and training undertaken by UCD and the All-Island Research Observatory. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of the Planning Regulator, the ESM Webtool has already been included as a Good Practice model on the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform.

Massimo Rovai from the University of Pisa introduced the Italian Communities for Food and Agro-Biodiversity initiative and argued that such targeted policies are public-social agreements between public authorities, non-profits and local consumers.

Several examples of governance approaches for adaptation, around rivers and coastal climate risks, included the BeWater Project manual.

The other two presentations included the local virtual 3-D visualisation of forests to guide logging and land use decisions in Finland, and the regional management approaches in grassland landscapes in the Baltic countries.

Bryan Riney, Regional Planner at the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA), presented the findings on the Blue Green City project during the workshop’s final session.



examples of governance approaches for adaptation around rivers and coastal climate risks, including the BeWater Project manual.

Annelies Broekman, (CREAF, Catalonia) introduced several

The Forests for Water in Catalonia video opened the second session, followed by two presentations on dialogue towards agreements for more sustainable landscapes.

Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital

This was followed by a presentation by Bryan Riney, Regional Planner at the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA), on the Blue Green City project. This is a sister Interreg Europe project to PROGRESS that focuses on improving policies that promote Blue Green Infrastructure (BGI) and Nature Based Solution (NbS).Riney outlined the value of the SRA’s participation in the project. He discussed how it improves implementation of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy by identifying solutions through interregional exchange of Good Practices and working with local authorities and regional stakeholders to identify and address the challenges.

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BLUE GREEN CITY insects.ofthetowideextensivePlanIrelandproject,ofGoodacknowledgedOneofthebroadcastDataBiodiversitywithcollaborationPROGRESSdevelopedPollinatortheAPROJECTvideoonAll-IrelandPlanbyintheNationalCentrewasduringfinalsessiontheworkshop.ofthemostPracticesthePROGRESStheAll-Pollinatorisanisland-approachreversedeclinepollinating

Several Good Practice projects – including the ESM Webtool – are included in the Final Project Handbook. visit website https://projects2014-2020.interregeurope.eu/progress/ and https://twitter.com/InterregPROGRE1

More information and updates

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is an extensive island-wide approach to reverse the decline of pollinating insects. For further information visit https://pollinators.ie


The workshop concluded with a presentation on The Green Office by Attila Varga from Budapest’s Municipality of Hegyvidék. The objective of Hungary’s Small Green Space Stewardship Programme has been to provide an effective urban governance of ecosystem services.




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Following calls from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine was launched the week after Ukraine received EU candidate-country status, at the 150th CoR plenary session (29-30 June 2022).

• Building on the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, in line with the (Ukrainian) State Regional Development Strategy 2021-2027 and its planned review and evolution, as well as on the existing decentralisation framework in Ukraine.

• A strong focus on improving good local/regional governance, including transparency, fighting corruption, protecting the freedom of local media, and promoting e-government.

• Sufficient resources for promoting cluster twinning partnerships on the EU and Ukrainian side.

• Further European integration and access for Ukraine's local and regional authorities to European networks.

• To co-ordinate joint efforts, with EU cities and regions ready to deploy resources to support an effective and sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine.

• To further facilitate the contacts and cooperation of its core partners with the EU institutions and within the "Ukraine reconstruction platform", as well as between EU and Ukrainian local and regional authorities and associations.

• An effective system of multi-level governance based on the OECD principles of public investment across all levels of government.



• Empowering local self-government to take on a leadership role in the recovery and reconstruction together with Ukraine's central government, the EU and other international partners.

• A strong commitment to promoting local/regional selfgovernment, good governance and local democracy.

• Promoting the development and modernisation of the Ukrainian countryside as an important component of Ukraine's success.

• A reconstruction strategy built on integrated planning at territorial level, capitalising on systemic approaches for sustainable, green, smart and inclusive territories building on the "build back better" principle.

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) has launched the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine in conjunction with the EU and Ukrainian local and regional authorities, to coordinate their joint efforts directed towards helping the country's recovery and reconstruction.


