Limerick city councillor Kieran O’Hanlon has strongly obejected to the proposals to amalgamate Limerick city and county councils saying that it is a “very sad day in the history of Limerick”.
Minister for Environment Phil Hogan yesterday decided to implement the main recommendations of the Denis Brosnan-chaired Local Government Committee, a move that has opened strong divisions between the city and county.
The move will see both councils amalgamated and a single authority governing a population of more than 184,000 people.
“I am extremely disappointed that Limerick city has been sold down the drain,” reacted Fianna Fail councillor O’Hanlon this Wednesday.
“I was the 800th mayor and am a native of Limerick and very proud of the city, and Limerick county have never cared about Limerick city in any respect.
Social housing has been a big issue; they came along and built huge shopping centres around the perimeter of the city; and we now can see the results of the damage to the core of the city.
There seems to be no clarification - we looked for a boundary extension and basically we got the abolition of the city,” he argued.
Cllr O’Hanlon criticised the nature of the announcement and the fact that confusion continues to reign on the issues surrounding a part of the University of Limerick remaining in Clare, despite the assertions of the report that a parcel of land be transferred so the campus would fall under the control of one authority.
“I think the whole process of announcing this has been very unprofessional. The minister should have had the decency in my opinion to come down and address both county and city councillors and explain what is happening.
“There is confusion this morning - Phil Hogan appears to have agreed to have all of the campus of UL under one authority. He then went to cabinet and it is obvious the Clare contingent got a hold of Enda Kenny and they have changed their minds and they have sold us totally down the drain with that.
“There is total confusion on this, that the press release was issued yesterday before the cabinet meeting, and in that release, from Phil Hogan’s department, it said that there was a five acre area on the north side of the campus in UL, which would be encompassed in the new Limerick authority, or whatever it is going to be called
“That was clearly stated in the (advance) press release, but Phil Hogan made a joke of it this morning when he said that there was none of Clare coming into Limerick, that we didn’t need bodhrans in Limerick. So he is making a laugh and a joke out of the whole thing and it is obvious he doesn’t know what is going on.”
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