Our panel was near unanimous in its view that the Shannon is an underused resource while our people are a source of strength Picture Sean Curtin
WE asked prominent local people four questions about what they thought Limerick had to shout about and what it needed to shout for.
Four questions for Limerick:
What is Limerick’s best asset?
Deputy Maurice Quinlivan, Sinn Fein TD: The sound, decent Limerick people
Dr Vincent Cunnane, president of LIT: As a place, the market on a Saturday and as a people, our learned ability to work together for the benefit of Limerick
Stephen Kinsella, Associate Professor of Economics, UL: The university. The closer the university and the city become, the more both will thrive
Cllr Daniel Butler, FG metropolitan mayor Limerick city: Its people. They are incredibly resilient, hardworking and fun loving. I believe that is what is bringing so many companies here to tap into that resource
Sarah Jane Hennelly, Social Democrat candidate for Limerick city: Where we're placed regionally and our capacity to grow especially when compared to other major Irish cities, we've scope to adapt to whatever changes are coming
Dee Ryan, Limerick Chamber, CEO: Our people and their attitude
Mayor of Limerick city and county Cllr James Collins, FF general election candidate: The people - you can only judge a place by its people, and Limerick people are sound
Donnacha Hurley, general manager Absolute Hotel: As cliched as it sounds it’s the people. All cities have their own distinctive architecture, commerce and attractions/experiences but the true vibe and energy of the city is driven by its people
What is our most underused resource?
Deputy Quinlivan: The River Shannon, we need to radically increase the use of this asset for our citizens and for tourism purposes
Dr Cunnane: It has to be the river, anything on the river is completely under-utilised
Stephen Kinsella: The river. It should be used in lieu of roads and form the backbone of a series of transport links that don’t include a car
Cllr Butler: The river. We have a complex relationship with the river given its tragic connections with suicide but I think its time we claim it back and see it as a life giving resource
Sarah Jane Hennelly: Though many residents are doing great things with the river, it's still easily our most underused resource
Dee Ryan: The airport on our doorstep has the potential to be a game-changer for the Mid-West if it develops new routes for international business connectivity
Mayor Collins: The Docklands. We should be exploiting a river that flows past our 13th Century castle and our city and out into the Shannon Estuary, fuelling Ireland’s second largest port operation
Donnacha Hurley: As a physical resource, the river. Life in cities originally evolved around rivers and now the river needs to become a central part of the vista of Limerick City, helping make it a great place to visit, live and work
What amenity do we most need?
MQ: A convention centre would provide a significant boost to hotels and tourism in general
VC: An upriver marina would be a great addition
SK: More cycle paths and pedestrian areas. A liveable city has to have these elements. It also has to be loveable
DB: A cinema within our city centre would be fantastic to see to allow you dine out and watch a movie and have a few drinks. Our city can't continue to shut down at 6pm
SJH: I think more pedestrianised streets would be great for the city, look at Galway and Patrick Street in Cork. It is the direction to go in for a modern city
DR: A well integrated, public transport network that connects from the airport and train station and serves current and planned, residential and industrial areas
JC: A marina that properly exploits our river, which could transform that whole area from Sarsfield Bridge to The Locke. We need to redraw that riverside area down to City Hall
DH: Physical infrastructure, all around appropriate buildings and public spaces delivering a vibrant compact city centre experience with transport links that work
What is the biggest bar to further progress?
MQ: Simon Coveney as Tánaiste and the subsequent focus on developing Cork as a major city, to the detriment of Limerick
VC: The revitalisation of the city centre is crucial to the advancement of Limerick
SK: The major institutional players are not as joined up as we need to be. When we get our act together institutionally, ideas can flow through those institutions and life will get better
DB: The biggest bar to progress is public transport and growing congestion issues. A light rail service from Raheen to Castletroy would be incredible
SJH: Setting the bar too low for ourselves and lacking in imagination - the success of this city is about more than new jobs or FDI, it's about quality of life
DR: Connectivity, if it’s not easy to get here by air we limit our potential to attract new companies and make it harder for our own businesses to scale up
JC: The lack of a strong voice at Cabinet. Cork is getting more than €100m for a conference centre and a sports stadium. Limerick, meanwhile, had to borrow from the EIB
DH: The continued disproportionate focus on the development of Dublin infrastructure which represents a significant bar to balanced progress for the rest of the country
- This article was included as part of a 36 page supplement called Limerick On The Up, highlighting Limerick’s resurgence. It is available as an e-paper here.