Niall O'Callaghan: Most international cities have some form of underground, tram or light rail network
THE Mid-West manager of IDA Ireland Niall O’Callaghan wants to see a Luas-style transport network connecting Limerick city.
Mr O’Callaghan wants to see a comprehensive network stretching from Raheen to Corbally, and the northside to the southside and out to Castletroy, to link up with the University of Limerick and the Plassey technology park.
All lines would cross through the city centre.
He believes the time to act is now, to avoid Ireland’s other major cities beating Limerick it to the punch.
“If we are thinking about what Limerick would look like in ten to 20 years time, is it not something we should look at now in the context of having it in 20 years time,” Mr O’Callaghan asked.
“Look at where the world is going, look at what is happening in Dublin in relation to the congestion due to a lack of future planning. If Limerick is to be as successful as we want it to be, should we be preparing in advance for infrastructure to support it.”
Mr O’Callaghan pointed out that most international cities have some form of underground, tram or light rail network.
Despite this, the only city to possess this in Ireland is Dublin, which has a rapid area network and the Luas tram.
“If Dublin has successfully implemented Luas, should Limerick – before Galway, Cork or Waterford start talking about it – begin that process of starting the conversation about it? If it takes 10 to 20 years to become a reality, at least we can start it now,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
Much has been made of the small number of parking spaces linked to the new Opera Centre development, which was submitted to the council earlier this month.
David Conway, the chief executive of Limerick Twenty Thirty, the special purpose vehicle charged with developing this project – which could bring 3,000 jobs – has indicated public transport solutions will be looked at to help this situation.
Mr O’Callaghan said his thinking ties into this situation.