TD for Dublin Fingal and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed confirmation from Minister for Education Norma Foley that a four acre greenfield site at Loughshinny in Skerries has been acquired for St Michael’s House Special School.
Minister O’Brien, commended school representatives, the Board of Management, parents and staff for their work in bringing the project to fruition and said the site, which will provide permanent accommodation for the school, will be of benefit to students for generations to come.
Commenting he said, “I very much welcome this news and look forward to a permanent purpose built school to cater for the needs of St. Michael’s students.
“The school is currently based in a very old converted house and faces all of the challenges that come with that. Teachers, parents and indeed the students themselves make the absolute best they can but of course they still experience the issue of overcrowding.
“Reaching this stage is an important milestone and as a local TD I will continue to play my part in ensuring progress is made swiftly and the project proceeds at pace and without delay,” he concluded.
Local Minister and TD for Dublin Fingal Darragh O’Brien has met with school representatives and received an update as to the new Malahide-Portmarnock Educate Together Secondary School (MPETSS).
Minister O’Brien met with School Principal Aoife Kelly Gibson, Deputy Principal Anne Grills, School Secretary Elaine Rooney as well as Chairperson of the Board of Management David Graham and Board of Management member Amanda Downes, to discuss a number of issues in relation to the new school build, in advance of the school reopening this week.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “It was good to have an opportunity to meet with school representatives ahead of the new academic year. It’s great to see contractors on site preparing for the new school.
“There are a number of immediate issues which school representatives highlighted with me, from safety and signage to access and accessibility.
“There are also longer term issues which I will also be raising with my colleague Minister Foley to seek assurances on. Once complete the school will cater for approximately 1,000 students and it’s important we put in place now, the infrastructure that’s needed so that the new school reaches its full potential for all its students,” he concluded.
The full text of the Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum have been published today. The publication was approved at Cabinet on 29th June 2021 and confirmed by An Taoiseach Michéal Martin TD on 1st July 2021, alongside Ministers Darragh O’Brien TD, Eamon Ryan TD and Peter Burke TD at the Commissioners for Irish Lights Headquarters in Dún Laoghaire.
This legislation intends to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire Maritime Area. The constituent elements of this system are:
“My Department is leading an extensive marine management reform programme, the likes of which the State has never seen. The Maritime Area Planning Bill, which Cabinet has approved, is further evidence of this Government’s intent to modernise the State’s approach to marine management. It will represent a giant leap forward towards meeting our ambitious climate action goals and targets.”
Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said:
“Ireland’s ocean area is home to an amazing array of marine life. Our offshore wind resources represent a real opportunity for us to break free from fossil fuels and reach our ambitious climate goals. My department has been closely involved in the development of this legislation, which will create a streamlined planning and consent regime. We are determined that as we develop our resources, we do so in a way that protects and restores our marine environment and its biodiversity.”
Notes to editor
Increase in Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) funding for Rutland Street School Renovation
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, announces an increase in funding to €16m for the Rutland Street School Renovation Project under the URDF program, as part of Project Ireland 2040.
As a key activator of Project Ireland 2040 - the Government’s National Planning Framework and National Development Plan - the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund is driving regeneration and rejuvenation of strategic and underutilised areas within Ireland’s five cities, key regional drivers and other large towns.
The URDF provides planning authorities with the opportunity to coordinate their planned regeneration and rejuvenation of our large towns and cities with a stream of significant tailored Exchequer capital investment which will ensure that the right project is happening in the right place at the right time.
The complete refurbishment of the Rutland Street School is deemed a priority initiative to transform the North East Inner City area and the Government is fully committed to delivery of this flagship project, which was highlighted in the Mulvey Report 2017 “Dublin North East Inner City - Creating a Brighter Future”. The URDF funding announced today by Minister O’Brien is made alongside matched funding from Dublin City Council of €4m and an NEIC Implementation Board contribution of €1.6m.
The vision for the Rutland Street School project is a complete transformation to a multi-use Community Hub creating a new civic landmark and a catalyst for further social and economic regeneration in the North Inner City area. It is envisaged that the facility will operate community, youth and childcare services, social/recreational/educational activities and municipal services. The building will also provide multi-functional spaces for cultural, arts and music initiatives.
