Saturday, March 2, 2024

Birr Technology Centre building has NOT been offered for Ukrainian refugees

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EUROPEAN Tech Hub has responded to what it considers misleading local and social media reports this weekend that the Birr Technology Centre building has been offered for the accommodation of Ukrainian beneficiaries of temporary protection. This is not the case confirms the centre management.
“The Birr Technology Centre Building is an actively managed and thriving office complex with over twenty businesses and state organisations located at the property. There are long leases in place with tenants and there no plans for anything except office use in the building. The property is managed by European Tech Tub and there are ambitious plans for the remaining available space, in particular in the green energy sector with a major application under consideration for EU Just Transition funding to support job creation and job protection in the Birr area. This week European Tech Hub published its ‘Birr Technology Centre Development Plan 2024-2026’ outlining its strategy following a strategy review in December.” said Denis Madden of European Tech Hubs.
“Birr Technology Centre was not contacted for comment or clarification and seeks to address the misleading statements and building images that were published in the media at the weekend.”
Birr Technology Centre campus comprises three buildings off St Brendan Street in Birr with in total 30,000 square feet of mixed-use space. The main building is the Birr Technology Centre Building this is a large modern multi-let office building which was built in 2003. The second building is smaller an older courtyard Enterprise Building directly on Brendan Street, and the third building is the Old Cinema.
European Tech Hub as part of wider strategy is investigating alternative uses for the smaller Enterprise Building, this includes standard office type use, and or use as live-work studios. As a stepping stone to live-work studios their interim use for emergency accommodation for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine is being evaluated. Ten bedrooms could be provided in a temporary change of use.
“This has been done in an open and transparent manner. An application was made to Offaly County in early January to clarify the planning aspect of a change of use. This is listed online in public applications on the Offaly County Council website. A declaration that a change of use would be an exempted development was received in February. The property was also submitted for evaluation by the relevant government department, DCEDIY, and its Ukraine Team, and this evaluation is ongoing. Technical building requirements assessment are also ongoing. In January Offaly County Council wrote to local Birr councillors to advise them of the matter and European Tech Hub provided background on its activity and liaised with the Offaly County Council Ukrainian Response Team. No decision, or basis for decision, has been reached at this stage.”
“It’s unfortunate that a misleading impression is created that the main Birr Technology Centre building has been offered for accommodation. This would imply that long resident and new businesses would be affected. This is clearly not going to happen and creates unnecessary concerns, so we are happy to clarify now.” said Denis Madden, CEO of European Tech Hubs. “We understand how this confusion can occur. A more specific response from the Minister in their response to a Parliamentary Question from local politician, Carol Nolan TD could have dealt with the matter, but that level of detail is not expected. A clearer press release from the office of TD Carol Nolan, including contact with Birr Technology Centre for clarifications would have avoided misleading headlines, comments and identification of an incorrect building in images.”
“We look forward to answering any queries in the coming days. We are available to local community representatives that wish to understand and contribute to our development strategies. We have a great resource in Birr with the Birr Technology Centre and we should be working together to make the most of the enterprise, employment and other opportunities it offers.” concluded Denis Madden.

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