A nightlife plan for Limerick city would be worth the effort

Nigel Dugdale's City View

Nigel Dugdale

Reporter:

Nigel Dugdale

A nightlife plan for Limerick city would be worth the effort

Pictures shared on social media accompanied complaints about students allegedly causing upset in one of our nightlife districts

RECENT discussions around how Limerick’s evening economy operates have given us plenty of food for thought.

The suggestion by Failte Ireland’s Michael Cawley in relation to Limerick embracing the Stag market was met with widespread disdain.

We were then treated to a series of images published on social media showing the results of college students being evicted from our nightclub district at the same time.

The city rightly takes pride in the night-time river patrols that voluntarily take place along our quays particularly on busy nights during the week.

A recent article also made reference to Limerick applying for the Purple Flag, an initiative not unlike the blue flags seen on beaches but aimed at the night-time economy of a city.

All of the above discussions are welcome and thankfully suggest that we are now placing a value on our city’s evening economy.

I hear a lot of people talk about how Limerick city is dead at night. 

Yet I also hear of the impossibility of getting bookings in restaurants, and the fact that new venues, pubs, cafes and restaurants are popping up all over the place.

Either the city is full of idiotic businesspeople, or there is something happening.

I believe the traditional stag ‘piss-up’ is perhaps slowly evolving into a more mature experiential event.

 Surely Limerick city can offer an experience to beat many other cities in the country for such weekend breaks and I suggest we might be foolish to reject the suggestion completely?

Perhaps a branded package of stag weekends with specific focus on our river activities, our outdoor amenities, our food and our hospitality venues could be a start.

Or maybe we don’t need the money?

On a similar note I’ve been interested to read lately of the success seen in Amsterdam after the introduction of a ‘Night Mayor’ concept.

In 2014, after a public vote by local businesses with a vested evening economy interest, the city elected Mirik Milan, a former club promoter, as the official Night Mayor of Amsterdam.

He has been a keen promoter of the idea of 24-hour districts moving away from the traditional ‘curfew’ mentality that tends to be the preference of local government.

Milan is particularly interested in the development of ‘special districts’ for after-dark businesses where cities could balance many local desires for a lively night life with the wishes of others for peace and quiet.

Imagine Limerick was to be the first city in Ireland to pilot a staggered closing time or later opening hours tied in with a series of other test initiatives.

As we embrace our new-found confidence we are likely to see a major increase in demand for our evening economy offering (whatever form that takes).

It would be far more beneficial for us as a city to start planning today for this new phase in our city’s evening offering. 

Handing out free slippers to girls at 3am or providing pop-up Garda booths will only go so far.

We need a well-planned, thorough and widely engaged programme to be developed along the lines of what has been seen in Amsterdam.

Most important it must be noted that those leading such an initiative are not elected officials or career civil servants – they are those who have spent years in the minefield of after dark activities.

Redfaire a great hometown success story

Limerick saw another job creation announcement recently with the news that Redfaire, an Irish IT Services and Software company with a headquarters in Limerick, has committed to the creation of 40 jobs to support its fast-growing international customer base. 

The jobs are in a range of roles including, IT Support, Sales, Software Product Development and Cloud IT Consultants.

The company expects to continue its expansion in Limerick over the next three years to support its ambitious growth targets. 

Redfaire currently employs 43 people in Ireland as well as a further 77 at offices in the UK and France.

Redfaire’s growth since the beginning of 2016 is thanks, in part, to winning a contract with international convenience store brand Circle K, previously known as Statoil Fuel and Retail. Circle K also recently acquired Topaz Ireland.

Brian McInerney, CEO of Redfaire, speaking on behalf of the team said, “Redfaire is focused on becoming a leading Oracle IT services companies in EMEA. 

“We are also expanding our own software business. We are incredibly proud to be building a world-class IT company in Limerick. 

“The founders of Redfaire, are all from Limerick. When we graduated, we went abroad, now we are able to bring that international experience back to our hometown.”   

Global book summit

Limerick city will host one of the world’s most prestigious book events in the Strand Hotel this week.

Every year, the international Summit of the Book conference is held in a city with a global cultural impact. 

Now it’s Limerick’s turn, thanks to the work done by Limerick Institute of Technology librarians Jerald Cavanagh, Padraig Kirby and Monika Bukowska; Dr Philip Cohen from Dublin Institute of Technology; Helen Fallon, Maynooth University, and Terry O’Brien from Waterford Institute of Technology.

The organising team worked in conjunction with Limerick City and County Council and the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau.