MINISTER for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney has contacted the Waterford News & Star to clarify comments attributed to him in today’s Irish Examiner, which stated that Waterford is “only half a city and needs to scale up to justify that call for a university.”
Minister Coveney said the comments were taken out of context and when he said half a city, he was referring to population only.
“In our plan for the next 25 years, called Ireland 2040, there was no city that was spoken about more than Waterford,” Minister Coveney said. “We outlined Waterford as an example of a city that can grow dramatically as a result of this plan.”
The Minister added that anyone who attended the Ireland 2040 meeting could not have taken any negative interpretation to their discussions on Waterford, which included City and County CEO Michael Walsh.
“The exact opposite is true and I think it was important to clarify that immediately,” Minister Coveney said. “There is enormous potential in Waterford. The current population of the city is 47K and we are committing to a significant investment, from the city centre out – including new transport and high quality urban living and an expansion of the current infrastructure – which will facilitate a population growth to between 60 and 80K, which will then justify the need for a University and more. Waterford is a half city right now – in terms of population – but we are committing to working with the powers that be in Waterford to change that,”
Minister Coveney also confirmed that the Government would be launching the southern consultation of the Ireland 2040 plan in WIT, which he will attend, at the end of the month.
“I can’t stress enough how Waterford is at the forefront of plan for the next 25 years and the fact that we have chosen Waterford for the southern consultation is testament to that fact,” Minister Coveney added. “It’s up to the people of Waterford now – the community groups, businesses, political representatives etc – to work on a creditable, costed plan for the future of the city and we will take it seriously.”