Today (March 26th 2021), the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021-2025 is being launched by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien T.D., together with Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan T.D. and Minister of State for Forestry, Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett.
The new All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP) represents the second phase of this very successful project. It presents a five-year roadmap that aims to help bees, other pollinating insects and our wider biodiversity by engaging communities, local authorities, farmers, schools and businesses, among others, to take action for nature. There are 186 actions to help biodiversity that:
Welcoming the publication, Minister Darragh O’Brien said:
“I’m delighted to be launching the second phase of this important initiative, which builds on the considerable success of the first All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. One third of our 98 wild bee species are threatened with extinction. Ireland was one of the first countries in Europe to address these declines and the ambition outlined in this new Plan will help to establish us as a global leader in pollinator conservation. I would like to encourage everyone to read the Plan and do what they can to take action for pollinators.”
Reflecting on the value of bottom-up action for nature, Minister Malcolm Noonan said:
“The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is an inspiring example of what can be achieved by empowering all sectors of society to get involved in science-based action for nature. Whether by planting native trees, providing nesting habitat, letting the grass grow or reducing pesticide use, the Plan makes it easy for everyone – rural or urban, young or old, expert or novice – to get involved in biodiversity conservation. Not only is this important for wildlife, it’s also important for people: connecting communities, encouraging outdoor activity and supporting hands-on practical action. I welcome my Department’s funding of a Project Officer to support the implementation of the Plan and implore everyone to get behind what is now very much a national effort to protect our pollinators.”
Commenting on the importance of supporting farmers to take action for wild pollinators, Minister Pippa Hackett said:
“Farmers and farmland do a vital job in managing land for our wild pollinators. Their role needs to be both recognised and celebrated, and I believe this new All-Ireland Pollinator Plan will work to do that, by encouraging farmer engagement, and improving awareness and uptake of pollinator actions. This will then bring about landscape level change for wild pollinators and for wider biodiversity. I am therefore delighted to support the plan. My Department’s funding of a Farmland Project Officer to support the implementation of the farmland actions is also a welcome addition to it and I look forward to seeing great success for the plan as it moves into the next phase.”
In addition to launching the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, Ministers O’Brien, Noonan and Burke at the Department of Housing jointly issued a letter to all Local Authorities and Councillors, requesting them to consider what they can to support pollinators on their own lands, particularly in the important early Spring season.
Commenting on the importance of local authority engagement in pollinator action, Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke, said:
“Local Authorities have proven to be valuable partners in the success of the last All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. Many are making changes in how they manage public areas, encouraging communities to participate, and in raising awareness. As Minister for Local Government, I want to encourage our Councils to play an equally active role in this new Plan and support enhanced ambition for heritage and biodiversity in the coming years.”
For more information, see www.pollinators.ie.
Notes for editors:
Local Minister Darragh O’Brien TD has met with the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, to discuss the need for new school buildings, the lack of spaces for children in certain areas and the issues surrounding feeder schools in North County Dublin.
Minister O’Brien welcomed the opportunity to speak with his Cabinet colleague about the issues which constituents have raised with him.
Commenting he said, “The need for new school buildings, the lack of spaces for children in certain areas and the issues surrounding feeder schools are just some of the matters we discussed.
“I impressed upon the Minister the fact that we do have very unique educational needs here in North County Dublin. We have the youngest and fastest growing population here and securing the future education for our children is vitally important.
“I absolutely acknowledge that the impact of COVID-19 on the entire education system and the upheaval it has caused is the Minister’s priority. I also recognise the strides have been made since the Minister took office last June but it is important to keep the needs of our school children here in Fingal on the agenda and that is something I will continue to pursue,” he concluded.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and Dublin Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien, has backed proposals which would see a pathway to reopening the aviation sector established in the coming weeks.
Minister O’Brien said it was a Government priority that the sector be in a position to quickly rebound once travel restrictions were lifted.
Commenting he said, “I strongly supported a memo by my Cabinet colleagues Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Hildegarde Naughton which set out how over the coming weeks the Government will work with the aviation industry, through the National Civil Aviation Development Forum (NCADF), to develop a practical pathway that enables the quick restart of the aviation sector in Ireland.
