New University of Limerick president backs €150m Northern Distributor Road

PROJECT: DR FITZGERALD WARNS DEVELOPMENT OF COLLEGE COULD BE 'STYMIED' IF ROAD DOESN'T TAKE PLACE

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

New University of Limerick president backs €150m road

University of Limerick president, Dr Desmond Fitzgerald

THE new president of the University of Limerick Dr Desmond Fitzgerald has called for the €150m Northern Distributor Road to be delivered “as a matter of urgency”.

Dr Fitzgerald, who took up duties on campus earlier this month, says the proposed interconnector is an essential part of both the continued growth of the regional economy and the university itself.

His intervention comes as councillors prepare for a vote on whether to vary local development plans to allow the road proceed. This vote takes place on Monday week.

According to proposals, the link will start at Coonagh on the city’s northside, open up Moyross, before heading over the river Shannon and linking up with the motorway.

It has been opposed in some quarters by local residents who are concerned as to the impact the road will have on flooding.

But Dr Fitzgerald said: As we know, economies are cyclical, there are upturns and there are inevitably downturns. Limerick and the Mid-West must ensure that it capitalises on this upturn and if the right decision is not taken now, this key infrastructural development may not be achieved.”

“UL is conscious that any large-scale infrastructure development must be delivered in a manner that is sensitive to the local community and to the environment. The UL campus is one of the university's greatest assets and so UL wishes to see a Northern Distributor Road that fits with and complements the local environment and that of our campus,” he added.

Dr Fitzgerald warned that without the road, there is a risk the UL campus could by “stymied” by traffic congestion, and this could continue to spill into the local area.

Separately, the university has also confirmed Dr Fitzgerald is commissioning a campus masterplan to ensure the future expansion and development of UL is delivered in a planned and complementary manner.

"The campus at UL is exceptional; it is a pleasure to work here. I know it will need to grow and I want to ensure that it does so in a sensitive and appropriate manner through a unified plan,” Dr Fitzgerald concluded.