The cost of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road, estimated at more than €150m euro, will be paid for by the Irish taxpayer. If built, this motorway will open up a large area of South East Clare for development. The University of Limerick plans to have more than half of the college and an adjacent technology park located in Clare by 2020. It is obvious why Clare councillors overcame their initial opposition to the motorway after receiving private briefings from council officials. Undoubtedly, the Clare councillors were advised in confidence that this project will provide a potential windfall for Clare at the expense of Limerick.
When this plan becomes a reality, Clare County Council will receive millions of euro extra in rates. Clare will receive this enormous sum without having to provide any expensive services, such as the medical and social services especially housing, that Limerick city has to provide for its citizens. There is absolutely no dividend in this plan for Limerick.
If permission is given for this road to be built, then the Limerick council should immediately apply for the rezoning of the affected area into Limerick city. Whenever planners urbanise any area adjacent to Limerick city, it is imperative that it simultaneously becomes part of the city. Also, the suggestion that UL promised to change the name of the university to include Clare in the title are particularly upsetting [Editor’s note: There has been nothing to substantiate such a suggestion and the idea was dismissed when first raised by Clare councillors several years ago]. It took years of dedicated campaigning to bring a university to Limerick. It is the University of Limerick, and must remain so always.
Let’s hope that if the matter of this road, again comes before the council, its members show continued resolve by voting against this daft proposal, to protect their endangered city, and send the Dublin-based planners back to the drawing board.
riverdale, westbury, limerick city
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