€33m loan to de­velop lo­cal pro­jects

Irish Examiner - - County On The Rise - Kevin O’Neill

Towns and vil­lages through­out Cork could be in line for fur­ther works af­ter the coun­cil se­cured a multi-mil­lion loan from the Coun­cil of Europe De­vel­op­ment Bank (CEB).

The loan is worth some €33.7m and will be used to sup­port the coun­cil’s So­cial Sus­tain­abil­ity In­vest­ment Pro­gramme which has been de­vel­oped by the coun­cil to max­imise po­ten­tial growth and en­sure a sus­tain­able fu­ture for Cork County.

A broad-rang­ing port­fo­lio of pro­jects to­talling in ex­cess of €250m has been iden­ti­fied by Cork County Coun­cil and planned for de­liv­ery over an 8 to 10 year pe­riod. In or­der to de­liver on this pro­gramme, the coun­cil has been in dis­cus­sions with the CEB and has signed the frame­work of a loan agree­ment to push this for­ward.

Ur­ban in­fra­struc­ture and pub­lic spa­ces, pub­lic and cul­ture build­ings mod­erni­sa­tion, flood pro­tec­tion and drainage, broad­band and busi­ness in­cu­ba­tion, walk­ing/cy­cling fa­cil­i­ties, flood pre­ven­tion and adap­ta­tion to cli­mate change are all ex­pected to ben­e­fit from in­vest­ment. Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Line­han Fo­ley, said the loan will “con­trib­ute to en­sur­ing the con­tin­ued eco­nomic and so­cial sus­tain­abil­ity of our com­mu­ni­ties”.

“Im­prove­ments to our road net­works, en­hance­ments to our town cen­tres, flood pro­tec­tion and in­vest­ment in our her­itage and tourism ameni­ties will en­sure Cork County con­tin­ues to be a won­der­ful place to live, work, visit and en­joy for all,” she said.

Tim Lucey, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cork County Coun­cil, added, “Cork has been set a of de­liv­er­ing in the re­gion of 23% of the State’s over­all pop­u­la­tion growth by 2040. This de­mands co­or­di­nated strate­gic plan­ning and in­vest­ment. In tan­dem with cen­tral gov­ern­ment Ur­ban and Ru­ral Re­gen­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment fund­ing streams, this €33.7 mil­lion loan agree­ment with the Coun­cil of Europe De­vel­op­ment Bank will al­low us to sup­port a strate­gic in­vest­ment pro­gramme, im­ple­ment de­vel­op­ment plans, sup­port com­mu­ni­ties and drive eco­nomic per­for­mance across the en­tire county.”

It is the lat­est tranche of fund­ing avail­able for pro­jects through­out the county.

Mr Lucey ex­plained the Covid-19 pan­demic has demon­strated the need to in­vest heav­ily in lo­cal pro­jects to help lo­cal towns and vil­lages thrive. The coun­cil has es­tab­lished fund­ing streams to boost some such pro­jects.

“Cork County Coun­cil’s Project ACT, although de­vel­oped as part of our re­sponse to Covid 19, has brought th­ese plans into fo­cus, il­lus­trat­ing the im­por­tance of re­ac­ti­vat­ing and re­in­forc­ing our towns and vil­lages, un­der­pin­ning our com­mu­tar­get ni­ties to achieve their full so­cial and eco­nomic po­ten­tial,” Mr Lucey said.

Speak­ing via tele-con­fer­ence link from Paris, Gover­nor of the Coun­cil of Europe De­vel­op­ment Bank (CEB), Rolf Wen­zel said they were pleased to be able to con­trib­ute to such pro­jects.

“CEB is pleased to sup­port Cork County Coun­cil’s So­cial Sus­tain­abil­ity In­vest­ment Pro­gramme,” he said.

“We were con­vinced by the Coun­cil’s sys­tem­atic ap­proach to iden­ti­fy­ing in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects that ben­e­fit the most vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions of Cork County.”

Pic­ture: Brian Lougheeed

The Coun­cil of Europe De­vel­op­ment bank signed a €33.7 mil­lion loan agree­ment with Cork County Coun­cil to sup­port the Coun­cil’s So­cial Sus­tain­abil­ity In­vest­ment Pro­gramme. The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Line­han Fo­ley with Conor Mooney (Ieft), Head of Busi­ness Trans­for­ma­tion (CEB) and Tim Lucey, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Cork County Coun­cil at the vir­tual con­tract sign­ing.

Ferry Point from Youghal quay­side. Cam­paign­ers are row­ing in be­hind plans to re­store the cross-river ferry in Youghal.

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