Revitalising the Mid-West – O’Brien announces €130 million for Regeneration Projects

  • €73.4 million to develop world-class waterfront along the Shannon
  • Nenagh’s Sustainable Energy Centre of Excellence expected to create more than 350 jobs
  • Pedestrian-focused public realm works for Ennis

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today announced €130 million in funding for four regeneration projects in the Mid-West investment region of Clare, Limerick and Tipperary. The projects are being funded under ‘Call 2’ of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF). The URDF part-funds projects aimed at enhancing urban areas to make them more attractive places in which to live, work, visit and invest. The three local authorities, which will deliver these multi-annual projects, will receive this funding.

The projects for which URDF support have been approved are:

• Ennis Town Centre Public Realm Regeneration (Clare County Council) – €4.04 million

• Worldclass Waterfront (Limerick City and County Council) – €73.4 million

• Living Limerick City Centre Initiative (Limerick City and County Council) – €42.61 million

• A Pathway to a Low-Carbon Society: A Centre for Excellence for Sustainable Energy for transformational urban regeneration of Nenagh Town Centre (Tipperary County Council) – €9.52 million

The Department will now contact the local authorities on the next steps regarding funding. All selected projects support the National Planning Framework’s ‘national strategic outcome’ of compact growth, a particular focus of the second call for URDF proposals. The URDF aims to facilitate a greater proportion of residential and commercial development, supported by infrastructure, services and amenities, within the existing built-up areas of larger urban settlements.

Announcing the provisional funding allocations this morning, Minister O’Brien said:

“This funding will support projects in the Mid-West that will enhance the quality of life for many people. The projects are all about making these areas even more attractive places in which to live, work, visit and invest.

“The projects I have announced funding for today have a broad mix of objectives that support the Government’s national planning aims. The project in Ennis will help create a more attractive pedestrian environment, thereby helping improving quality of life for those who live, work and visit the town.”

“Both Limerick projects are extremely exciting and will result in new opportunities such as a digital innovation cluster and a world-class waterfront along the Shannon. The Living Georgian City Programme will focus on creating new economic opportunities from derelict buildings in a city that has seen high levels of buildings vacancy over the years.”

“Everyone’s future is low-carbon and the funding I am announcing for a centre of excellence for sustainable energy in Nenagh will marry the twin aims of sustainability and economic opportunity. The new centre of excellence will help the national transition to a low-carbon future, one of the Government’s national planning aims. It also has the potential to create hundreds of jobs, providing economic stimulus to Nenagh.”

“Overall, I believe this funding can be a catalyst for regeneration, development and growth. It will also provide much-needed economic stimulus and job creation in the Mid-West as our economy emerges from the depths of the pandemic.”

“Compact growth was the focus of this round of URDF funding. The projects the Government is funding are geared towards sustainable growth of our urban settlements, supported by jobs, houses, services and amenities, as envisaged by the National Planning Framework – in that sense the URDF is a unique approach to Government funding. Whilst many Government-funded programmes are for specific types of projects, the URDF funds a diverse set of integrated projects with integrated aims. I look forward to working with Clare, Limerick City and County, and Tipperary County Councils to progress these important projects.

The Minister concluded:

“I understand there will be some disappointment in terms of projects which were unsuccessful and my Department will engage with local authorities and provide feedback in respect of unsuccessful proposals.”

The projects were chosen after a rigorous assessment process, overseen by a project advisory board consisting of Government departments, State agencies and national and international experts in areas such as building, architecture and planning. In total, the department received 76 project proposals. Each local authority submitted at least one application. Today’s announcement honours the Programme for Government commitment to continue the URDF.

Clare County Council project

Ennis Town Centre Public Realm Regeneration – €4.04 million

The project forms the next phase of works that will contribute to achieving an overall vision of a high quality, pedestrian-focussed public realm in the medieval core of Ennis Town centre. This project continues the regeneration work of Parnell Street and the extensive network of Lanes and Bow-ways in the town, works supported under the URDF ‘Call 1’-supported ‘Parnell Street and the Lanes and Bow-ways’ project.

Works in this phase include:

• O’Connell Square, High Street and Bank Place – civic space and public realm enhancements. These will include traffic calming, resurfacing and upgraded street furniture and planting.

• Old Barrack Street and Barrack Square – traffic calming measures, street trees, public artwork, and distinctive street furniture and lighting and canopy structure as a central feature.

• O’Connell Street – connectivity to the new civic areas at O’Connell Square and Barrack Street, street furniture, lighting and trees.

These works will result in a safer and more attractive pedestrian environment. They will also result in spaces that can have a civic function. They will help revitalise the town centre as a destination, improving its vitality and enabling Ennis to capitalise on its existing assets.

