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Good morning LGIU members! Grab your morning brew and let us catch you up on everything happening in the world of local government today.

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

This briefing examines the key objectives of the Government of Ireland’s National Action Plan Against Racism 2023-2027 and highlights the core responsibilities of the local government system in rolling out this critical policy initiative. Full summary below.

TRANSPORT

NTA announces major changes to Cork BusConnects plans

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has announced major changes to its €600m BusConnects public transport plan for Cork city, with the changes to significantly reduce the levels of tree felling, land acquisitions and on-street parking required to introduce new sustainable transport corridors (STCs) through the city. The Irish Examiner reports that on just one of the STCs, the Mahon to city corridor, around 80 potential compulsory purchase orders have been dropped, while the majority of trees scheduled for felling will be retained. NTA CEO Anne Graham said the new proposals "put forward today in collaboration with Cork City Council respond constructively to local issues and help to mitigate many of the challenges raised by local groups".
Irish Examiner   RTE.ie   TheJournal.ie

OIREACHTAS

Government survives no-confidence bid as eviction ban ends

The Government has comfortably survived a vote of no confidence in the Dáil, with six Independent TDs, and a number of former Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green TDs who have resigned or lost the whip, backing a Government amendment expressing confidence by a 19-vote margin. A further vote, prompted by Sinn Féin, who sought to extend the eviction ban, was also defeated, by 81 votes to 67. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar criticised the no-confidence motion as "political theatre, performative anger and performance art", while Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the "calamitous results" of Government policy will "define life in Ireland for a generation".
Irish Times Online

HOUSING

Availability of HAP properties at record low

A report from the Simon Communities of Ireland, released as the eviction ban is lifted, has revealed that no rental properties were available at the standard rate of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) in March - with a record low of 29 available within discretionary HAP rates. Of 16 areas surveyed, 11 had no HAP properties available even at discretionary rates, including the city centres and suburbs of CorkGalway and Limerick, along with Athlone, Co. Leitrim, Sligo Town, Portlaoise and Waterford. Executive director Wayne Stanley said: "In the context of the lifting of the moratorium, these are very stark numbers. In the real world, when we look at these numbers through the lens of the people we support out of homelessness, the private rental market is no longer an option."
Galway Advertiser   Irish Examiner   Limerick Post   TheJournal.ie

ENTERPRISE & INVESTMENT

Major Diageo facility in Kildare gets green light

Kildare County Council has granted planning permission to Diageo for a €200m brewery on a greenfield site at Littleconnell, near Newbridge, with the facility to be the second-largest brewing operation in the country, behind the firm's St James's Gate operation. Up to 1,000 jobs will be created over the course of the 20-month construction period for the facility, which will employ 70 people once operational, at which point it will produce up to 2m hectolitres a year.
RTE.ie   Irish Times Online

Minister officially opens The CUBE in Portlaoise

Simon Coveney, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, has officially opened The CUBE in Portlaoise - a 10,000 sq ft once-derelict Celtic Tiger building that has been extensively renovated by Laois County Council to create a dedicated business development centre in the town's Cultural Quarter. Mr Coveney said: "This remarkable state-of-the art facility, which is an integral part of the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan, will play a central role in enabling the growth of scaling enterprises across the Midlands and further afield, supporting this critical agenda to reduce energy consumption."
Leinster Express

Approval granted for duck processing facility expansion

Monaghan County Council has granted planning permission to Silver Hill Duck for a €30m expansion to its processing facility in Emyvale, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also granting its first approval to an Irish firm for the installation of a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system that will comply with EU Water Quality Directives. The expansion will allow the firm to increase its processing capacity from 80,000 ducks a week to 120,000.
Agriland

Finding long-term financial sustainability

Online workshop | 08:30–10:00 (BST) | 18 May

This workshop is one of our Global Local Executive series. Securing long-term financial sustainability is a challenge faced by local government around the world. Join senior colleagues from the UK, Ireland and Australia to explore different approaches.

You are an LGIU member – book your FREE place today.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Construction begins on Uisce Éireann testing lab

Construction has begun on Uisce Éireann's €60m new water and wastewater testing laboratory at Ballysimon, Co. Limerick, with 90 new science and technical jobs to be created once it opens in 2025. Minister of state Kieran O'Donnell, who turned the sod at the new site, said the facility, "the first dedicated National Water Laboratory for Ireland" will "enable Uisce Éireann to contribute to balancing economic growth across Ireland while creating high-quality technical career opportunities outside of Dublin". The facility will be able to process 1.2m water and wastewater tests annually.
Limerick Leader   RTE.ie

WELFARE

State pension to come under 'increasing pressure'

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) has warned that Ireland's ageing population will put "increasing pressures on the State pension in the years to come", with the country's "pay-as-you-go" system unlikely to be able to keep up. The IFAC has recommended switching to a more long-term approach to funding the State pension, with PRSI contributions set at a constant rate to fund pensions over the longer term. The IFAC said this would "be achieved by raising contributions from the baby boomers while they are working", reducing "the burden on future tax payers".
Kildare Nationalist   The Connaught Telegraph   Irish Times Online   TheJournal.ie

SOCIAL

Animal cruelty investigation leads to 332 charges

A multiagency operation involving Tallaght Gardaí, South Dublin County Council and the DSPCA has led to four people being arrested and charged as part of an investigation into the keeping of animals in inhumane conditions in Citywest. Gardaí recovered 38 dogs and puppies, along with a range of other animals, over the course of the investigation, and two men and two women now face a combined total of 332 charges of animal cruelty after being charged at Tallaght District Court yesterday morning.
Irish Mirror   Kfm Radio   TheJournal.ie

WASTE

Galway e-waste and battery recycling events planned

Galway County Council is to sponsor free e-waste and battery recycling events, hosted by WEEE Ireland, to help the county meet national e-waste recycling targets for the year. WEEE Ireland CEO Leo Donovan said the pandemic had seen "a surge in spend on new electrical devices like mobile phones, computers, small kitchen appliances and white goods", adding: "People in Galway have contributed greatly to e-waste recycling every year, and we want to encourage that trend."
Galway Advertiser

NEW BRIEFING

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

Like many governments across the globe, the Government of Ireland has recently adopted a National Action Plan to address racism. And, as in other countries, the local government system both contributed to the preparation of the plan while also holding a key role in its implementation at a local level.

This briefing examines the key objectives of the National Action Plan Against Racism 2023-2027 and highlights the core responsibilities of the local government system in rolling out this critical policy initiative. It will be of interest internationally, noting the key enabling role of the Irish local government system, as well as for local elected members and officials in Ireland.

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