Ahearn highlights need for funding for Kickham Barracks project

Photo courtesy of Cllr Michael Murphy

The need to progress works on the educational element of the Kickham Barracks site in Clonmel has been raised in the Seanad.

A dual campus between Tipperary Education and Training Board and the Technological University of the Shannon is to form a key part of the project.

A previous application for Clonmel under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund for the 50 million euro project was unsuccessful.

Senator Garret Ahearn says its vital that funding is in place for the education campus to clear the way for other funds.

“The main reason that the application wasn’t successful from the Department of Housing was that there’s a major educational development on the campus of Kickham Barracks and the Department of Higher Education needs to play a role in terms of financing it.

“We have an area of the town – particularly the town centre – which needs to be revitalised and Kickham Barracks plays a key role in that. It’s a multi-million Euro investment from the Department of Higher Education if they’re willing to commit to it.

“The fear from my perspective is the applications are opening up hopefully soon for the URDF funding and we need this money in before we can apply for that.”

Senator Ahearn lobbied the Minister of State for the Department of Housing and Local Government Peter Burke on the issue in the Seanad.

“Once we’re successful in that please God, then I’m coming to you for €30 plus million afterwards.”

Minister Burke’s response to this seemed positive as he acknowledged that the County Council had worked on addressing the issues which led to the last funding application being unsuccessful.

“Thank you Senator Ahearn for putting across that very passionate and detailed case in relation to Kickham Barracks in Clonmel which is an excellent site as I said when I visited.

“URDFA is due to open again shortly and obviously as you know that’s a competitive process. I think Tipperary County Council have really responded to everything that the Department have asked for through the URDF process so we’d be very keen to see an application back in our Department and we’ll absolutely work with the local authority and yourself in relation to that application.”