EU Commissioner Visits Waterford
The Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. John O’Leary welcomed the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, to Waterford City on Monday 19th September to see first-hand some excellent examples of how supports from the EU Funds have enhanced the City in so many ways. The Mayor and the Cathaoirleach of the Southern Regional Assembly, Cllr. Oliver Walsh accompanied the Commissioner along the Viking Triangle toward the Apple Market to see how the space is used today after regeneration support from the ERDF Southern & Eastern Regional Programme 2014-20.
Since 2014, the Southern & Eastern Regional Programme, which is managed by the Southern Regional Assembly in the City, has delivered supports worth €621 million in the form of supports to micro-enterprises, research and commercialisation activities, low carbon initiatives, rapid funding response to the pandemic, and sustainable urban development projects, such as the Apple Market.
The regeneration of the Apple Market has breathed new life into this historic and popular part of the City, named after the apple sellers who traded there in the 18th century. Waterford City and County Council was able to match its own funds with €4 million from the ERDF to transform the area into the 21st century as a modern public space for residents and visitors to enjoy for concerts, theatre, markets, festivals, outdoor screenings as well as nightlife.
Rupert Maddock, City Architect told Commissioner Ferreira the story of how plans for the Apple Market regeneration came to fruition, while Brian Tynan, Chair of the Apple Market Group, explained how the space has enhanced the area, particularly during Covid lockdowns, for the surrounding businesses and their customers.
Commissioner Ferreira travelled on to meet SETU Waterford researchers to hear about the wide variety of research being carried out at the newly appointed Technological University which has been supported by the ERDF, Interreg, or other EU programmes. She was impressed with how SETU Waterford has created a research and innovation ecosystem which links researchers and students with entrepreneurs and established companies to create a strong research culture, supported by the Research Support Unit.
The Commissioner also met with the enthusiastic students at Youthreach on O’Connell Street to listen to their experiences and opinions on their education. Cllr. Lola O’Sullivan, Deputy Mayor of the Metropolitan District and Deputy Chair of the Waterford and Wexford Educational and Training Board explained how Youthreach works to motivate and inspire their students through a variety of training courses, supported by the European Social Fund.
Cllr. Oliver Walsh, Cathaoirleach of the Southern Regional Assembly said, “Welcoming Commissioner Ferreira to Waterford to showcase the legacy of EU investment in the City in so many ways, from public realm works, training for young people, to high level research and commercialisation at the Technological University campus, has shown how good the investment has been”.
The Regional Assembly recently submitted a proposal to the European Commission for a new round of ERDF investment through the Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 worth €663 million, €265 million of EU funding and €398 million of funding from the Government of Ireland. This will be invested in developing smarter, more competitive regions, creating greener more energy efficient regions and a Just Transition, and sustainable urban development in our regions.
Commissioner Ferreira said, “Ireland will receive support to further develop its economy in a fair and green manner, ensuring that no region is left behind. Ireland has a far-reaching smart, green and digital future ahead.”
The Assembly | EU Programmes