Funding for Waterford described as ‘transformative’

‘We must get it right and ensure the entire southeast benefits,’ says David Cullinane

Waterford city development: included in the plan are funds for University Hospital Waterford and Waterford Airport, and improvements to the N24 and N25.

The more than €60 million capital funding for the redevelopment of Waterford city’s North Quays will be “transformative” according to a senior figure in the region.

It means the Saudi company, Fawaz Alhokair, is one step closer to beginning its €300 million development on the long-vacant site.

As part of the development, a pedestrian bridge will be constructed to allow easier access to the North Quays. A second bridge will also be built for motor traffic while an electronic rail system is part of the plan as well.

It is proposed that Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is merged with ITCarlow and together they would apply for technical university status and receive 1.8 per cent of the capital expenditure for all higher education over the next five years.


Included in the plan are funds for University Hospital Waterford and Waterford Airport as well as improvements to the N24 Waterford to Limerick and the N25 Waterford to Cork roads. The county’s towns and villages are also in line to receive a cash injection.

Waterford City and County Council (WCCC) chief executive Michael Walsh said: “There’s an awful lot of work to be done yet.”

He envisaged a start in construction in the first quarter of next year, with a finish date expected in early 2021. The same schedule would apply for a pedestrian bridge that would link the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) to the city centre. A bridge for motor traffic will be constructed too, with the Tower Hotel the most “probable” location, said Mr Walsh. That is expected in the next five to 10 years.

Demolition imminent

Overall, development costs will amount to up to €300 million while infrastructural costs come in at up to €80 million.

WCCC members recently voted to demolish the last remaining structure on the North Quays, the dormant R & H Hall building, previously a flour mill. It will come down in the coming weeks.

When asked about regional co-operation with Kilkenny, Mr Walsh said he hoped the region can look at what he described as the bigger picture. “For the southeast to prosper, Waterford has to prosper. The southeast needs a strong anchor, a strong regional capital. Waterford has 80,000 population within a 10-15 mile radius, there’s no other similar in the area.”

The development has been wanted across business sectors in Waterford. Eirgen Pharma chief executive Patsy Carney said it will help attract more workers to the region: “The level of investment coming into Waterford is going to really help in terms of selling the whole story of the southeast – now we’re a proper destination.”

Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey insisted that, unlike previous plans such as the National Spatial Strategy, the National Capital Plan will drive growth in Waterford city.

Sinn Féin TD for Waterford David Cullinane said that the National Planning Framework must deliver for the southeast. He said for too long the southeast has underachieved and has lagged behind other regions, noting that the region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country as well as being among the lowest in education attainment.

“This plan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We must get it right and ensure the entire southeast benefits from the plan,” said Mr Cullinane.

As part of Fawaz Alhokair’s contract with WCCC, it will begin work in parallel on developing a shopping centre in the Michael Street area, another long-planned proposal. It is hoped this will balance the city’s retail offering following the North Quays development.