Riverside innovation district for Galway as part of €144m funds to awaken the West

Artist's impression of the northern area of Galway's proposed innovation and creativity district

Eoghan Moloney and Brendan Kelly Palenque

Galway City will benefit from a new riverside innovation district as part of €144m in funding for sustainable urban centres in the West and North West of the country.

NUIG and and Galway City Council welcomed the government’s plan to provide €4.3m for the “Innovation and Creativity District” in the city, which would help in the development of Nun’s Island and Earl’s Island.

A riverside campus will be incorporated into the urban regeneration plan which will include an expansion of the Galway to Connemara Greenway through the city and the university campus, to Moycullen, Oughterard and on to Clifden.

The Innovation and Creativity district development will consist of two distinct areas.

The northern area will comprise of an academic building, a multi-purpose cultural venue, and a hotel connected to the NUI Galway.

Meanwhile, the southern area will have a residential Waterways Village. Additionally it will be the location for the Innovation Centre, City Lab, NUI Galway’s Adult Education Centre, outreach and showcase venues.

The President of NUIG, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “This represents a major step forward in the planning phase of this new Innovation and Creativity District. It supports the creation of a City Lab and landmark multi-purpose cultural and performance space that will be transformative for Galway and the wider region, both to live and work in.”

Ten major projects in towns across the West and Northwest have received €144m in the latest funding round of the Ireland 2040 scheme.

A transformation of Letterkenny and Sligo’s urban centres are among the main projects in the Northwest, while €40m will be spent on Galway City’s transport connectivity project with funding announced by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien today.

Funding for Roscommon Town centre (€9m), two projects in Castlebar (€11m) and Oranmore railway station (€8m) have been allocated within the ‘Revitalising the West’ section of the Ireland 2040 scheme.

The projects are aimed at regenerating urban areas nationwide. To date, over €300m has been allocated for revitalisation of urban centres across the country.

The aim of these projects is to facilitate a greater proportion of residential and commercial development, supported by infrastructure, services and amenities, within the existing built-up areas of larger urban settlements.

“This funding will support projects that will enhance quality of life for many people. The projects are all about making these areas more attractive places in which to live, work, visit and invest,” Minister O’Brien said.

Speaking about the developments of Sligo and Letterkenny, Minister O’Brien said: “Letterkenny will see new spaces created for a range of uses, including an enterprise space at the historic courthouse. The new spaces to be created for cycling and pedestrians support the Government’s aims of more sustainable transport and low-carbon living in our cities and towns.

“Sligo’s public realm project will not only enhance the quality of life for people who live, work and visit the town but should help attract investment in developing existing brownfield sites. The project for Sligo’s cultural and learning hub is an example of a project that will develop under-utilised land to bring opportunity and new vibrancy to a place.

“Overall, I believe this funding can be a catalyst for regeneration, development and growth. It will also provide much-needed economic stimulus and job creation in Donegal and Sligo as our economy emerges from the depths of the pandemic.”

Almost €49m has been allocated on improving Galway City’s connectivity and transport infrastructure as well as rejuvenating the city’s green areas and streets.

Castlebar will see its historic core rejuvenated while its military barracks will also be upgraded within the project.

Roscommon Town will also be the beneficiary of a €9m restorative package.

“Galway’s projects will result in more sustainable transport and compact growth in the city and will provide new opportunities for residential and employment growth,” Mr O’Brien said.

“These projects will also help the city transition to a low-carbon future. The projects for the city’s Innovation and Creativity District and for Oranmore will enable future development and opportunities in these areas.”

The minister added that Castlebar would undergo significant transformation through a Historic Core Project.

"It will provide new opportunities for the town, for innovation, and, through the public realm and urban core works, for those who work, live and visit the town,” the minister said.

And he said a multi-faceted project for Roscommon Town, with an emphasis on placemaking and infrastructure, would bring added vibrancy.

“The creation of pedestrian and cycle routes will help create a low-carbon future,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Overall, I believe this funding can be a catalyst for regeneration, development and growth. It will also provide much-needed economic stimulus and job creation in the West as our economy emerges from the depths of the pandemic.”

Minister O’Brien concluded: “I understand there will be some disappointment in terms of projects which were unsuccessful. My Department will engage with local authorities and provide feedback in respect of unsuccessful proposals.”

More Irish News

Top Stories