CEB and Limerick sign €85 million loan agreement for infrastructure development
17 January 2018
Limerick – The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Rolf Wenzel, signed today a €85 million loan agreement with Limerick City and County Council to finance a major regeneration programme in Limerick.
The loan will contribute to Limerick’s social development strategy ‘Limerick Twenty Thirty’, which is tasked to develop key strategic sites in Limerick City and County in order to promote investment development in the region.
It is expected that the development of the Opera site, for which CEB funds will be used, will provide 50 000 m2 of modern office space with the capacity to accommodate up to 3 000 jobs, cultural facilities, retail space and a new public square with pedestrian links to adjacent streets. The restoration and reuse of historical buildings on the site will support the preservation of the city’s unique Georgian architectural heritage.
The signing took place in Limerick City and County Council Corporate Headquarters, in the presence of the Mayor of Limerick, Councillor Stephen Keary, the Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, Patrick O’Donovan, and the Chairman of ‘Limerick Twenty Thirty’, Denis Brosnan. Signing on behalf of Limerick City and County was Conn Murray, Chief Executive.
“We, at the CEB are convinced that the Opera Site, just like Limerick itself, has enormous transformational potential, and are pleased to be part of this important undertaking,” said Governor Wenzel. “The project that we are financing is expected to have substantial benefits for Limerick and its people. It will attract new industries and employers and create many new jobs in one of Ireland’s largest cities and main drivers of innovation and economic growth. The CEB strongly believes in supporting local communities in line with its social mandate and is ready to finance other similar projects here and in other parts of the country,” he stressed.
Ireland, which became a CEB member in 2004, has availed of CEB financing in several areas, including the creation and preservation of viable jobs, social housing for low-income families, and the development of public infrastructure. More than €500 million has been approved in loans to Ireland over the last couple of years alone. To assist with the housing crisis, the CEB is currently financing a €150 million facility for the Housing Finance Agency to enable local authorities throughout the country to retrofit existing social housing units and to construct new, energy-efficient social housing.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.