Concerns following fire at Opera Centre site

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

A FIRE at the site of the proposed Opera Centre has sparked further concerns over the continuing dereliction of the area.

A FIRE at the site of the proposed Opera Centre has sparked further concerns over the continuing dereliction of the area.

THREE units of Limerick Fire Service and local gardai attended the scene of the fire at a derelict building on Rutland Street. The building forms part of the stalled ‘Opera Centre’ development and is located next to the Trinity Rooms nightclub, which has remained closed since July as a result of problems associated with the neighbouring site, which has lain dormant for several years.

Gardai from Henry Street also attended the scene, but told the Limerick Leader that they were not aware of any suspicious behaviour or reports of anti-social behaviour at the scene.

A source close to Trinity Rooms management told the Leader that the fire “just highlights the overall problem that is there, and the dangers that exist on all sides”.

“It is an ongoing problem and it is nearly a year since the disrepair those buildings are in was highlighted and that we could have a situation similar to Cork where they collapsed.” They added that the nightclub would remain closed indefinitely for “health and safety and legal reasons and duty of care to customers and staff”, while the issues with the Opera Centre remained unresolved.

While moves are taking place behind the scenes to encourage some kind of development in the site, traders and business owners in the area around the Opera Centre are growing increasingly nervous as to the derelict nature of the site.

The site has been in limbo for some four years since it was first mooted as a flagship development for the city centre, encompassing more than 40 individual properties, which have now largely all fallen into disrepair.