With political uncertainty in the air, Limerick can no longer count on having influential cabinet ministers, such as Minister Michael Noonan, looking out for it
THE people have spoken. The votes have been counted. If anything is certain, we are clearly entering into an unprecedented phase of political instability on a national level.
My biggest fear as we move on from last week’s election is that we may miss a unique opportunity to complete some of the work that has been done to develop Limerick’s economic growth.
The past five years may not have seen the recovery touch everybody.
However, the work that has been done behind the scenes to create a platform for economic growth in Limerick has been commendable.
For the first time in many years we have a group of important stakeholders communicating together.
A vision has been created and a blueprint put in place that aims to make Limerick a European city that punches above its weight.
Over recent years our local authority has acquired some of the most important vacant sites in our urban centre. We have read the plans. We have heard the talk. But we have seen little or no action when it comes to seeing cranes in the sky or actual job creation in downtown Limerick.
Other than the very welcome addition of Uber to the city centre all we can boast about is the successful acquisition of key sites in the city.
We now own the former Opera site, the Hanging Gardens and the former Cleeves toffee factory.
It is almost four years since I first heard the words “we will see cranes in the sky this year” in relation to the Hanging Gardens site on Henry Street. To this day the skeletal, half-built structure sits as a concrete reminder of how much more we have to do.
Limerick has had a five-year period where so much energy has been invested in putting the city back on the map. Our image is so much better nationally. Those outside of Limerick ask what we are doing right.
Yet when we look at the basic facts it is difficult to see any actual completed projects that have made a positive impact on the economic development of the city.
As we enter into this new period of political instability could it be that Limerick has once again missed the boat when an opportunity was put in front of us?
If we are to make the work done over recent years worth the time and effort, then we must start to see action.
Just last week we saw the announcement of planning permission being submitted for a large city centre project in Cork.
This is a developer-led project that is set to go into construction phase later this year. We need to be seeing similar moves in Limerick – and fast.
Plans are important and in some ways it is refreshing to see such long-term plans now in place for the future of Limerick.
But action is equally important and action is one thing the city has lacked.
We had five years with two key ministers at cabinet, five years where all the eyes were on Limerick’s rebirth, five years of cultural and social development. It would be tragic is all this came to nothing.
Action must now be top of the agenda.
Torch shines light on McDonagh play
IT’S great to see one of Limerick’s leading amateur theatre groups returning to the Lime Tree Theatre this weekend.
Following the success of last year’s production, One Flew Over the Cuckoos NesT, Torch Players will return to The Belltable stage with The Cripple of Inishmaan.
This year director, Maurice O’Sullivan, has assembled a cast of nine to take on Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy.
The play is set on the rural island of Inishmaan in 1934. In a place where news is currency, the inhabitants, through village gossip Johnnypateen, learn of a Hollywood film crew’s arrival on the neighbouring island of Inishmore.
McDonagh’s comic masterpiece tells the story of the eccentric islanders but centres around “Cripple” Billy Claven, a young man trying to escape the boredom of the island and make sense of who he is.
This play will have audiences crying with laughter as well as empathising with those less fortunate characters.
Making their return to the stage for Torch Players this year are Mary Harvey, Edel Heaney, Mícheal O’Dubhghaill, Peter Hayes, Joanne O’Brien, Dan Mooney and Antoinette Portley.
Torch Players are also delighted to welcome Oisín Gogarty as well as James Corr who will be taking on the role of Billy Claven.
The show is running this week from March 1- 5 at The Belltable, 69 O’Connell Street.
Booking information can be found on www.limetreetheatre.ie.
Crowdfunding can work for your idea
HAVE you ever considered how crowdfunding could work for your start-up or idea?
Bank of Ireland is partnering with Ireland’s leading crowdfunding site for creative ideas. Fundit.ie will host Fundit Wednesdays, monthly talks taking place throughout Ireland in 2016.
These lively discussion sessions will aim to give you all you need to know about crowdfunding as an alternative way to unlock funds for a start-up through engaging with your customers, fans or social media followers.
Andrew Hetherington, chief executive of Fundit.ie will talk about crowdfunding, the benefits and pit-falls, and what you need to know about the domestic and international sites to make a decision on which one is best for you.
The event will take place in the Captain’s Room at the Hunt Museum next Wednesday March 9 from 5pm.
Refreshments will be provided on the evening and all are welcome to attend.