URDF funding for Clare County Council to date:

The €4.04 million in approved funding is in addition to €4.10 million in approved URDF funding for three ‘Call 1’ projects: ‘The Venue Shannon (Strategic Masterplan)’; ‘Parnell Street and the Lanes and Bow-ways’; and ‘Barrack Square and Old Barrack Street and O’Connell Square and High Street’.

Total URDF funding approved to date: €8.14 million

Limerick City and County Council project

Worldclass Waterfront – €73.4 million

This is a follow-on capital element to feasibility and design works supported under the URDF’s ‘Call 1’ to develop a world class waterfront along the River Shannon close to the city centre.

This project includes:

• Cleeves Riverside Quarter – this will deliver high quality, mixed-use development involving the adaptive re-use of historic buildings for cultural/educational use, and public spaces on a key derelict site in close proximity to the city centre. The development will focus on compact city growth.

• Pedestrian Bridges and Waterfront Infrastructural Works – public realm works, proposed pedestrian bridges and re-alignment of a public road at Arthur’s Quay and Honan’s Quay. This will facilitate a comprehensive re-development at Arthur’s Quay retail area.

Living Limerick City Centre Initiative – €42.61 million

This project is about making positive, innovative and transformational change to revitalise the centre of Limerick City and supporting the objective of compact growth in a holistic and strategic manner. It is an integrated programme of urban development that will be underpinned by a programme of innovative collaboration.

The city centre is a key piece of architectural and cultural heritage. It is the driver of economic growth for the region. Over recent times it has suffered from high levels of vacancy, under-use and under-investment. Its revitalisation is identified as a transformational project in the Limerick 2030 Plan 2014.

The works to be supported include:

• Living Georgian City Programme – renew vacant and underutilised stock by embedding emerging residential, economic and employment opportunities in derelict buildings. This builds on works, including a feasibility study, supported under the URDF’s ‘Call 1’.

• Digital Innovation Cluster Programme – This component will build on the work supported under the URDF ‘Call 1’, to develop an innovation campus within the city centre to attract cutting-edge companies, start-ups, ‘Accelerators’ and other related entities. This will create a dense cluster of innovators and entrepreneurs that will support job creation across the region.

• Citizen Collaboration Programme – This will involve the development of a citizen observatory to support an active programme of citizen-led and developed solutions to liveability issues in the city centre. The programme will also transform the public realm of the city through a targeted programme of renewal. Renewal will increase footfall and support the development of the emerging economic, employment and residential models.

URDF funding for Limerick City and County Council to date:

The €116.01 million in approved funding is in addition to €9.68 million in approved URDF funding for seven ‘Call 1’ projects: ‘O’Connell Street’; ‘Digital Collaboration and Virtual Reality Centre’; ‘Worldclass Waterfront’; ‘Social and Economic Model’; ‘Living Georgian City Programme’; ‘Opera Project (Site enabling)’; ‘Digital District (Inner City Digital Hub)’.

Total URDF funding approved to date: €125.70 million

Tipperary County Council project

A Pathway to a Low-Carbon Society: A Centre for Excellence for Sustainable Energy for transformational urban regeneration of Nenagh Town Centre – €9.52 million

This project has been developed as a direct, collaborative and innovative response to deliver on the objectives of Project Ireland 2040 and the Government’s Climate Action Plan. It is a transformative public-private urban regeneration project that builds on the established economic cluster of sustainable energy agencies, businesses and professionals in Nenagh, Tipperary and the region. The project also seeks to put in place public infrastructure, civic spaces and public realm enhancement to consolidate the linkages to the town centre.

The works to be supported under this Call 2 project include:

• The development of a Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Energy – to be the anchor and catalyst for the redevelopment of the Martyr’s Road Regeneration Quarter. The Centre will host a range of public agencies working collaboratively to deliver innovative solutions, from training and development to new cutting edge research on technologies, to incubating low-carbon social enterprises. The centre has been designed to be one of Ireland’s first carbon neutral and energy positive buildings. It is expected to generate more than 350 jobs and directly contribute more than €17 million to the town’s economy over the 10 year period.

• Public Realm and Amenity Enhancement – works and enhancements to Friar Street Civic Plaza, Martyr’s Road Town Park, Martyr’s Road streetscape improvements, including cycleways.

URDF funding for Tipperary County Council to date:

The €9.52 million in approved funding is in addition to €15.98 million in approved URDF funding for two ‘Call 1’ projects: ‘Liberty Square Thurles’ and ‘Clonmel’.

Total URDF funding approved to date: €25.51 million