independent

Sunday 27 May 2018

EIB funding in Fingal is a 'game-changer'

Andrew McDowell, Vice-President, European Investment Bank; Werner Hoyer, President, European Investment Bank; Cllr Mary McCamley, Mayor of Fingal; and Paul Reid, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council at the launch of the €70m loan facility last year
Andrew McDowell, Vice-President, European Investment Bank; Werner Hoyer, President, European Investment Bank; Cllr Mary McCamley, Mayor of Fingal; and Paul Reid, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council at the launch of the €70m loan facility last year

John Manning

Fingal County Council's success in securing a €70 million loan facility from the European Investment Bank will be a 'game-changer' for the region over the next five years, according to the Chief Executive of Fingal Dublin Chamber.

Fingal Dublin Chamber, chief executive, Anthony Cooney recently sat down with the Fingal Independent to look at the economic future for the region and he says that more than any one measure in the short-term, the county's next five years will be shaped by that investment.

Mr Cooney told the Fingal Independent: 'I think that is a game changer for us, as a region. In fairness, we have a very progressive council and they have secured €70 million from the European Investment Bank and what that will do, is unlock €180 million worth of investment over a five year period on certain projects.'

Mr Cooney believes the investment will be particularly useful in driving tourism related projects forward and is particularly excited that the money be used to advance the Fingal Coastal Way, which is a project that will eventually provided a walkway and cycleway along much of the Fingal coastline.

The Chamber chief executive explained: 'It's predominantly about investing in economic development and tourism and some of the fruits of that will be seen in the short term. They are building a cycleway from Baldoyle to Portmarnock which is going ahead, this year. 'And then we are going from Malahide to Donabate over the estuary - that is being mooted again and is going ahead.

'That will be a huge boost, because if you go to Mayo or Waterford and see what they have there. The Greenway in Waterford is an absolutely fantastic project. It was a low-ticket item when it came to costs but the benefits are huge. I'm from Waterford and I see the benefits of it and I've been on it.

'It's fantastic - it's 46km from Waterford City to Dungarvan along a railway line, off the traffic and 7km goes along the river and it's absolutely fantastic. And when you think about what we are proposing here, we are going to have a cycleway along 88km of coastline. I cycle along the Skerries to Rush route as it is, albeit along the public road but it is already stunning so I think it will be a huge boost and things like that we need to get moving on.'

The Chamber chief executive is also behind using the funding to improve facilities at the county's many beautiful heritage properties.

He said: 'I think we have some great heritage properties like Malahide Castle and Ardgillan Castle and Newbridge House, as well as Shackleton Mills. I think the council are racheting up their efforts on those properties to really make them fit for purpose.'

He said in those properties, the county 'has a lot going for us' and the European investment funds will be able to advance projects at these properties quickly which might have been put on the long finger, if the loan facility was not put in place by the EIB and the council.

Fingal Independent

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