'Threatened' bats delay €180m redevelopment in Limerick
An office and leisure development in Limerick is facing delay after objections were raised over a "threatened species" of bat nesting on site.
The €180m Project Opera is set to transform the heart of Limerick, with a vast area of the city centre planned for offices, houses, an apart-hotel, a new city library, cafés and restaurants.
But in a 48-page submission to An Bord Pleanála, Limerick An Taisce has claimed "at least three separate species of bat" have been identified on the development site, pointing out that these are legally protected under both European and Irish legislation.
The local branch of the heritage body has identified the common pipistrelle bat, the soprano pipistrelle, the Leisler's bat and the lesser horseshoe bat as being present on part of the site.
"The proposed development will result in permanent loss of the bat roost at Nine Rutland Street of a near-threatened species. A range of habitats and protected species will be negatively impacted," argued Limerick An Taisce's chair Michelle Hayes.
A spokesperson for the local authority said they do not comment on live planning applications.
"The application for proposed development of the Opera site is with An Bord Pleanála, who will make a decision," they added.