Limerick councillors may yet block youth centre plans

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Anne Marie-Stacke chairs the public meeting at St Munchins Community Centre. [Picture: Keith Wiseman]
MORE than half of City Councillors have agreed to effectively block the youth service from developing in Ballynanty, it was claimed at a public meeting.

MORE than half of City Councillors have agreed to effectively block the youth service from developing in Ballynanty, it was claimed at a public meeting.

More than 60 people attended the meeting in the Kileely Community Hall in protest at €1.8m plans by the Limerick Youth Service to develop a centre on a green patch of land in Ballynanty.

Some residents in the estate are opposed to the plans,fearing an increase in anti-social behaviour, and a drop in value of their homes among other things.

Although both city planners and An Bord Pleanala have given the development planning permission, city councillors can in the autumn block the development.

This is because under planning legislation, it is up to elected representatives to agree to the lease of council-owned land.

One of the few occasions where councillors can have a say on planning matters, ten members have indicated they will vote against the disposal of land, Anne-Marie Stacke of the Ballynanty Residents Opposition Committee claimed.

With the matter due at a council meeting in the autumn, Cllrs Maurice Quinlivan, Michael Hourigan, Kieran O’Hanlon, Denis McCarthy, Orla McLoughlin, Jim Long, Kevin Kiely, Cormac Hurley, Kathleen Leddin and Ger Fahy have said they will be voting to block the proposal.

The only councillor who is likely to vote in favour is Cllr Tom Shortt, while the remainder of council members have yet to state their opinion.

Ms Stacke said if councillors democratically blocked the plan - which is being funded through the JP McManus foundation - it would be a “very fair way to win it”.

At the meeting, one member of the community, Ballynanty man Martin O’Donnell suggested the residents should themselves seek to take ownership of the land - and give councillors the opportunity to vote in favour of that instead.

Three members were present at the meeting - Cllrs Quinlivan, Leddin and Hourigan. Cllr Quinlivan referred to a petition in support of the proposals - saying he has met just two people in the area in favour of the scheme.