“The advice remains that non-essential overseas travel to and from Ireland must be avoided. This week the Government will introduce new measures in terms of mandatory hotel quarantine which will of course act as a deterrent for overseas travellers. I know these measures are not compatible with a prosperous aviation industry but they are short-term measures which we need to take to keep people safe as we accelerate the vaccination rollout.
“When the time comes for these restrictive measures to be relaxed we need to have an aviation sector which is ready to mobilise straight away.
“While the supports provided by the Government to date, including a wage subsidy scheme, grants, low-cost loans, a commercial rates waiver, deferred tax liabilities and sectoral specific supports, have gone some way to assisting the industry, there is no substitute for a thriving aviation sector.
“I am in regular contact with Minister Ryan and Minister Naughton and I understand a special meeting of the Steering Committee of the NCADF was convened earlier this month to provide an opportunity for members of the Committee, together with leaders from Irish aviation, to discuss the recovery of the sector. There is a broad consensus on the need to develop plans for the reopening of international travel as soon as circumstances allow – something which I, and this Government is very supportive of.
“I have always and continue to be a strong and ardent supporter of our aviation sector and Dublin airport in particular. Dublin airport is a major economic driver for this region and our country as a whole. It is directly responsible for approximately 20,000 jobs with a further 115,000 indirectly. I recognise that thousands of cabin crew, ground crew, pilots and many others have been on reduced salaries since this pandemic began. Like many other people they want a plan and the Government will work with the NCADF to provide one. As an island nation, connectivity to Europe and the World is imperative. Having our airport and airlines back fully operational when safe to do so will be an important driver for economic recovery,” he concluded.
Ministers pledge further action to deliver energy efficient homes, offshore renewable energy and nature-based solutions for the climate
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, and his departmental colleagues Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke TD, and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD, have welcomed the recent publication of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 and pledged to deliver the Interim Climate Actions 2021 relating to their department.
The Minister’s also welcomed the approval given at Cabinet for the National Marine Planning Framework, a step identified in the Interim Climate Actions 2021 for facilitating the development of offshore wind energy. The framework will be the key decision-making tool for Government departments, State agencies, regulatory authorities and policy makers for decisions on marine activities.
Speaking this morning, Minister O’Brien said: “The Government’s publications represent a new departure in Government ambition for climate action. My Department will be to the fore in meeting the challenge of getting to net zero emissions by 2050 across a range of actions on housing, planning, marine and natural heritage protection and analysis of Ireland’s climate.
”Cabinet have now approved the National Marine Planning Framework, which will go to the Oireachtas for approval by way of resolution. The National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) is a plan which will set out, over a 20 year horizon, how we want to use, protect and enjoy our seas. The NMPF will sit at the top of the hierarchy of plans and sectoral policies for the marine area and will be critical to the deployment of offshore wind energy. This document sets out the proposed forward planning framework within which our renewable energy targets can be met.
“Delivery of energy efficient housing stock is another tool in our armoury when it comes to climate action. This year, I have allocated €65 million for retrofitting about 2,400 social homes to a B2 or equivalent Building Energy Rating. That work will make homes warmer, more comfortable and more efficient to heat, and will help protect householders’ health through better air quality. Recent Nearly Zero Energy Building Regulations for new builds are making all new residential dwellings 70% more energy efficient than performance requirements in 2005. The requirements for buildings undergoing major renovation - where more than 25% of the surface area is renovated - to achieve a B2 BER or equivalent, will also significantly improve the energy performance of existing dwellings.”
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, spoke about the role of protecting the natural heritage and marine in taking action against climate change. “The sustainable management and conservation of Ireland’s natural and built heritage has a critical role to play in our response to the climate and biodiversity emergency. My Department is working with Bord na Móna and other State agencies, landowners, farmers and a range of partners - as well as community groups and other stakeholders - on a number of peatlands restoration and management projects that will help lock carbon in by the restoration of raised bog and blanket bog habitats, and also through the rehabilitation of previously exploited industrial peatlands. We are also supporting research projects to assess the condition of Irish peatlands, their role in carbon cycling and the impact on national greenhouse gas emissions. Continued implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021 is another climate-related priority of mine.
