Works to upgrade historic Limerick square are nearing completion

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THE long-awaited upgrade of St John’s Square should be complete by the end of the month, a city official has said.

THE long-awaited upgrade of St John’s Square should be complete by the end of the month, a city official has said.

David Keane, acting director of service told this week’s transport and infrastructure meeting that the upgrade will be complete by Sunday, June 24.

But councillors expressed doubts over this deadline, given the condition the square is in today.

The works will see an upgrade of the public space with granite paving, new street lighting and traffic calming measures to provide a public space.

But Fianna Fail’s City East councillor Kieran O’Hanlon said the square at the moment resembles “a scud missile base”.

He criticised the contractors on the project.

“It is a disgrace this has been going on for so long. If you are given a price and a timeline, it is expected it is completed at this time within reason. But this is not within reason,” he said, “I do not know how long it took to build the Great Wall of China, but I am sure it was a more acceptable timeline than this.”

Southside Labour councillor Joe Leddin asked if the council could charge the contractor a penalty for overrunning on the project.

He was told that a penalty scheme is in place.

Cllr Pat Kennedy, Fine Gael, said John’s Square is “very important for the image of the city.”

“This delay is inordinate and inexcusable. Businesses are being very badly hit.We have already put up with an awful lot in regard of William Street,” he said.

He also said he thinks Mr Keane’s prediction was “unrealistic”.

Businessman Tony Brazil, who sits as the committee said: “Is there something we are missing? Each project we have engaged in has run on. What are we learning from this?”

Committee chairman Ger Fahy admitted the delays are disappointing, but said: “When the work is complete, it will be done to perfection, and it will enhance our city.”

He said it will be worth waiting for.

Mr Keane said the delay was “inexcusable” and blamed a changeover in contractor forced on the council mid-way through the project.