Taoiseach breaks ground on Waterford's €170.6m North Quays project

Taoiseach breaks ground on Waterford's €170.6m North Quays project

Today marks the first step in the development of the North Quays project in Waterford city.

Ground was broken on the North Quays Public Infrastructure Project by Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD; Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD.

Mayor of Waterford city and county, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “Today is a momentous day for Waterford and the region. This breaking of ground represents more than just the start of works on access infrastructure in the city. It represents the start of Waterford’s renaissance.

“As Ireland’s oldest city, with a rich tapestry of over 1,000 years of history, today marks a new phase in Waterford’s story… one very much with its sights set on moving forward. This transformative project is set to act as a catalyst in assuring Waterford’s economic potency, along with delivering a myriad of environmental, social and tourism benefits to the Southeast.”


The project comes following last November’s Government approval of €170.6m of investment in the North Quays Project, consisting of €100.6m of Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) funding and a further €70m from the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority (NTA), which will open up access to the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ).

No chance of a land grab from other counties, as North and South Quays set to be linked

At the event, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, “It’s an honour to be in Waterford today on what is a historic day as we break ground on what will be a new quarter for Ireland’s most ancient city.  It will unlock the North Quays as a place for thousands of people to live, work, shop and visit. It will help Waterford to become a city of scale that can attract more investment, jobs and skills.

“This high quality, sustainable public infrastructure project in the heart of Waterford City, along with the attendant development of the North Quays Strategic Development Zone, is of huge economic and social importance to the city and the South-East.

“The infrastructure project will drive economic development and create jobs in Waterford and the wider region, and the development of the SDZ will enhance the city’s economic, commercial and tourist offering and improve the quality of life for people living in the city.”


While speaking to Beat afterwards about the project, An Taoiseach, along with Minister O'Brien, made it very clear (while joking) that there will be no land up for grabs for any of the surrounding counties (particularly Kilkenny).

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said: “This is a transformational project for Waterford. The North Quays is a site I have visited before and I think it is clear for all to see the potential for jobs, for investment, for commercial development and indeed for much-needed residential development. I want to highly commend Waterford City and County Council for the work they have done on getting to this point.”

Waterford's future is healthy

Addressing the increasing demand for public transport across the region, Minister Eamon Ryan says he encourages a link from the North Quays to the SETU campus, making the journey accessible for those studying or working on the grounds at a low-carbon rate.

Speaking to Beat, Minister Ryan says, “We have the plans, we're funding it [and] real change is coming and it's for the better in Waterford.


“And it's away from a future which is car-dependent, clogged, grid-locked, to one which is a really high-quality local environment [that's] much healthier, much quicker and connected. I think this project more than any other is a good example of that.”

The public infrastructure works funded by the Government in the North Quays include enhanced multi-modal access routes, an integrated transport hub including the relocation of Waterford train station to a more convenient location, and the sustainable transport bridge. The sustainable transport bridge will link the reallocated train station to new walking and cycling infrastructure.  These works will reduce the reliance on private cars and facilitate alternative modes of transport for those accessing the area through the delivery of enhanced and integrated sustainable and active travel infrastructure.

The main contract for these infrastructure works was awarded to BAM in November 2022 and today’s ground breaking ceremony signals the commencement of substantial construction works which are expected to be completed in 2025. The infrastructure will enable the commercial development on the SDZ Site, which will include offices, residential, retail, accommodation, and tourism investment in conference/exhibition facilities, as well as a 4-star hotel and visitor’s centre.

The proposed development also places a significant emphasis on improving the public realm through investment in new civic spaces, pedestrian facilities, and high-quality transport infrastructure which will connect Waterford and the Southeast Greenways.