LOCAL Government Minister Phil Hogan, who is charged with deciding the future of Limerick’s boundary, has said he can “see the logic” of extending the boundary into County Clare.
But the Minister who will ultimately decide on any future redrawing of the city’s boundary has said he recognises controversial proposals to extend Limerick City boundary’s northwards to incorporate Shannon Banks and Westbury do not have support.
This week, Minister Hogan gave a strong indication that he would be supporting proposals by the Denis Brosnan-chaired boundary committee to join Limerick City and County councils.
The news has put members of Limerick City Council on high alert, with councillors set to lobby Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan, the only local senior politician to support plans for a simple boundary extension, rather than an amalgamation of authorities.
However, Fine Gael whip Cllr Jim Long has said he understands that if the authorities are amalgamated, the City Council would play the leading role. Meanwhile, Mayor Maria Byrne has called on Minister Hogan to extend the city’s boundaries ahead of any merger.
Speaking in the Dail, following a question by Clare TD Joe Carey, Minister Hogan said: “A unified Limerick local authority would introduce a single authority of scale with the strength, assets and capacity to meet Limerick’s challenges. It would bring about a more cohesive and better integrated local government system for Limerick city and county. It would create potential for better value for money, eliminate duplication and free up financial and human resources for critical projects such as the revitalisation of Limerick’s city centre, regeneration and the support of enterprise.”
However, speaking on proposals to include the Clare estates of Shannon Banks and Westbury into an enlarged Limerick City, Minister Hogan said: “I recognise the proposal does not enjoy the same degree of support as other aspects of the report, and it is probably not as essential to the core issues dealt with in the report as the Limerick City and County aspect.”