• An inclusive approach, bringing together cities, towns, villages, communities and regions, preserving coherence with what has already been deployed for Ukraine's sustainable territorial development to date (in Ukraine and in the EU);

• An easy engagement mechanism that would enable EU/ European municipalities/regions/associations to help their Ukrainian counterparts with their reconstruction efforts.

The European Alliance was created with the following objectives:

• Unwavering support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and the right to defend its sovereignty.

While the EU and its local and regional authorities continue to provide emergency aid, they also plan to support Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction in the aftermath of the war with Russia.

The Alliance is calling for:

• To provide expertise in capacity-building, good governance, and technical assistance to cities and regions in Ukraine.

The Alliance is inviting the EIB, the EBRD, the OECD and the Council of Europe Development Bank to find solutions to facilitate working more closely with LRAs to help build a prosperous and sustainable future for Ukraine, and to strengthen local democracy and the EU shared values. The Alliance also calls for close co-operation with the upcoming EU presidencies of the Council to ensure the coherent co-ordination of local and regional actions with the EU Member States.

The Alliance is calling for the sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine built around the following principles:

• A peer-to-peer and twinning programme to strengthen capacity- building and facilitate the exchange of know-how on an equal footing.

Together with partner associations of local and regional authorities from the EU and Ukraine, the CoR has launched the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine. This will bring together cities and regions from the EU and Ukraine and their national representative associations.

• Facilitating local and regional business development and innovation.

• To provide information and feedback to the EU institutions and the "Ukraine reconstruction platform” and foster the political dialogue with the local and regional level accompanying the reconstruction efforts.


ecoming a European Capital of Democracy* is “a unique opportunity” for cities within the Council of Europe member states, according to Helfried Carl, founder of the initiative.Thecity holding this title for one year will enjoy a wide range of benefits, such as an enhanced international reputation as a centre of education and innovation, the chance to host international events and meetings of leading European politicians, and a boost to civic pride.

“Taking a stand for our European values has never been more important. The European Capital of Democracy initiative will build a strong network of cities to foster participation and a platform for hope and exercise the will and power to change our world for the better. Together with citizens, politicians, and institutions we will improve the resilience of our democratic societies.”

Every year a European Capital of Democracy will be designated as a Europe-wide initiative to strengthen democracy. Based on transparent criteria, five outstanding contenders from the nominee cities will be shortlisted. The 10,000-strong Citizens’ Jury will then select the European Capital of Democracy.Thedesignated city will curate and host a wide range of activities and events, and visitors from all over Europe will be invited to join, observe and participate in these efforts.

“This initiative seems to offer a most important focus on democratic values at exactly the right time. The democracy projects the applicant cities have presented show a very strong field of contenders. We will share an impressive scope of democratic Best Practice all over Europe which will directly benefit all participants in our network of ‘Democracy Capitals’ and have a very strong impact on increased citizen participation in Europe.”

“Cities are best placed to safeguard and develop self-government, protect the rule of law, and uphold human rights” –Helfried Carl, founder of the European Capital of Democracy initiative

He noted that the efforts to undermine European democracy have been underway for some time, pointing out that it is now literally under attack.

According to Carl, cities are incubators for democracy. “They are best placed to safeguard and develop our selfgovernment, protect the rule of law, and uphold human rights. City administrations are closest to the needs, talents, and dynamics of their populations, and their scale makes them agile and flexible,” he added.Hesaid that the response from European cities has been impressive. The largest applicant city has more than 1.6 million citizens while the smallest city has a population of 100,000 – on average the cities have a population of 340,000 inhabitants.


A total of 22 cities from 13 countries have applied to become the first European Capital of Democracy in a new initiative to strengthen democracy. The cities are located in the western, eastern, southern and northern part of Europe, including two cities located outside the EU.

* The cities will be named in September once they have outlined their democracy projects for the programme year.

The European Capital of Democracy initiative was launched by ECoD gemeinnützige GmbH together with The Innovation in Politics Institute, which is based in Vienna and Berlin with representatives in 16 European countries, including Ireland.




For further information: Stefan Sindelar shs@capitalofdemocracy.eu or visit https://capitalofdemocracy.eu

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