The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, today announced €437 million in funding for six regeneration projects in the South-West investment region of Cork and Kerry. 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:

· Cork City Docklands (Cork City Council) – €353.4 million

· Grand Parade Quarter (Cork City Council) – €46.05 million

· Mallow Town Centre Regeneration (Cork County Council) – €4.7 million

· Passage West – Ringaskiddy – Carrigaline Harbour Cluster (Cork County Council) – €817,500

· Destination Killarney (Kerry County Council) – €16.06 million

· Positioning Tralee as a Regional Economic Driver & Destination Town (Kerry County Council) – €15.93 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 allocations this morning, Minister O’Brien said: “This funding will support projects in Cork and Kerry that will enhance quality of life for many people. The projects are all about making these areas more attractive places in which to live, work, visit and invest.

“The Government is today committing to funding two major regeneration projects in Cork City that can transform areas of great potential into vibrant places, underpinned by essential infrastructure that is being provided by the URDF.

“Town centre renewal is the focus of the project the Government is funding in Mallow. The public realm plan for the town will help improve linkages between key services and amenities. The project’s pilot scheme to incentivise establishment of new independent retailers or offices in the town centre provides economic opportunity.

“Making places more attractive to visit and invest are among the URDF aims. The visitor experience is at the heart of the project in Killarney. I believe this project will

enhance the visitor experience in the town’s centre, which in turn will bring economic benefit. Through a range of works, Tralee’s project will open up new development opportunities, both residential and commercial, including on vacant land. That is the kind of compact growth we want to achieve through the URDF across the country.

“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 Cork and Kerry as our economy emerges from the depths of the pandemic.”

Commenting on this round of URDF funding, Minister O’Brien said: “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. As well as compact growth, the fund supports our other national planning aims. 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 Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Kerry County Council to progress these important projects.”

He concluded: “I understand there will be some disappointment in terms of projects which were unsuccessful. 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.