Population in Limerick region could grow to over one million in 20 years

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

The Limerick City metropolitan area should be supported to cater for a population of 300,000

The Limerick City metropolitan area should be supported to cater for a population of 300,000

THE population of Limerick’s metropolitan district has the capacity to grow to 300,000 people by 2040 – almost triple its current size.

And the number of people in the whole region could increase to almost one million in that period.

That’s according to a major submission put to the government from a number of bodies in response to the National Planning Framework.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was forced onto the defensive this week, with suggestions his government’s Ireland 2040 strategy was not ambitious enough in terms of the Mid-West.

It states that Limerick City’s population may only increase to 150,000 by 2040 – with council boss Conn Murray telling the minister it is, in effect, “limiting” to the region’s potential.

His comments were backed up by Chamber chief executive Dr James Ring and its president Ken Johnson.

A major submission put together by Councils in Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Shannon groups, the University of Limerick and the Limerick Institute of Technology, suggests the government’s forecast could be hugely outstripped.

“The Limerick City metropolitan area should be supported to cater for a population of 300,000.

“It is advocated that due to its strategic location, the Mid-West Limerick City region has the capacity to grow to 800,000 by 2040 with supporting infrastructure and investment,” the submission states.

It calls on the government to prioritise the region as “Ireland’s tier two city region”, with the planning framework harnessing the potential of Shannon Airport’s capacity and its motorway connectivity to 40% of the country’s population.

“Higher densities should be linked with the provision of high-quality amenities,” it adds.

A separate submission from members of Limerick City and County Council adds that Limerick “has plenty of capacity to grow”.

“It’s affordable and has an excellent offer in terms of quality of life,” the entry goes on, pointing out the setting up of Limerick 2030, plus the creation of 9,000 IDA-backed jobs across the region over the last few years.

Elsewhere, the Limerick Institute of Technology in a submission of its own, suggests it could expand its footprint to create a new campus in Ennis.

The institute already has bases at Clonmel and Thurles, with several campuses in the city itself.

Speaking to Mr Donohoe at a budget briefing in City Hall, Mr Murray suggested the government’s planning framework “reinforces the imbalance between the east and the west”.

“The approach of the development of city regions is the most forward thinking strategy which has emerged for a long time.

“However, the scripting is actually limiting the potential of these city regions, and is not addressing the fundamental issue which is the balance with Dublin,” he stated.

While the government has published its draft National Planning Framework, the deadline for submissions to the final work falls on Friday, November 3.

Following this, a final National Planning Framework will be unveiled by the government.