MINISTER for the Environment Phil Hogan announced approval for three further projects: a new art gallery for the Butler Gallery, a new tourism information centre for the city and a vertical garden concept proposed outside Smithwicks Brewery in the Town Hall last Thursday and said that he expected funding to be available from 2015 .
Minister Hogan stated that the projects were subject to planning and archaeological consent and public consultation and statutory approvals adding that he expected funding to become available for them in 2015.
“Approval is now in place for the entirety of the Medieval Mile project, and it is a matter for all thise people concerned, for Failte, for the council and for the Butler Gallery to begin their planning process in the certainty of Failte Ireland approval. This approval by Failte Ireland will now enable planning to proceed for all of these projects and for a new comprehensive and integrated marketing and communication plan to be developed for the entire Medieval Mile project and to communicate all of the attractions which Kilkenny will have. This initiative will help Kilkenny’s tourism performance and it will help tourism performance in the South East region with new linkages to be developed with Waterford, Wexford and Carlow.,” he said.
“Many of us here are involved in tourism and tourism development from hotels, hospitality, Failte Ireland, Destination Kilkenny, Kilkenny Tourism, the Borough and County Council. Leader, the Butler Gallery, heritage archaelogy and arts groups, the Chamber of Commerce, St Canice’s Cathedral and the Civic Trust. All are concerned to improve the tourism product, to increase tourism numbers and to increase the length of time that tourists stay in the city.We know that tourism is one of the key components of economic performance and of economic development in this country and we must all do, as much as we can, to improve performance in this sector,” he said.
Mayor of Kilkenny Sean o hArgain welcomed the announcement. “Both of the announements of funding for the Medieval Mile are testament that the to local authorities are doing their job properly . The news of a vertical garden is a surprise to us and it is the first in Ireland and will be a landmark,” he said. “The bottom line is that the atrs and tourism are the biggest employers in Kilkenny. This means jobs and that is how we combat poverty,” he added.