“In addition to conserving marine species and habitats, Marine Protected Areas can reduce the effects of climate change and ocean acidification. Our current work aimed at creating a network of Marine Protected Areas constituting 30% of Ireland’s maritime area will also play a part in national action on climate.”
Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD, spoke of the Department’s role in reforming the planning system as part of decarbonisation. “The planning system is central to enabling decarbonisation. A central reform will be the enactment of legislation to give a legal underpinning to the new marine planning system. The Government intends publishing the Maritime Area Planning Bill in April and this Bill, when enacted, will be critical to facilitating offshore wind energy. The new marine planning system will balance our huge offshore wind energy potential with the need to protect our marine environment. I recently signed into law regulations increasing the exemptions for specified electric vehicle charging infrastructure for on-street and off-street parking locations from the requirement to obtain planning permission. I also intend to publish revised planning guidelines on wind energy developments and further exempted development regulations on solar panels as soon as practicable.”
Minister O’Brien also highlighted the role of Met Éireann, a division of the department, in national work related to climate change. “Met Éireann’s scientists continue to help us improve our understanding of Ireland’s changing climate and to co-create and deliver climate services. They will provide tools that enhance our knowledge and understanding of the impacts of climate on our decisions and actions. A changing climate will indeed affect all of us in Ireland. In that context, Met Éireann and its partners’ work in providing and analysing the latest climate information and projections to help Irish society develop plans to adapt to climate change and future extreme weather.”
Note to editors
United States and Ireland Sign Sister Park Agreement United States and Ireland Sign Sister Park Agreement
The arrangement pairs Killarney National Park in County Kerry and Glacier National Park in Montana, USA.
DUBLIN – An agreement signed today in a virtual ceremony establishes Glacier National Park in Montana, USA, and Killarney National Park in County Kerry, Ireland, as “sister parks”. The arrangement furthers international cooperation between the two countries and facilitates collaboration related to the management these cherished, protected places.
Killarney National Park, managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of Ireland’s Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and Glacier National Park, managed by the U.S. National Park Service, have common issues including heavy visitation, controlling exotic and invasive species, outreach with local communities, ecological monitoring, and partnership agreements. The parks will share best practices through the exchange of technical and professional knowledge, data, technology, training, and possible site visits.
“I am delighted that my Department – through the National Parks and Wildlife Service – is entering into a Sister Parks arrangement with U.S. National Park Service by developing best practices and establishing closer links between Killarney National Park and Glacier National Park, Montana. In doing so we will enrich the experience and capacity of the personnel of both Parks through exchanges of staff and best practices,” said Ireland’s Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien.
“The collaborative nature of this partnership provides an excellent opportunity to exchange lessons learned related to recreation, preservation and resource management,” said Shawn Benge, Deputy Director of the National Park Service, exercising the authority of the Director. “We are excited about the possibilities to work together and learn from each other.”
“From today, both Killarney National Park and Glacier National Park will aim to capitalise on the significant networking knowledge and sharing opportunities this agreement supports. Given the natural and cultural resources protected and presented by both organisations, as well as our respective mandates, it is my hope that we use our arrangement as a joint and thus stronger voice to highlight the challenges not only in these two parks but across our nations,” said Ireland’s Minister of State for Heritage at the Department Malcolm Noonan.
“As the world’s first international peace park with Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, Glacier National Park has a proud history of working with partners beyond our borders to exchange best practices and to learn from one another,” said Jeff Mow, Glacier National Park Superintendent. “We look forward to adding to our history and collaborating with Killarney National Park.”
The agreement lasts for five years and may be extended or modified by the participants. The new sister park relationship joins more than three dozen that exist between U.S. national parks and national parks and protected areas in other countries.
Revitalising Cork – Taoiseach and O’Brien announce €405 million for Regeneration Projects in City and County
Revitalising Cork – Taoiseach and O’Brien announce €405 million for Regeneration Projects in City and County
- €353 million to be invested in Cork Docklands Project
- €47 million Grand Parade project includes new 7,700m² city library with aim of 1 million visits a year
- Funding for Mallow Town Centre renewal
- €1.3 billion total investment across Ireland through URDF ‘Call 2’ funding
An Taoiseach, Michéal Martin TD, and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, have today announced €405 million in funding for four regeneration projects in Co. Cork.
