PLANNERS have given the green light to plans for a 20-bed tourist hostel in Limerick city aimed at young backpackers.
At present, Limerick is the only Irish city which does not have a youth hostel.
But Flan Costello, who owns a well known pub and nightclub on Dominic Street in the city, has secured conditional planning permission to convert the first and second floor of the former Molyneux’s Pub on Mungret Street into a hostel.
It appears from the planning application that the pub will reopen on the ground floor, and the upper two floors will be used for the facility.
At present, the building houses the old bar on the ground floor and six apartments over two floors above.
Mr Costello has received permission to extend and convert the first and second floors from residential use to youth hostel accommodation.
On the first floor, there will be a designated smoking area, while the second floor extension will see a bathroom, shower area and extra bedroom.
However, Mr Costello’s proposal for a first floor extension to accommodate a games and TV room was turned down in order to preserve daylight for neighbouring householders.
Sinn Fein’s city east councillor and recent UL graduate, Séighin Ó Ceallaigh, welcomed the planning decision.
“The tourist industry is an important part of the city, and cheaper accommodation would attract more people travelling across Western Europe to make a stop-off in Limerick,” he said.
“The money they save on a hotel they could spend in the local economy,” he added.
If the development goes ahead, it would mean Limerick would have its own youth hostel for the first time since 2003, when An Oige in Pery Square shut.
In 2009, Hirar Properties secured planning permission to develop a flour-floor 85-bed backpacker hostel on Cecil Street. But this project never saw the light of day.
Mr Costello was not available for comment.