Budget 2018: High hopes for Limerick-Cork motorway plan boost

The long-awaited Limerick to Cork motorway is set for a budget boost this week as Paschal Donohoe prepares his first estimates

The long-awaited Limerick to Cork motorway is set for a budget boost this week as Paschal Donohoe prepares his first estimates

THE long-awaited Limerick to Cork motorway is set for a budget boost next week as Paschal Donohoe prepares his first estimates.

Up to €20m could be included in Budget 2018, which will be announced in Dail Eireann on Tuesday.

This would allow the project to progress further along the planning stage, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – who originally scrapped the scheme in 2011 – now strongly behind the link.

He has said the link could be finished as early as 2022, a year before Ireland potentially hosts the Rugby World Cup.

Meanwhile, Kieran O’Donnell, Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on finance, will be holding talks in the coming days with Arts Minister Heather Humphreys in an effort to see funding to redevelop Limerick’s Georgian quarter – and in particular develop the Living Cities initiative, which provides tax incentives to developers seeking to transform vacant properties.

So far the scheme – announced in 2015 by former Finance Minister Michael Noonan – has not seen a big uptake.

“There have only been eight private rentals in Limerick and one owner-occupied moving in,” Mr O’Donnell said, “We need to see more of an uptake as the footprint of the city is Georgian. The two aspects of this is a ringfence of funding on the heritage grant side, specific to the City initiative for Georgian buildings. The second aspect is current provisions on the tax side of the Georgian quarter. Can we make it more attractive for owner occupiers, investors and private renters to take up more of these buildings?”

Mr O’Donnell anticipates an increase in the old-age pension, plus a widening of the bands in terms of income tax. Tuesday’s budget will be the first not delivered by Mr Noonan since 2010.