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Ritchie unveils new look city centre for Armagh

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie today officially announced the completion of a major £5.7million city centre public realm scheme.

During a visit to the historic Cathedral city the Minister walked through the streets to see at first hand the overall transformation of the city centre.

Margaret Ritchie said: “I am amazed at the visible changes to Armagh city centre as a result of this regeneration. It has unmistakably restored the city to its former glory. I have no doubt that these significant improvements can only attract and stimulate further private sector investment, and entice visitors to spend time in this vibrant city centre, enjoying the shops, restaurants, café culture and events which are now on offer.

“The completion of this scheme is the result of both hard work and determination of all those involved, my Department, Armagh City and District Council, Armagh City Centre Management, DRD Roads Service the Contractor, SIAC Construction Ltd.

“The works have been delivered ahead of schedule and just in time for the anticipated Christmas shopping period. I am sure the transformed city centre will be hugely beneficial to the traders and a delight for the residents, visitors and eager shoppers to Armagh City Centre.”

Mayor of Armagh City and District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon explained that this has been a priority project for the Council over the last five years. He said: “The Council are delighted at the high quality final result that has been delivered by all involved. This project is the result of many years of working with our private sector partners in Armagh City Centre Management to secure funding, agree the design and finally the construction of the scheme. I want to thank all the businesses in the city centre who worked with us and SIAC to achieve this early completion.

“With over 30 businesses benefiting from Shop Frontage grants over the next year and the Public Art elements of the project still to come, there is no doubt as to the positive impact of this comprehensive scheme which will continue to shape the fortunes of Armagh. Armagh is indeed a significant place of architectural, cultural and historical heritage and now, thanks to the all involved in this project, we have a beautiful, accessible and successful City Centre to promote and be proud of.”

Kieran Doyle Regional Director for SIAC Construction Ltd commented: “Completion of the high quality major Armagh Environmental scheme, several months early and within budget is a measure of SIAC's commitment to the project and Armagh City Council. SIAC achieved this by adopting a partnering approach with the Council, its professional advisors and indeed the people of Armagh. SIAC would like to thank all parties including businesses, residents and the general public for their co-operation.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The total cost of the Armagh Public Realm scheme is £5.7million. This includes £3,700,000 from the Department for Social Development (DSD). The remaining funds are being provided by Department for Regional Development’s Roads Service (£330,000), Armagh City & District Council (£1.7million).
  2. SIAC Construction, Newry were appointed as the primary contractor to deliver the Public Realm Scheme. Scott Wilson designed and managed the scheme.
  3. Media enquiries to DSD Information Office on 028 9082 9078 or 07970 976894. Out of office hours please contact Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.