INDEPENDENT councillor John Gilligan has slammed British retail chain Marks and Spencer for “an abuse of their dominant position” in the market.
The retailer is believed to be the anchor tenant in the planned Parkway Valley development on the Dublin Road.
But, if it did move into Limerick City, it is believed it could look at the Opera Centre site on Patrick Street as an option.
Speaking at this week’s council meeting, Cllr Gilligan called for legislation to prevent abuses of market dominance.
“Marks and Spencer would hope to go into Patrick Street and pay nothing - and then not have to pay commercial rates for a number of years. This is an abuse of its dominant position, and there needs to be legislation passed on this,” he said.
He said the city cannot sustain two new shopping centres - and said if Belfast developer Suneil Sharma proceeds with the Dublin Road development, “we might as well level Patrick Street and build a car park there.”
Labour councillor Joe Leddin said smaller retailers should be incentivised, and pointed out some of the listed buildings on the Opera Centre site are still fit for use, because they are listed buildings, including the Old Town Hall.
Director of service Oliver O’Loughlin confirmed that “a number of the listed buildings are capable of being used in the short term.”
Meanwhile, plans to introduce 50 new casual trading points in the city centre are expected to be
rubberstamped this autumn, city official Caroline Curley has said.
She was responding to questions at this month’s
council meeting from Sinn Fein’s maurice Quinlivan and Labour councillors Joe Leddin and Tom Shortt on the plans, which will also see the number of trading points outside Thomond Park restricted.
This could mean just four trading points are allowed around the 26,000-seater stadium.