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Cork to get €35m in social and climate investment

Wednesday, 4th December, 2019 5:10pm

Cork County Council moved closer to the next step of its extensive plans to ensure a sustainable future for Cork county recently.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a €35 million loan agreement with Cork County Council last Thursday to support the council’s Social Sustainability Investment Programme. This represents the first element of an overall €50m loan facility which has been approved by EIB.

The council has developed a Social Sustainability Investment Programme to maximise potential for growth under the National Planning Framework Project Ireland 2040.

A broad-ranging portfolio of projects totalling in excess of €250 million have been identified by Cork County Council and planned for delivery over an eight to ten-year period. In order to deliver on this programme, the council has been in discussions with the EIB. That has lead to the first of these loan finance contracts being agreed between the EIB and Cork County Council.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey commented that “Cork has been set a target of delivering in the region of 23 per cent of the State’s overall population growth by 2040. The future success of Cork county is contingent on a sustainable foundation, with a network of thriving towns, supporting their hinterlands and providing for balanced, sustainable growth. This demands coordinated, strategic planning and investment.

“In tandem with central government urban and rural regeneration and development funding streams, this €35 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank will allow us to support a strategic investment programme, implement development plans, support communities and drive economic performance across the entire county.”

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.

The loan agreement between Cork County Council and the EIB was signed in County Hall with Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey and EIB Irish Vice-President Andrew McDowell in attendance.

Cork County Council is also close to finalising a further significant loan agreement for a further €34 million with the Council of Europe Development Bank which will complement this initial agreement with the EIB.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan welcomed the announcement. “Each of our key towns in county Cork has unique strengths and challenges. To provide the basis for vibrant towns, ready to embrace new lifestyles and work practices, a holistic programme of targeted investment is needed in the short to medium term.

“Traditional funding sources through department and other state agencies can be intermittent and fragmented which doesn’t readily facilitate an overall, coordinated approach to capital works. This loan finance will be allocated to priority schemes that will make a significant contribution to sustainable growth and employment in the county.”

Andrew McDowell, EIB Vice President added that “thriving local communities are key for sustainable growth and this new cooperation provides a model for successfully scaling up investment to tackle local challenges. The new €35 million loan agreed represents the first ever EIB support for social and environmental investment across county Cork and reflects the vision and ambition of the council’s Social Sustainability Programme.

“It is a pleasure to be back in Cork to hear how this new partnership will accelerate priority investment to transform sustainable transport, improve flood protection and upgrade community facilities in market towns and rural villages across Ireland’s largest county.

“The EIB looks forward to further strengthening cooperation with local authorities across Ireland to unlock investment that improves communities and economic opportunities,” he added.

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