Dooradoyle residents object to €4 million plans to develop hotel at the Unicorn

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

CONCERN over noise traffic and “zombie hotels” have resulted in 11 objections to plans to develop a 50-bedroom budget hotel at the Unicorn in Dooradoyle.

CONCERN over noise traffic and “zombie hotels” have resulted in 11 objections to plans to develop a 50-bedroom budget hotel at the Unicorn in Dooradoyle.

Objectors include four residents groups at Gouldavoher, Dooradoyle Estate, Fr Russell Road and Oakfield. Attention has also been drawn to the proposed demolition of a former Royal Irish Constabulary barracks, which residents say is the only building of historical significance in the area.

Limerick County Council is to decide in the coming days on the plans by Anne Greene to develop the hotel, which would be semi-catering in the American style, as well as a gym and underground carpark. The total proposed investment amounts to €4 million and a spokesman for the Greene family previously said 20 new jobs would be created.

Residents of the Dooradoyle Estate say traffic in the area is already “a nightmare” and they already find it extremely difficult to get in or out, particularly when St Paul’s and St Gabriel’s schools are opening and closing.

Other residents complain of “noise”, “nuisance” and “rowdiness” from patrons and live bands at the Unicorn and fear weddings, 21st birthdays and other functions will increase in frequency if permission is granted.

A group of residents on the Fr Russell Road objected to the County Council that this nuisance factor has “been the source of much objection at recent court sittings” and another resident claims numerous complaints have been made to the gardai about noise levels.

Some residents complain about Irish “zombie hotels” and say the phenomenon has affected Limerick in particular. Attention is also drawn to the trading difficulties experienced by the hotel groups behind the South Court and Patrick Punch hotels.

The Fr Russell Road residents cite reports from an Irish Hotels Federation meeting where 82 hotels nationally had been signed over to NAMA and a further 50 were in receivership. IHF president Paul Gallagher had pointed out at an Oireachtas committee hearing last year that Limerick and Sligo were the worst-affected areas in the country when it came to the oversupply of beds.

“The two hotels in closest proximity to the Unicorn, namely the South Court at Raheen, and Punches Cross, have both been in considerable, publicly-ackowledged, financial difficulty,” the Fr Russell Road residents state in making their case that another hotel in the area “is not needed”.