Unprecedented visitor numbers to the area, multi-million euro redevelopments at St. James’s Hospital and Newmarket, greener and more attractive streets and a renewed sense of optimism about the future for the area are just some of the achievements highlighted by Liberties businesses in their 2016 Annual Report, which was launched on 25th May by the Liberties Business Forum and Minister of State for Communities, Catherine Byrne TD.
The Liberties Business Forum was established in 2014 to bring together the diverse range of businesses and institutions in The Liberties. Its objective is to collaborate and develop a sense of shared purpose to collectively enhance and revitalise the area. The Forum brings together Dublin City Council, independent businesses and traders in the area and representatives from St James’s Hospital, Diageo Ireland, The Guinness Storehouse, The Digital Hub, National College of Art & Design, Teeling Distillery and The GEC.
Speaking at the launch of the report, the Forum’s chairperson, Catherine Heaney said: “Our Annual Report for 2016 sets out some of the key achievements of our partnership over the past 12 months. It reflects the ambitious programme of urban renewal now taking place in the area and the increasing attractiveness of Dublin 8 to new businesses and investment.
“The consensus among businesses already established here is that the outlook for The Liberties is increasingly positive. As a partnership, we feel we have made great strides towards our goal of positioning The Liberties as Dublin’s most dynamic and sustainable urban community.”
Stephen Coyne, the programme manager for the Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative, said that a sustained period of investment and attention to the main streets in the area was now paying dividends. “The Liberties area is increasingly attractive for its more than 23,000 residents with improving amenities and services. It’s a dynamic part of the city in which to work, we’re welcoming unprecedented numbers of city visitors to Dublin 8, and we’re open to investment. We encourage any businesses or start-ups looking to locate in the city to consider The Liberties and Dublin 8.”
Among the year’s highlights noted in the Annual Report:
- Dublin’s most visited area – 2016 was a bumper year of visitors to The Liberties with the six top visitor attractions in the area recording more than 2.5m visitors between them. The Guinness Storehouse retains its title as Ireland’s foremost paying attraction with 1.6m visitors in 2016. Over 250 participants enjoyed a ‘Summer in The Liberties’ programme of walks and talks in July and August exploring the history and heritage of the area.
- Better4BusinessD8 – The area’s micro-business economy now encompasses over 1,200 entrepreneurs and 190 companies, across two world-class digital, media and small business hubs: The Digital Hub and The GEC. The Liberties is increasingly attractive for business start-ups and small and medium enterprises.
- The Liberties is greener! Completion of the High Street and Thomas Street Greening Plans with more than 90 tree planters and troughs lining the route. Completion of a median greening project on Nicholas Street and Patrick Street. Temporary street initiatives on Francis Street including planters, street benches and cycle racks. Approval for the new Weaver Park on Cork Street.
- Renewing our Streets – A wide-ranging programme of building renewal and investment in our famous shopping streets. Sixteen projects supported under the Shopfront Improvement Scheme 2016 including restoration of the iconic Chadwick’s Arch on Thomas Street.
- A €1bn Transformation ‒ Commencement of enabling works for the National Children Hospital. Completion and opening of MISA building, new St. James’s Private Hospital and ongoing multi-million euro campus renewal programme at St. James’s Hospital. Major redevelopment of the area around Newmarket.
In conclusion, Catherine Heaney said: “There is much to be proud of in this report. The Forum continues to fly the flag for further investment in Dublin 8 to create a more vibrant, attractive and lively neighbourhood.”
Read the Annual Report 2016 here.