Urban regeneration fund favours rural towns and cities

Less than 15 per cent of €100 million fund for Dublin region

A €100 million fund that will encourage towns and cities to "grow up and not out" according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, has been allocated to almost 90 urban regeneration projects across the State.

The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund aims to stimulate residential and commercial development in under-used or run-down areas, but just 15 per cent of the fund has been allocated to the greater Dublin area, including the Dublin local authorities, Kildare and Meath, with Dublin City Council guaranteed less than €1.8 million.

The single largest beneficiary is Waterford city with the local authority allocated €6 million to enable the construction of a pedestrian bridge linking the city’s North and South quays.

Three projects in Sligo are sharing a combined pot of €5.28 million, with more than half that money, €3.3 million, allocated to the Garavogue bridge scheme, €1.2 million for O’Connell Street improvement works, and €750,000 for a “cultural plaza”.


Kilkenny City Council has secured €4.76 million for is Abbey Quarter project, which involves the redevelopment of the former Smithwicks Brewery site.

Smaller urban areas

Smaller urban areas did particularly well with Meath County Council getting €3.67 million for the Navan active land management project, Mayo County Council getting €3.2 million for the Ballina innovation quarter, Offaly County Council securing €3 million to improve Tullamore, and €2.89 million apiece going to Leitrim County Council for improvements to Carrick on Shannon, and to Tipperary County Council for improvements to Clonmel.

However, while the fund was announced in the Charleville Mall library on Dublin’s North Strand, Dublin City Council has definite funding for just one project – €1.79 million for the development of the old Rutland Street school as a community hub. Five other city council projects, including regeneration works associated with St Michael’s Estate in Inchicore, the Santry River restoration project, and the development of workspaces for artists, are within a group of 10 schemes at the planning and feasibility stage that will share €2.57 million.

Trinity College Dublin

Outside the council’s remit, Trinity College Dublin has been allocated €1.5 million as part of its campus development at Grand Canal Quay, while €343,000 will be used to for the restoration of the Irish Heritage Trust and Poetry Ireland building at 11 Parnell Square.

South Dublin County Council has fared better than the city, with €3 million for improvements to the civic plaza and link roads in Tallaght town centre, while Dun Laoghaire County Council has secured funding for two projects €1.3 million for public realm works in Stillorgan and €870,000 for public parks in the new suburb of Cherrywood.

The funding announcement comes days after €35 million was allocated to rural regeneration projects, but, Mr Varadkar said the urban regeneration fund was for “all of Ireland, not just Dublin”. He said the fund aimed to encourage “smart compact urban growth rather than urban sprawl” so that towns and cities “grow up and not out”.

The €100 million for 2019 is the first tranche of a €2 billion fund due to be allocated up to 2027.

The list of projects is available here:

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times