Limerick Chamber boss says planning delay on JP McManus-backed rugby museum is 'unacceptable'

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

Limerick Chamber boss says planning delay on JP McManus-backed rugby museum is 'unacceptable'

An impression of the proposed International Rugby Museum

THE latest planning delay to a €10m rugby museum in the city centre is “unacceptable,” the Chamber chief executive has said.

Dee Ry​an, who heads up Limerick’s top representative buisess organisation, has said given the “transformational” impact the JP McManus-backed project could have in the city, it should be prioritised.

“This latest planning delay for the International Rugby Experience is a blow. Limerick city centre has been crying out for a transformational investment like this for decades.  Together with the €9m spending planned by Limerick City and County Council for the revitalisation of O’Connell Street, this world class project will be a game changer in the city centre,” Ms Ryan said.

The reason it is before An Bord Pleanala is due to An Taisce, which believes the development as proposed would undermine the Georgian heritage in the area, which has a legal status needing to be protected.

While highlighting many positive arguments for locating the museum in the city centre, the appeal stated that the buildings chosen for demolition are “key elements in an historic streetscape, the most extensive of its type outside Dublin”.​

It is for this reason that An Bord Pleanala had written to interested parties, saying that it was unable ​to meet its decision deadline of September 11 last.

Ms Ryan ​said: “I accept that the proposed development, which is located opposite the contemporary AIB bank on O’Connell street, is taking place in an area of architectural interest but these are not protected structures,” she said, “A protected structure is a building that a planning authority considers to be of special interest and this building has no such designation.”

“In that context, it is unacceptable that an appeal on these grounds would, summarily, be able to hold up the project, or worse,” she concluded.