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Sunday 23 July 2017

'No growth for city' as council report to be shelved

Barry Duggan

THE Government will not fully implement controversial recommendations contained in a report it commissioned itself.

The Irish Independent has learned that the report -- aimed at tackling the dysfunctional local governance system in Limerick -- will be left to the next administration to examine.

However, it is understood that the Government still intends to extend Limerick city's boundary into neighbouring authorities before its term of office is over.

Last night, President of Limerick Chamber of Commerce Kieran MacSweeney said the city had reached "tipping point".

"It is ... losing its ability to be a choice for retail and for Limerick city to be the beacon of attractive foreign direct investment into the Mid-West. The city and region need progress," Mr MacSweeney said.

The report was compiled by the chairman of the Limerick Local Government Committee, Denis Brosnan.

But with the Government's term of office expected to finish in the spring, most of the businessman's recommendations will be shelved for now.

The report recommended to the Government that a new super-council be established to govern the entire Limerick area and parts of south-east Clare.

The new authority would be known as 'Limerick City and County Council' and would service a population of 187,000 and make Limerick the country's third-largest city with a population of 100,000.

Decay

Environment Minister John Gormley is understood to be examining the possibility of extending the city's boundary into southeast Co Clare and Co Limerick.

Such a move is likely be met with first resistance by some members of both Clare and Limerick county councils.

Mr MacSweeney said the city was losing one business a week for the last 15 months.

"The decay of the inner city is continuing. Everybody agreed that the status quo was the worst option. Even those opposed to the Denis Brosnan recommendation agreed that this was the worst option.

"If that is the way it is heading, it is by far the worst option and it is the abdication of responsibility," he added.

Speaking previously, Mr Brosnan said the current system of local government in Limerick could not be continued with as it was "failing Limerick".

"If you don't sort out Limerick and the greater Mid-West region, there won't be jobs here for the next 10 years," he warned.

Irish Independent

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