The refurbishment of the school, in tandem with the Council’s Greening and Public Realm strategies for the area, will open up Rutland Street as a link between the local shopping district of Talbot Street and the Sean Mac Dermott Street / Summerhill area. The refurbishment of this iconic local building will also open up the potential to develop adjacent Dublin City Council lands for complementary uses - mixed tenure housing, commercial, leisure and retail.
Notes to Editor
The initial provisional URDF allocation for the Rutland Street School project was €8.9m based on the 2018 indicative estimated project budget of almost €12m. The revised URDF allocation is €16.3m, an increase of €7.4m. This is based on more accurate and up-to-date comprehensive project costings of €21.8m.
The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) was launched in 2018 to support more compact and sustainable development. The Fund is providing part-funding for projects that will enable a greater proportion of residential and mixed-use development to be delivered within the existing built-up footprints of our cities and large towns, while also ensuring that more parts of our urban areas can become attractive and vibrant places in which people choose to live and work, as well as to invest and to visit.
The URDF is one of four funds established under the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and has a total allocation of €2 billion to 2027, with €150 million available to fund URDF- supported projects in 2021.
Already, the URDF is providing assistance for 132 projects that will contribute to the regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s five cities and other large towns, in line with the objectives of the National Planning Framework and National Development Plan.
There have been two Calls for proposals under the URDF with a total of €300m allocated to date in respect of the 87 projects approved under Call 1 while in March this year URDF funding support of €1.3 billion was announced in respect of 45 projects approved Call 2.
Ministers O’Brien & McConalogue launch public consultation on Ireland’s Draft Nitrates Action Programme
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD have today announced the opening of public consultation in relation to Ireland’s Draft Nitrates Action Programme.
Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) gives effect to the requirements of the Nitrates Directive in Ireland and is a critical piece of legislation that all farmers implement on their farms including maximum fertiliser rates, manure storage requirements, periods when manures cannot be spread etc. It is a cornerstone of the sectors contribution to meeting the objectives of good water quality in our groundwater, rivers, lakes and estuaries. These regulations contain specific measures to protect against nutrient pollution arising from agricultural sources and this review will look at further practical ways that farmers can support this objective.
In opening this public consultation Minister O’Brien said, “Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme plays an important role in helping us to achieve our ambition of protecting and improving water quality. Improving water quality is key objective of Government in parallel with Biodiversity and Climate action and we must do so as effectively as possible, in partnership with all stakeholders”.
Minister McConalogue added, “Farmers are playing a key role in improving water quality and the environment in which we all live and enjoy. The Nitrates Action Programme is a key element of this commitment. This consultation is an important step in the development of measures that will underpin Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme. I look forward to hearing from a wide range of stakeholders during this important consultation process, which will help us to focus on developing a more sustainable agricultural sector," he concluded.
The regulations expire at the end of 2021 and a new Nitrates Action programme must be published at the beginning of 2022 with the revised regulations to remain in place until 2025.
Pioneering strategy to position Ireland as a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems over the next decade
Local Minister and Dublin Fingal TD, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed the publication of Food Vision 2030, a new decade-long, pioneering strategy for Ireland’s food and drinks sector which seeks to grow agri-food exports from €14bn to €21bn by 2030 – further enhancing Ireland’s position as global leader.
The strategy which was launched by the Minister for Agriculture has been developed by a cross-sectoral committee of agri-food stakeholders and sets out four high-level missions to fulfil its ambition:
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Tremendous progress has been made in the last decade in expanding the reach of Irish food and drink to consumers across the globe and Ireland is now one of very few countries to have developed an agri-food strategy using a food systems approach.
“I am particularly pleased to see that vision two commits to a more equitable distribution of value in the food system. Improving price transparency is something I have long highlighted and is one method of improving returns to primary producers. Primary legislation, to be introduced before the end of 2021, will establish a new office of the National Food Ombudsman or regulator, something which I believe is much needed.
“A common theme across each of the missions is the need to work towards a more resilient and diversified system, capable of coping with the risks associated with changes in economic and climatic circumstances. A diversity of farming, fishing and forestry systems offers the best approach towards achieving all forms of sustainability and one should not be considered better than the others.
“The plan sets us on a clear pathway over the next decade to addressing the very real challenges which exist in the sector,” concluded Minister O’Brien.