All Things Ireland – Local government stepping up for President Biden’s arrival and more!

While President’s long-awaited arrival in Ireland this week reignited the age-old debate over whether the International Airport is actually in Belfast or not (it isn’t), this week’s All Things Ireland looks at how County Councils are handling the extraordinary task of representing their communities this week as well as other planning, housing and funding updates which impact the local government sector in Ireland.

LGIU Ireland updates you may have missed!

Ireland’s National Action Plan Against Racism 2023-2027: Application to local government

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

Given the significance of the original strategy (and now the renewed strategy), this case study from LGIU’s Research Team showcases the exciting innovation coming from Ireland’s 2022 Local Authority of the Year and offers several lessons and insights into the area of rural development.

Ireland’s first outdoor learn to cycle track

Open to everyone 🟢 

Next up in our series of articles showcasing the latest local government innovation from the Chambers Ireland 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards, we hear about Ireland’s first outdoor learn to cycle track from Waterford City and County Council.

In conversation with Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council

Open to everyone 🟢 

As part of LGIU’s series on local government leadership, Dr Pat Daly, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council discusses how Limerick is navigating the challenges and opportunities of local government in 2023.

Local government and Biden's arrival

The state of the private rental market: Accommodation availability

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

Accommodation availability and affordability are the main overarching issues in the private rental market, the first of which is considered in this briefing, which reviews how the market has evolved, factors underlying factors, and questions regarding future prospects. The related issue of rents and affordability will be considered shortly in a further briefing.

Louth County Council – After the President’s Wednesday speech at Ulster University to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (expect to hear the usual Heaney and Yeats quote as well as the woeful analysis of the situation in Northern Ireland), the President is expected to visit County Louth and Carlingford.

The birthplace of the President’s great-grandfather, Louth County Council, have also confirmed President Biden is to take a walkabout of Dundalk on Wednesday evening.

Mayo County Council – Following a banquet in Dublin, on Friday, President Biden is expected to fly West from Dublin to visit Mayo. With Ballina being the place the President’s great-great-great grandfather emigrated from, local media has reported on the building “buzz” in the town where Mayo County Council is working flat-out for Mayo’s international spotlight!

Housing and planning

Oireachtas report: Feb to March 2023

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

This is the latest briefing on parliamentary affairs impacting local government. It includes references to key legislation and issues in the Oireachtas between mid-February and mid-March. It should be of interest to everyone keeping an eye on Irish Parliamentary matters and how they can impact local government. A special briefing on the new planning legislation will be published shortly.

The brand new Cost Rental Tenant In-Situ (CRTiS) Scheme is for tenant households who face the termination of their tenancy due to the landlord’s intention to sell. Coinciding with the end of the eviction ban and amidst reports of a huge swathe of landlords intending to exit the market, the new CRTiS scheme falls on local authorities and their Housing Officers to assess applicant tenant households in receipt of a valid notice of termination due to the landlord’s intention to sell the property for referral to the Housing Agency.

In terms of tackling vacancy and dereliction, reports on how 30 out of 31 local authorities only have one vacant homes officer, and no local authority is yet to apply for available funds for extra staff (for more on vacancy and dereliction, see our recent post from Mayo County Council)

The Housing Agency’s Procurement unit issued new guidance on the provision of “design and build” housing projects using modern methods of construction under the Housing for All’s goal of finding innovative developments in the delivery of housing.

The Report on Relevant Public Land from the Land Development Agency sets out how state-owned lands can be used for the delivery of housing. Over a total of 83 sites, the LDA identified the potential for 67,000 affordable homes and offers “expert analysis” for the use of sites with the sites located in Dublin (38), Cork (14), Limerick (6), Galway (8) and Waterford (4), Sligo (4), Letterkenny (2), Dundalk (4), Drogheda (1) and Athlone (2).

Advance your knowledge of Irish local government

All Things Ireland is only one of the many ways LGIU keeps the local government community in Ireland up-to-date on all the key policy developments. To never miss a beat, you need access to our exclusive resources and our full Daily News service – one email, every morning with everything you need:

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Funding calls

Transitioning from the shutdown of Ireland’s extractive peat sector

Open to LGIU members only 🔒 

Ireland’s boglands are among the most important in world terms, and have long been a traditionally accessible and low-cost source of fuel. This briefing looks at how communities are managing the transition from an extraction-based economy.

29 Local Authorities are set to benefit from €450,000 for the refurbishment and development of playgrounds and play areas. Offering up to €18,000 per project, you can find the full breakdown here.

140 archaeological heritage projects are set to benefit from €8 million in funding from the Community Monuments Fund for 2023 in alignment with Heritage Ireland 2030.

Kerry County Council is the latest local authority to have a new Gaeltacht Service Town and can now access up to €80,000 per year for a period of seven year and enable the employment of a new Language Planning Officer.

€1.25 million is budgeted for the 2023 Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme. Run in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Heritage Council; the scheme is for the conservation of traditional farm buildings and structures of significant heritage value that contribute to our rural landscape for agricultural use.

The launch of the 2023 Community Centres Investment Fund means €20 million is set to be invested in community projects in our towns and villages, with funding of at least €1 million set aside for communities which lack facilities and have projects ready to go. Importantly, the lead party to an application must be a State-funded body (for example, a local authority), and at least 10% to be provided in matching contributions.

Retailers are urged to take advantage of a €3.4 million fund to enhance their online presence, which offers up to €25,000 administered by Enterprise Ireland.

Finally, marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a new €18 million Peace Campus was announced in Monaghan Town, with construction set to finish later this year!

International local government learnings

Vacancy in Scotland

In this article, Andy Moseley, Policy and Projects Manager at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnerships shines a spotlight on the true scale of vacancy in Scotland and how local government can be forefront in tackling this critical issue head-on.

How vacant offices could offer a solution to Brussels’ housing crisis

A new report by Perspective.Brussels examines whether the city’s housing crisis could be swiftly addressed by converting vacant office space into new homes.

The city currently has a vacant office floor space of over a million square metres. However, not all of it is usable and much of it is located in the city’s more remote industrial areas.

Cities tightening down on troublesome tourists?

Who would you nominate for the Mayor of Venice’s “certificate of stupidity“? A comment made by the Mayor follower a video of tourists jumping from height into a canal. In the same week, the Amsterdam City Council launched an advertising discouragement campaign targeting men aged 18-35 in the UK  to “stay away” as part of the City’s new plans to clean up drug and sex tourism.

Gaelic football in Cambodia?

We have all seen Tipperary and Mayo jerseys trickle down from Trócaire and St Vincent De Paul’s to all corners of the globe, but this week, BBC Sport this week delivered a great piece on how 2 Irish man started a GAA club in Bangkok and now 90% of the Cairde Khmer ranks are Cambodian (BBC Sports).