IMERICK city TD Willie O’Dea has said the youth service must give “serious consideration” to developer Ray Conway’s offer of land.
The Limerick Leader revealed recently that Mr Conway was willing to offer a two-acre site near the Longpavement landfill to Limerick Youth Service in a bid to stop them building in Ballynanty.
The Ennis Road-based businessman, who once employed 110 people in his firm, Conway’s Coaches, is prepared to give the service the land without conditions.
The youth service’s plans to develop in Ballynanty have proven controversial wih a number of residents lodging objections to the scheme.
Now, Mr O’Dea, said the two-acre land, in front of White Cross Gardens, Moyross, would be an “eminently suitable” place.
“There would be few if any objections in the area. It would be much less controversial, and it is a very generous offer by Mr Conway. If the youth service don’t give serious consideration to this, you would have to ask whether they have a hidden agenda to locate in Ballynanty,” he said.
Mr O’Dea’s views have been backed by northside Fine Gael councillor Cormac Hurley, who said: “I think it would work out to be fantastic. It would be in an area where there would not be any opposition to it, I imagine.”
There have been claims that the service is looking to locate on the patch of land in front of Thomond Park in order to avail of higher levels of funding, as Ballynanty is not classed as a regeneration area.
But the former Defence Minister said: “This is without foundation. If people believe this, they are sadly deluded. Funding is not given based on area.”
Northside councillors have met on a number of occasions over the controversial proposal, and it is believed they are divided over the plan. Cllrs Maurice Quinlivan and Michael Hourigan are supporting the residents.
Labour councillor Tom Shortt, meanwhile, has lent his support to the youth service.
But the views of the remaining city north councillors are unknown.
However, Independent northside member Kathleen Leddin said: “It is a very worthwhile project, but the people in the area are not happy with it. A lot of it depends on them. They should have been consulted in the first place, then it should have gone from there.”
Mayor Jim Long added: “As a people’s mayor and a people’s councillor, I would be leaning towards ensuring the residents have a full say on this. I don’t believe proper discussions took place in relation to the residents, and at the moment, I am leaning towards their arguments.”