Wednesday, 18th October 2017
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Cllr Eddie Mulligan is at pains to point out that the City’s future development is not just down to one individual Councillor’s “Solo run!”

He was commenting after hearing Cllr John Cummins speak about the proposed growth of the City on North Quays SDZ.

According to Cllr Mulligan, “We are told that a figure of €61,500,000 is required from Government and this is currently being finalised. Cllr Cummins, who from listening to last week, is giving the distinct impression that he has a greater inside track with the Executive on the North Quay’s than the other 31 Councillors. We are ALL working together to make this happen!

He then went on to speak about all the necessary infrastructural works required within the immediate vicinity of the North Quays SDZ. There was absolutely no mention of the fundamental need for a sustainable, residential and community hinterland infrastructure to develop the City North of the River Suir. I still stick to my original estimation, that closer to €70,000,000 of Government exchequer funding, will be needed to allow our City’s residential and economic growth, to the North and into South Kilkenny. Depending on whether you listen to the Taoiseach or his recent challenger, Minister Coveney, developing our City’s capacity to cater for a population of between 75,000 and 100,000 is this current Government’s plan.”

Cllr Mulligan continued by commenting on the recent visit of the Taoiseach to Waterford to open the expanded plan at Bausch and Lomb, “Reviewing, the widely available speech by the Taoiseach’s, I and many others will no doubt welcome his aspirations. However, I note that he neglected to mention the elephant in the room! The City’s boundary issues will not go away. The governance and administration of an expanded City, to the North must be addressed in line with our projected growth. The Taoiseach went on to state in his speech, “However, I fear that, in recent times, the City has regrettably lost some of its confidence...This must change...So long as I am Taoiseach, Waterford will not be neglected or forgotten...”

His Government have been neglecting Waterford for years! His sole representative TD for our County is AWOL, missing in action, and appears to have forgotten about the very people who elected him to the Dáil. Yet our Taoiseach rewarded him for his County’s representative failings! If this City is to build confidence once again, we need to see appropriate changes to our administrational structures and local governance. This will only be possible with a Council that will have full autonomy with the responsibility for an expanding City, especially as structurally needed, to the North.

The Taoiseach spoke about building on and expanding the work completed over the last few years. He went on to mention his Government publishing the new National Development Plan (NDP), which he believes will provide for a significant population growth to reach an estimated 75,000, by the middle of the century. Whilst this may well end arguments about numbers, critical mass and makes sense in his own words. Just how that growth will be administered by one, two or some joint-sharing new local authority was not forthcoming.

We now know that Kilkenny Council has neglected their Southern boundary responsibilities for over thirty years. The Independent Boundary Committee recognised this and recommended the City’s expansion, to ensure proportionate growth as the Regional City for the whole South East region. Enabling the provision of excellent third level educational, suitable health cover, as well as community and economic supports for the people and businesses of North Wexford and South Kilkenny.

The Taoiseach stated that “We”, as in Government I presume, will give us the means by which to drive the regeneration of Waterford ourselves. Surely he misses the collective meaning of the word? This has to start with a proper, strong leadership, supported by appropriate administrational and governance infrastructures, which will allow us to develop our City and our hinterland, to their full potential.

Accordingly, we demand that the Government put your money where your mouth is. After an embarrassing U-turn on the expansion of the boundary, this Fine Gael circus must give the Executive suitable powers and adequate finance to develop a City of the future of the South East region. Provide a mechanism so we can build a City for the future and deliver that NOW!”

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