Environment : Malcolm Noonan

By: Malcolm Noonan  05/12/2011

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This is a press release I issued following the Borough Council’s purchase of St Mary’s Church and Graveyard. I have to say, I felt very proud signing the purchase agreement and to have played a part in bringing this day about. The Church of Ireland and trustees of St Mary’s have to be commended for taking care of it for so long under difficult circumstances. This site sparked my imagination at a very young age. The possibilites around its development and re connection with the civic quarter of the Tholsel are endless, a museum, wildlife garden, community centre, but most of all we can consolidate this beautiful part of the city for locals and visitors to enjoy, a lovely Christmas present. Happy New Year everyone had here’s to another great year for Kilkenny!

The acquisition of St Mary’s church and graveyard in Kilkenny City caps a great end to Kilkenny’s historic 400 celebrations in 2009. That’s according to Kilkenny’s Mayor Malcolm Noonan. In welcoming the allocation of 700, 000 in funding from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mayor Noonan acknowledged the priority given to the site by his colleague, Environment Minister, John Gormley following his visit in November.

‘I am encouraged that the allocation of this funding will now secure the long term viability of St Mary’s and establish it as a key heritage site in Kilkenny, linked to the Tholsel. As an ecclesiastical site, St Mary’s is important as St Canice’s Cathedral. It contains many monuments and features of international interest. I am delighted to have been involved in this process, particularly as I had set it out as a key priority in my agenda for my year as Mayor’ said Mayor Noonan.

Mayor Noonan acknowledged the funding support of the Heritage Council and the elected members of Kilkenny Borough Council. He also paid tribute to the Church of Ireland for their efforts in maintaining the property under very difficult circumstances for many years. ‘I now hope that the purchase of the church and graveyard will endorse the implementation of the Conservation Plan. While some work is underway on certain monuments, we will be looking at a long term strategy to present the site in an imaginative way that will build on the City’s rich built and cultural heritage’ he said.

‘Key to that development will be the reconnection of St Mary’s and the Tholsel perhaps beginning with the re opening of the arched gate connecting both properties. I envision both sites as a single heritage area, developing a medieval museum, re presenting the city charters and documents and creating a habitat around the graveyard, while giving the public access to the stunning array of tombs and monuments contained in it’ said Mayor Noonan.

‘However that is work for another day. This is a good day for Kilkenny. Our strongest asset is our heritage, and we have now secured the missing link in that heritage. I would like to pay tribute to the county manager, Joe Crockett and all of the stakeholders involved in this process. The cooperation of everyone involved has allowed us to avail of this funding opportunity and take ownership of this historic gem in the heart of medieval Kilkenny’ he concluded.

Following the decision by An Bord Pleanala to refuse planning for a major retail development at the former Mart site in Kilkenny City, Mayor Malcolm Noonan is calling on Kilkenny County Council to abandon plans for a redesigned bridge as part of the Central Access Scheme. He contends that the re design of the bridge and Environmental Impact Statement now represents an undue financial burden on the local authority and may never be constructed in light of the refusal of the citymart development.

‘I would largely agree with An Bord Pleanala’s decision, this is an edge of town site and a retail development on this scale could have potentially damaged the core retail area and city centre. While the short term construction jobs would have been most welcome, it is unlikely in the current climate that all of the development would have proceeded and I would now hope that that the project proposers will go back to the drawing board with a scaled down plan for the site that is more in keeping with the future needs of the city’ he said. He also said that the project failed to adequately address new planning and retail guidelines on edge of town and out of town retail developments and the damage they can do to town centres.

Mayor Noonan also stated that the Central Access Scheme (CAS) is so compromised now that it should be scrapped in favour of the completion of the outer ring road and the implementation of a public transport scheme and other mobility measures to service future needs of the city including the mart site. ‘The redesign of the bridge cannot be justified on cost grounds while our water infrastructure requires so much investment and our library services are chronically under funded. The CAS has already cost us signifiacnt financial and time resources and we the elected members have not been furnished with a costing for the re design of the bridge crossing’ he said.

He said that the decision to refuse the current proposal for the mart site should be viewed as an opportunity to look at the entire scheme, road infrastructure, connectivity and consolidating the city centre. ‘Kilkenny has been relatively fortunate, we didn’t over do out of town retail like other towns in the region. Many places like Clonmel and Carlow are suffering because of an over proliferation of retail on the edge of their towns. Kilkenny has a fantastic opportunity to get it right. I would hope that an imaginative re designed plan for the citymart site with a good mix of social and commercial infrastructure will protect our beautiful city while creating much needed employment’ he concluded.

Posted by on Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 2:09 am 
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September16th to 22nd is European Mobility Week and Kilkenny as a registered participating city has a journey to go in becoming a model for sustainable transport, walking and cycling. Kilkenny Mayor Malcolm Noonan is confident that Kilkenny can become a leader among regional towns in reducing car dependency and moving towards walking and cycling.

