December decision day for €75m investment package for Clonmel

Eamon Lacey

Reporter:

Eamon Lacey

Email:

elacey@nationalist.ie

December decision day for €75m  investment package for Clonmel

A decision on approval of funding for an extraordinary €75m investment package for Clonmel is due within weeks.
Expectations are high for the decision to go Clonmel’s way when the Government announces an Urban Regeneration and Development Fund 2020 in December.
Clonmel awaits the green light on just over €56m Government funding to be drawn down over the next seven years.
If it materialises it will represent the biggest ever Government funding for Clonmel in the history of the State.
It will present a massive opportunity to transform Clonmel bringing enormous economic, social and recreational benefits making the town a better place to work and live in.
“This is a game changer for Clonmel. A lot of these projects should have been delivered over the last twenty years. Now is the time and hopes are high that Clonmel will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the URDF programme when the announcement is made in December,” said Senator Garret Ahearn.
“I am extremely hopeful that the commitment will be given in December for the €56m.
“That commitment is all important so that the money can be drawn down every year without having to apply for the funding every time,” said Senator Ahearn.
The balance of the €75m will come from match funding from Tipperary County Council, LIT and Bulmers.
The €75m would be in addition to the €8.1m already approved in the URDF programme for Clonmel.
KICKHAM BARRACKS
That €8.1m is made up of €5.5m for the new sports hub in the town and €2.6m for the first phase of the redevelopment of Kickham Barracks and in particular for the development of the civic plaza on the site.
The €75m funding is broken down into three categories.
Over half of the money, a sum of €43m, will be ploughed into the Kickham Barracks site between the development of the Limerick Institute of Technology Campus, the development of the Tipperary Education and Training Board campus and a military museum.
FLIGHTS OF DISCOVERY
Over €19m will be spent on “Flights of Discovery” which comprises of three projects - a Suir Island Amenity Park, the Dowd’s Lane Bulmers Vat House Visitor Centre and the West Gate Interpretative Centre.
PUBLIC REALM
Over €12m will go to two public realm enhancement projects for the primary retail area and adjacent streets and the development of Delahunty Square.
Work on all three of the components of the Kickham Barracks development, (along with the civic plaza) will commence in the first quarter of 2021 provided the funding is approved.
Significant progress is also expected on the “Flights of Discovery” and the public realm enhancements in 2021 following the December announcement.
“This Government funding package for Clonmel will be phenomenal, on a scale appropriate for the leading town in Tipperary This investment will ensure that Clonmel will be the driving economic force for the county,” said Senator Ahearn.
Senator Ahearn, who made an appeal to the Government in Seanad Éireann on Tuesday morning for the funding to be granted to Clonmel, said it was urgently needed.
Senator Ahearn is confident that the €56m Government funding will be approved next month.
PILOT SCHEME
“I believe the Government will make this commitment. As a result of this funding Clonmel will be used as a pilot scheme to ascertain if providing the proper investment in provincial towns will encourage people in Dublin and the main urban areas to come back to provincial towns like Clonmel to live and work.
“From my discussions with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Darragh O’Brien I understand that Clonmel is in a very strong position to get approval,” said Senator Ahearn.
“A lot of that is down to the competent job carried out by so many staff within Tipperary County Council. The standard of the projects included are exceptionally high and the council officials made a professional submission and have backed that up by making very persuasive presentations on the project to Department officials.
“The standard of the preparatory work was exemplary,” said Senator Ahearn.
The Clonmel blueprint for the transformation project comes in at a cost of €75m.
The project requires €56.3m Government funding over seven years and €19.3m in match funding.
That match funding will come from Tipperary County Council €6.4m, Limerick IT €5.3m, Department of Education and Skills €4.7m and the C&C group €1.2m.

Regeneration plan for Clonmel