A ROW has broken out between the IDA and one of the biggest rugby clubs in the city.
UL Bohemians Rugby Club have secured funding to build a link road and entrance between their pitch and the neighbouring National Technology Park to alleviate the pressure on its one existing entrance on the Mulcair Road.
They have funds in place.
But despite getting the backing of Vistakon, which will immediately neighbour the link, the IDA - which owns the park - has blocked the proposals.
Now, councillors and club members have called on Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton to use his power to intervene in the row and instruct the IDA to allow the entrance be built.
At present, the rugby club relies on a single narrow road to get into their grounds.
And club representatives say this presents a problem to hundreds of people who come to games and training as well as local residents in Annacotty.
Ken Rennison, the club’s senior vice-president said: “What it would do is relieve all the pressure on Mulcair Drive. The residents would be free of cars on a Sunday, and other mornings. We could then use this entrance as emergency access only.”
He said he does not know why the IDA is not allowing the club to build the entrance, saying: “It is very frustrating. We are very mindful of the residents in Mulcair Drive, who have been very tolerant so far. We are trying to do the best for everyone: the best for ourselves, and the residents, and we are getting a blank flat no.”
Vice-president of UL Bohs Tony Quilty said: “The IDA’s initial response is that it is contrary to policy to dispose of any assets. We are not looking for this to happen. All we are looking for is a licence to go through”.
He said the “short route” would suit everyone, particularly from the point of view of cost and security.
“On a Saturday, we could have a home match, and a couple of hundred people would come. On Sunday, we could have more than 500 people here when we hold training blitzes. There is something happening here all the time. We have tried to manage it as best we can in terms of traffic flow, and volunteers being here.”
The club has been backed by a number of councillors in City East, and the matter was raised at the City and County Council meeting.
Newly elected Fianna Fail councillor Jerry O’Dea led calls on Mr Bruton to intervene. He said Finance Minister Michael Noonan should put pressure on his Cabinet colleague.
“This is one of the things that kept coming up [on the canvass]. Getting in and out of the ground is hard. This seems like a very logical solution to the problem they have. I cannot understand why the IDA won’t facilitate them,” he said, “It is not a lot of space: it is the width of the road, but it would mean an awful lot to the quality of life of these people.”
Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, Fianna Fail - who held talks with the IDA - said he believes they are missing the point somewhat.
“They made it clear that their remit was to bring in foreign direct investment, and not to facilitate any community or sporting organisation. They were very blunt in their answer to us. There is no point in having office blocks, if we have to build homes, then do not have leisure facilities in them. The club is not looking for the sun, moon and the stars: they are looking for a small road.”
Cllr Shane Clifford feels if the problem is not resolved, it could lead to serious injury.
This is because an ambulance might struggle to get down Mulcair Drive due to the number of cars.
“Every Sunday morning, you have cars coming both ways down Mulcair Drive. Cars have to pull in, and it is quite difficult to drive both ways. Residents are effectively blocked into their houses, and can’t get out onto the roads,” he said.
Conor Agnew, the regional director with the IDA, confirmed meetings have taken place.
“I know there were discussions with our property people to see if there were discussions which would have facilitated the rugby club, but not compromise the future development of the National Technology Park. After all, it is a very very busy business park with thousands and thousands of jobs there,” Mr Agnew told the Limerick Leader this week.