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. Cork City Council and Cork County Council, which will deliver these multi-annual projects, will receive this funding.
The projects which will be supported under the URDF are:
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will now contact the local authorities on the next steps regarding funding. Today’s announcement concludes the total URDF ‘Call 2’ allocations with a total of €1.306 billion being allocated across the country.
Announcing the funding allocations for Co. Cork this morning, An Taoiseach Michéal Martin said: “This significant investment of over €400m we are announcing today is a game changer for Cork and positions the city for major growth over the next decades.
“It’s all about making Cork City and County even better places in which to work, live, visit and invest. The Cork City Docklands Project investment of €353m will transform the recreational, residential and commercial areas, and prime the docklands for significant follow up private sector development.
“It provides funding for the new Marina Park, it provides funding for cycleways, walkways and the Eastern Gateway Bridge, which will further improve connectivity.
“The investment will transform the Grand Parade with over €50m for a new public library, a new central plaza and boardwalk to facilitate cultural and recreational activities – making it one of the most attractive features in the centre of our city.
“It underpins the strategy of creating strong regional cities outside Dublin, with significant funding also for Mallow town centre regeneration, Passage West, Ringaskiddy and Carrigaline Harbour Cluster.”
Minister O’Brien added: “Urban renewal is at the heart of our funding announcement for Cork today. At their heart, these projects aim to enhance people’s quality of life and support sustainable development. I look forward to working with Cork City and Cork County Councils to progress these important projects.”
Commenting on the overall ‘Call 2’ URDF funding allocations for the nine investment regions made over the past two weeks, Minister O’Brien said. “Over the past fortnight we have announced a total of €1.3 billion in funding for a range of projects right across the country. Our focus in this round of URDF funding is compact growth. That means achieving residential and commercial growth in our larger urban settlements, supported by jobs, houses, services and amenities. I’ve been energised by the quality of projects we’re funding - funding that can be a catalyst for regeneration, development and growth. It will also provide much-needed economic stimulus and job creation across the country as our economy emerges from the depths of the pandemic,” he concluded.
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.
Note to editors
Cork City Council projects
Cork City Docklands - €353.40 million
This project will unlock Cork City Docklands potential to develop as a vibrant, top-class district that will attract investment in mixed-use development, leisure and cultural facilities. The development of Cork City Docklands is a key element of Cork City’s ambitious plans to achieve compact urban growth. The works to be supported include:
Grand Parade Quarter - €46.05 million
This project will bring about the regeneration of the Grand Parade Quarter, an underutilised area of Cork City. This is the follow-on capital element to the design phase project supported by the URDF ‘Call 1’ funding. The development of the Grand Parade Quarter will be transformative and will combine with other complementary developments in the area to create a vibrant quarter where culture and learning acts as a catalyst for business and tourism. Works will include:
URDF funding for Cork City Council to date:
The €399.45 million in approved funding is in addition to €3.42 million in approved URDF funding for four ‘Call 1’ projects: ‘Beamish and Crawford / Grand Parade Quarter’; ‘Cork City Docklands’; and ‘Kent Station Yard (Site enabling)’ and ‘Tivoli Docks’.
Total URDF funding approved to date: €402.88 million
Cork County Council projects
Mallow Town Centre Regeneration - €4.70 million
This project’s overarching aim is stimulating town centre renewal and creating a more liveable and attractive town centre.
This project supports the delivery of key, strategic town centre transformative projects targeted in Mallow town, along with two pilot schemes. The two pilot schemes involve building re-use interventions in order to assess if such interventions can stimulate private sector interest and/or activity, to address some of the key challenges facing town centres. Works to be supported include:
· Mallow Castle Visitor Destination Development – appointment of a design team to progress the design and business case for the development of a visitor destination development at Mallow Castle.
· Mallow Main Street Public Realm – design team to develop an overall public realm plan for Davis Street and key laneways in Mallow town. This will animate and create an attractive, vibrant and welcoming sense of place in Mallow Town Centre. It will improve linkages between key services and amenities. The public realm plan will have a specific focus on developing Mallow’s overall “place-making” identity through the development of key anchor, heritage-led visual interpretative elements.
· Pilot retail/commercial incubator scheme – to incentivise the establishment of new independent retailers and/or offices in Mallow town centre.
· Pilot vacant property/brownfield redevelopment scheme – to support the financial viability and regeneration of town centre vacant property/brownfield sites for energy efficient or zero-carbon social infrastructure developments.
Passage West - Ringaskiddy - Carrigaline Harbour Cluster - €817,500
This project covers project planning and design and the initial site assembly to facilitate the future delivery of a suite of co-ordinated and linked transformative projects. Those projects will be targeted at the towns of Carrigaline and Passage West, which, together with Ringaskiddy, form a key spatial cluster adjoining Cork Harbour. Works include:
URDF funding for Cork County Council to date:
The €5.52 million in approved funding is in addition to €10.94 million in approved URDF funding for seven ‘Call 1’ projects: ‘Carrigaline Western Relief Road’; ‘Midleton Main Street Public Realm Improvements’; and ‘Midleton Permeability Package of Proposals’; ‘Cobh UEA - Public Realm - Diaspora Centre’; ‘Carrigaline Public Realm’; ‘Carrigtwohill’ and ‘Mallow Town Regeneration’
Total URDF funding approved to date: €16.46 million
Analysis of Cork needs
Cork already performs well as a major urban centre in Ireland. The city has positioned itself as an emerging medium-sized European centre of growth and innovation. Building on this potential is critical to further enhancing Ireland’s metropolitan profile. One of the greatest challenges in achieving significant growth that will move the Cork metropolitan region to the next level is addressing the long-term decline of the City’s urban population. There is positive evidence of this trend changing in the 2016 Census but it will continue to be important to attract additional people and jobs to existing, established parts of the City.
It is also necessary to grow and diversify Cork’s towns. A key part of addressing this is an enhanced urban environment. This includes better housing choice and quality, new employment locations, improved public spaces, enhanced public transport as well as safe and pleasant options for walking and cycling.
Urban Regeneration and Development Fund
· The URDF is one of four funds established under the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027. It has an allocation of €2 billion to 2027. Its aim is to support more compact and sustainable development in Ireland’s five cities and other large urban areas. Funding is aimed at projects that support the NDP objectives and the NPF’s ten ‘national strategic outcomes’, which include compact growth; enhanced regional accessibility; and sustainable mobility. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is responsible for administering the URDF.
The four chosen projects are consistent with the Southern Regional Assembly’s Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy and the Cork Area Strategic Plan.
· Through the URDF, successful applicants receive targeted, integrated funding for innovative solutions to issues that have hindered urban regeneration and rejuvenation. The fund part-funds projects that will deliver a greater proportion of residential and mixed-use development within the existing built-up footprints of cities and large towns.
· The URDF’s significant capital investment acts as a catalyst for wider regeneration, development and growth. The IDA has already acknowledged the URDF’s important role in creating a sense of place, something considered essential for increasing Ireland’s attractiveness to foreign investment and strengthening opportunities for indigenous enterprise.
· URDF ‘Call 1’ funding: The URDF is already providing assistance for major regeneration projects in Ireland’s larger urban areas. Under ‘Call 1’ of the URDF, 87 projects are being funded. Details were announced in November 2018. These projects are spread across the regions and span a number of the NPF’s objectives. The total provisional allocations to date in respect of these 87 projects is just under €300m.
· URDF ‘Call 2’ funding: a second call for funding proposals was announced in January 2020. It focused on (1) integrated urban developments (2) strategic development areas combining a number of elements and (3) schemes that support wider climate action objectives and quality of life factors within cities and towns. Projects aim to deliver compact growth whilst ensuring more of our urban areas become attractive and vibrant places in which to live, work, visit and invest. Minister O’Brien has announced a total of €1.3 billion funding across the nine Project Ireland investment regions under ‘Call 2’.
· More information on the URDF is available at: www.gov.ie/urdf