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World Heritage Centre infused with spirit of Ireland

The new Irish World Heritage Centre will be built with materials from Ireland to fully embody the spirit of home in the iconic Manchester development. Chairman Michael Forde finally saw the impressive worldwide Diaspora centre project given the green light in November, after more than ten years in the planning stages. And as the diggers excavate the land at the Cheetham Hill site, to make way for the 25-acre facility, he is working on bringing as much of Ireland into the development as possible. “We have always planned to use building materials from Ireland, where possible, in the development,” Mr Forde told the Irish Post. “We want people to be walking on Irish wood and surrounded by Irish stonework and really retain that feeling of home in this important centre for the worldwide diaspora.” The proposals for the project show a dedication to natural material throughout the build – particularly in its exterior. Government agency Enterprise Ireland have committed to assisting Mr Forde and the Wilmot Dixon project management team, to source the relevant materials from Irish companies which are suitable for the build. The agency’s Shane Kelly is liaising with the IWHC team – which will move from its existing Queen’s Road site to the new building next Summer – on the long-awaited development. He claims it’s an exciting prospect for the organisation and community across the globe. “The IWHC is a project we are hugely enthusiastic to work on,” the London-based construction industry adviser said. “It’s an iconic project for the Irish community in the UK and the world. “We work with so many Irish construction companies, many now also active in Britain, so we are now working with the IWHC team to source those who can provide the embodied Irishness that they are looking for. “At the moment the project is all about the look and feel of the building and the aesthetics, so stonework would be one of the packages that springs to mind in terms of using a very Irish product that we should be able to source in Ireland and import for use in the build.” Mr Kelly has met with Mr Forde and the Wilmot Dixon team contracted to build the mammoth site and claims their request for Irish materials could also provide a lucrative springboard for Irish companies branching into the British market. “For companies looking at this project at all, they should be looking beyond it,” Mr Kelly explained. “It’s absolutely a door opener, it’s going to be such an iconic building in Britain and for the worldwide Irish community that it’s a prime reference site. “For companies who can provide quality products or a service within the build it’s a quality reference site for future work and it’s something we are hugely excited about.” He added: “We will be encouraging those Irish companies to get involved and consider Britain as a destination, it is a tough market but there is certainly business to be won. “So we would encourage any company interested in this project or thinking about branching out to contact us and certainly investigate the opportunity.”


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