Limerick councillors in bid to block youth scheme

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

COUNCILLORS opposed to €2m plans for a youth service in Ballynanty are to attempt to block the proposal at next week’s meeting.

COUNCILLORS opposed to €2m plans for a youth service in Ballynanty are to attempt to block the proposal at next week’s meeting.

With support from JP McManus, the Limerick Youth Service (LYS) wants to build a new multi-level centre in the shadow of Thomond Park.

But the plan has attracted opposition from Ballynanty residents, and in turn local councillors.

Residents are upset that the scheme would see the loss of a green space outside their homes. They also believe if the scheme goes ahead, there will be an increase in anti-social behaviour.

As the service wants to build on council land, it is up to members to approve the application. Now, councillors Michael Hourigan and Maurice Quinlivan have lodged a motion to be heard at next week’s meeting that council “does not transfer ownership of the green area at Knockalisheen Avenue, Ballynanty, to any public or private agency.”

If councillors pass this motion, it would mean LYS would not be allowed to build on this space, regardless of what planners decide.

The motion needs to be approved at today’s corporate policy group (CPG) meeting.

Cllr Hourigan said: “The residents in this area were very clear they wanted the open space preserved. Open space is so important from the point of view of quality of life.”

He also argued if this motion is passed, it would save both residents and the youth service money in appeals to An Bord Pleanala.

Fellow northside councillor Tom Shortt described the motion as “anti-democratic”.

“We are caving into a small pressure group, and I am very disappointed with Michael Hourigan and Maurice Quinlivan they are trying to force this issue. This is bringing a debate we need to have to a premature end,” he said, adding he would oppose the motion at today’s CPG meeting.

The planning application has been further delayed, due to a request for further information. Catherine Kelly, LYS, was not available for comment.