INDEPENDENT city east councillor John Gilligan has welcomed the council’s commitment to seek €6m for the development of Nicholas Street.
And he hit out at critics of Shannon Development, who are partnering with the City Council in the redevelopment of the medieval quarter.
In the next few months, multi-million euro plans are expected to get under way to revamp King John’s Castle, and Nicholas Street, which have appeared dated in recent years.
One of Limerick’s main tourist attractions, King John’s Castle is going to undergo a €6m revamp, with a new Castle Lane, providing a history of Limerick and the Shannon, as well as exhibition levels will be constructed.
Visitors will be able to ‘virtually’ sit on the banks of the River Shannon, and survey the rich history of Ireland’s longest river. As part of the exhibition - named ‘The Currents of History’ - an interactive river section will focus on the treatment of the Shannon’s water, and the effect climate change may have on its future.
Cllr Gilligan said the public sector have really stepped up to the mark on this occasion, pointing out that private speculators had let Nicholas Street go to rack and ruin.
“The public sector has come to the rescue where the private sector has fallen down badly,” Cllr Gilligan said, “People are very quick to criticise Limerick City Council for the problems down there. That is not true. All these derelict sites were bought by the private sector for speculative purposes. When the bottom fell out, they were left to fall down.”
Speaking of the funding, the former Mayor added: “It has been a long long time in coming. We have been waiting well over ten years for this. I am absolutely delighted we finally have the money committed by the government and other agencies for this. It looks like after so many years, we will be completing this. I know Shannon Development has worked extremely hard in the background. I do know like everyone else, they were frustrated from time to time. If you take a look at the kind of money we have got, it is far in excess from what anywhere else in the country has got.”
According to documents shown to councillors this week, Limerick City Council is seeking some €213m from government between now and 2014.
Projects it is looking at bringing forward include the pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street, an upgrade to the Childers Road, green routes, the Northern Distributor Road, and Howley’s Quay improvement works.