Limerick Chamber wants city sliced into political ‘wedges’

EACH of the redrawn electoral areas in the city should integrate part of the city centre, according to Limerick Chamber.

EACH of the redrawn electoral areas in the city should integrate part of the city centre, according to Limerick Chamber.

This, they argue, would ensure each elected member would have to concern themselves with the central business district as well as issues in the suburbs.

Minister Phil Hogan has proposed creating a Limerick metropolitan area - with a population of around 100,000 people - within the unified City and County Councils.

Most of the submissions to the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee propose this enlarged urban area be divided in three - with a total representation of at least 20 councillors.

While Chamber CEO Maria Kelly expresses no preference for the number of electoral areas, each “should be shaped like a wedge extending outward from the city centre to the outer-lying boundary so that each electoral area, and consequently elected member, is equally representative of business, infrastructure and population with responsibility for a portion of the city centre, a portion of the urban and suburban areas, and also a portion of the outer-lying areas”.

“The Chamber believes that this approach will contribute greater unity and representation in a compact city model and assist political consideration of different spatially-based commercial rate calculations throughout the city,” she added.

The submission from Fine Gael city councillors includes most of the business district south of the Shannon and Abbey in a proposed Limerick City South electoral area that would extend as far as Mungret, Ballysheedy, Ballyclough and farmland to the south. Limerick City East would come as far as into the city centre as John’s Square, High Street and Mungret Street and stretch as far as Lisnagry under the Fine Gael proposals. Limerick City North, meanwhile, would reach George’s Quay, Clare Street and Johnsgate.

In its submission, Limerick Chamber reiterated its view that “successful countries and regions must have successful cities at their core”, arguing that Limerick city must get “critical mass” for the region to prosper.

“Evidence demonstrates that it is cities that drive economic growth and raise living standards for the greater surrounding regions. We urge that in your recommendations...that our urban core remains the focus as the key economic driver for the greater region with the appropriate population and representation to reflect this,” Ms Kelly stated.

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