MINISTER for Finance Michael Noonan is weighing up whether tax breaks should be introduced to preserve and regenerate Limerick’s Georgian heart.
Should he find such an incentive is feasible, tax measures would be included in the next finance bill.
The minister said he was particularly concerned about the Patrick Street/Rutland Street area - site of the aborted Opera Centre retail development and purchased from NAMA by Limerick City Council with the help of central government last year.
“I’m very anxious to see development at the Opera site and you see there is already scaffolding up around it to stop it from falling down. And of course there is a certain amount of dereliction in the city centre generally,” the minister said.
“I have been asked to examine the possibility of tax breaks to encourage development and the restoration of the facades of the Georgian buildings in Limerick. I’m not sure if it is a runner for the budget but I am certainly examining its feasibility in that context. We definitely need to see what is possible in terms of retaining old Limerick.”
Asked if any potential measure would be confined to Limerick, he said: “there aren’t Georgian buildings on that scale anywhere else in the country outside of Dublin, where the likes of Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square have already been redeveloped”.
Minister Noonan made mention of the possible incentive at a fundraising lunch for Limerick Civic Trust, which has long campaigned for the preservation of Georgian Limerick.