THE former Limerick Clothing Factory site on Edward Street would be ideal for a botanic gardens and the old dump at Longpavement converted into a visitor attraction, according to Sinn Fein’s Sean Griffin, who wants to reverse the slide in tourism numbers by transforming derelict sites around the city for eco-tourism.
“In view of the recent Board Failte Ireland report stating that there was a 37 per cent reduction in visitors to the Limerick/Shannon area, drastic action needs to be taken if we are to recover the lost revenue and provide the sustainable jobs that would accrue from it,” Mr Griffin said.
More imagination was required from the powers that be, he said, and one area that should be focused on was the growing eco-tourism sector, increasing by five per cent a year worldwide.
“Vision and determination is needed if the city is to advance itself as a destination for people seeking to focus on the flora, fauna and cultural heritage of our city. These are the basic ingredients for sustainable eco-tourism and in Limerick we have them in abundance. We need however to enhance their attractiveness by supplementing what we have with what we can create.”
“In Limerick we have an opportunity to tap into this massive industry by creating attractions that will be sustainable and interesting. We have many derelict sites that could be used to house such attractions as botanical gardens, aquariums, natural history museums and industrial museums.
“The old Limerick Clothing Factory is one of these sites. This site could easily house a botanical gardens while at the same time being preserved as an emblem of Limerick’s industrial past.
“The Longpavement Park could be turned into an eco-type theme park that could link up with a cycle path linear park around the periphery of the city that would allow cyclists and walkers to traverse such areas as Salmon Weir at the Distillery, Island Bank, Salmon Weir Bank, Corbally, Shannon Fields, the Grand Canal, Groody River Bank, Ballysimon, Crossagalla, Ballinacurra River Bank, Baggott Estate, Bunlicky, Cleeve’s Bank, Barrington’s Pier, Coonagh, Redgate, Cratloe Road to the Longpavement,” Mr Griffin said.
Sinn Fein, he added, was calling on the City Council to come up with a strategic plan to maximise the potential of the natural environment and make use of derelict sites.
“We believe that any such strategic plan would meet with Government and EU approval and would therefore qualify for grant aid,” Mr Griffin said.