The European Investment Bank signed a €35 million loan agreement with Cork County Council 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 and ensure a sustainable future for Cork County.
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 8 to 10 year period.
In order to deliver on this programme the Council has been in discussions with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and today saw the first of these Loan Finance Contracts agreed between the EIB and Cork County Council.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, commented: “Cork has been set a target of delivering in the region of 23% 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 & 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.”
‘Strengths and challenges’
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan welcomed the announcement saying: “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.”
‘Reflects vision & ambition’
“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 European Investment Bank 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 European Investment Bank looks forward to further strengthening cooperation with local authorities across Ireland to unlock investment that improves communities and economic opportunities,” said Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President.
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 European Investment Bank was signed last week 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 €34million with the Council of Europe Development Bank which will complement this initial agreement with the EIB.