Urban regeneration: Limerick council waits on green light for €20m city transformation

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

The Inernational Rugby Experience is looking for €5,217,000 as part of the urban regeneration fund in 2019

The Inernational Rugby Experience is looking for €5,217,000 as part of the urban regeneration fund in 2019

LIMERICK City and County Council is seeking more than €20m in Government funding in order to regenerate the heart of the city centre for 2019. 

Members of the economic special policy committee convened a meeting at City Hall to discuss the council’s pitch for the annual Urban Regeneration Development Fund, which is granted by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The Government will approve €100m for projects nationally for 2019, and €500m in total by 2022.

The council has submitted 12 applications worth a total of €20,124,706, while two of the applications are non-council projects—the Limerick Docklands project on behalf of the Shannon Foynes Port Company, and the International Rugby Experience on O’Connell Street.

The council is seeking €1.8m for the Opera Project; €904,688 for the O’Connell Street revitalisation project; €187,500 for the development of O’Connell Street, Henry Street and Catherine Street; €1,201,402 for rejuvenating the Georgian Quarter; €350,000 for a “world class waterfront”; €2,271,780 for 834 houses in Mungret; €120,000 for a link road in Castletroy; €1m for a virtual reality centre; €6,423,571 for the Docklands project; and €5,217,000 for the rugby museum.

Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr James Collins asked the council if one project secured funding for 2019, would funding be ringfenced for the following three years.

“The answer was ‘no’. Even if you get phase one of the money, you have to reapply every year, so it’s very hard to project manage a big project like that, if you’re only committed money in year one. So what’s actually needed there is multi-annual budget,” said Mayor Collins.

He added: “If you’re looking at all of those projects that are going in, realistically, we will probably get one or two funded. So what happens all the other ones? Do they wait until next year? It’s a very difficult system to run, just on a year-by-year basis.”

If the application is successful, the council has to provide 10% of allocated funding.