THE PRESIDENT of the University of Limerick has been in discussions with key leaders in the Mid-West about how UL can develop “a world-class higher education facility in the city.”
But he was warned that while they are anxious to play a part in creating a ‘new Limerick’, there are “very significant financial hurdles to be overcome.”
Professor Don Barry, writing in the Limerick Leader this week, believes that the potential of the Opera Centre site represents a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-invent our wonderful city”.
It is also “an opportunity not to be missed in terms of intensifying the involvement of UL in the life of Limerick city”, he writes. “However, it is essential that it must be a real, substantive engagement and it must be sustainable over time,” he cautioned.
With the acquisition of this 3.2 acre property he says “Limerick city is about to undergo a radical transformation and the University of Limerick wants to play a key role in building a ‘new Limerick’.”
He said an enhanced UL presence in the city will have to involve a core activity of the university, involving a large body of students and staff who will study, research and teach right in the heart of Limerick city. “The support of staff and students for such a proposal will be essential,” he said.
UL would also have to establish stronger transport links between the campus and the city centre to make sure the “flow of people and ideas between the UL campus and whatever emerges can be maintained”.
“Without question there are very significant financial hurdles to be overcome if this is to become a reality – and we could hardly be in a more challenging environment in terms of financing such a project.
He said they will be actively participating in the consultation process for the site over the coming months.