Mayor Noonan is calling on Kilkenny people to take advantage of the good weather this week and make extra efforts to walk, cycle and car pool where possible. ‘The theme of this years mobility week is ‘Improving City Climates’ and there is growing evidence that vehicle emissions in urban areas is causing an increased incidence of respiratory illness in children and older people. Cutting down on car use will reduce these emissions and help create healthier communities through more exercise’ he stated.

The Mayor is hopeful that a number of ‘walking bus’ schemes for schools will be set up over coming months. And with the Mobility Plan for the city up for consideration at next Monday’s meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council, there are many reasons to be positive about Kilkenny’s ambitions to create a healthier environment for the city s children.

On Sunday 20th of September, a half marathon will take place through the city’s streets as a ‘Car Free Sunday’ event. It will commence at 11am in Irishtown and finish on the River Nore Linear Park at riverside drive. There will be a fun run element to the event so the organisers are hopeful the good weather will bring out participants. Mayor Noonan praised the organisers of the event saying the growing interest in leisure cycling and mini marathons is the type of activity that will encourage reduced car useage and is a positive message from Kilkenny as we replace runners with cars on the city’s main street if only for one day.

‘400 years ago, traffic emissions were not an issue on Kilkenny’s historic streets. We can return our streets to the people but there has to be a massive shift in mindsets to achieve this. Its our role as local authorities to provide public transport and cycle lanes but people will have to join us in making Kilkenny a healthier city. I would urge everyone to make an effort to reduce unnecessary car journey’s he concluded.

The extension of the Borough Boundary in Kilkenny City is a key priority of Borough and County Councillor, Malcolm Noonan and he believes the extension will be granted by Environment Minister, John Gormley in coming months.

‘I have asked the Minister to look favourably on Kilkenny’s proposal to extend the boundary, it has been the express wish of all the members of Kilkenny Borough Council and could yield significant benefits for the City’ said Cllr Noonan.

Cllr Noonan believes that Kilkenny’s hand in attracting inward investment, further third level faculties and meeting targets under the city’s hub status under the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) would be greatly strengthened by an extended city boundary. On a practical level, the expansion of shared services by both local authorities in housing, sanitary services, environment and parks and planning will greatly benefit people living in the environs of the city.

Minister Gormley has informed me that he will give due consideration to Kilkenny’s application, this is encouraging news for the city as we try to build the critical mass needed to improve our public transport and attract investment and clean industry, but moreover it will reflect a city that is progressive and ambitious in its outlook as we meet the many challenges that lie ahead’ he concluded.

Kilkenny Local Authorities could divert funding earmarked for the Central Access Scheme into many civic and cultural projects if the road is refused by An Bord Pleanala in coming weeks. This is the view of Borough and County Councillor Malcolm Noonan. Projects such as an Arts Centre, the restoration of St Mary’s Church and graveyard, a city museum, the upgrade of High St and the park and skate park facility at the Closh could be prioritised if the city spur of the road and bridge crossing is refused.

‘Given the fact that the bulk of the 27m needed for the scheme will have to be drawn from local funding, the ability of the local authorities to fund anything else while the road and bridge are being constructed will be greatly undermined. This funding was also predicated on an economic growth rate of 4.2% at the time it was put forward to An Bord Pleanala and this has clearly not materialised’ said Cllr Noonan.

Cllr Noonan pointed out that the Council is now moving in the right direction with the Mobility Plan for the city and that international best practice was now directing authorities away from excessive engineering projects to address urban mobility. Freeing up of available and future development contributions monies towards civic and cultural projects could redirect the whole dynamic of the city and place Kilkenny among the leading destinations in Ireland, if not Europe.

‘The obvious answer is the linking of the western environs section of the road with a completed outer ring road, our focus should be on consolidating the unique character of Kilkenny for present and future generations and enhancing our tourism potential, which is by far our biggest employer. This can only be done by continually striving to be better and more ambitious in our vision’ he said.

Cllr Noonan is the only sitting member of Kilkenny Local Authorities to have opposed the Central Access Scheme and has been campaigning against it for twelve years. A decision by An Bord Pleanala is due shortly.

Posted by on Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 7:57 pm 
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Community Development : Malcolm Noonan

While the short term construction jobs would have been most welcome, it is unlikely in the current climate that all of the development would have proceeded and I would now hope that that the project proposers will go back to the drawing board with a scaled down plan for the site that is more in keeping with the future needs of the city’ he said.


Education : Malcolm Noonan

Cllr Noonan agrees with the contention that the decision to increase the general staffing schedule at primary school from 27 pupils per teacher to 28 will lead to a loss of teachers in some schools and further disadvantage children with special educational needs.


Enterprise and Employment : Malcolm Noonan

The Decision announced today by Diageo Ireland to cease brewing at St Francis Abbey Brewery after three hundred years of brewing on the famous site has shocked the people of Kilkenny. Kilkenny is still a predominantly agricultural county with a vibrant dairy sector and a growing number of specialist food producers,” said Cllr Noonan.