THE president of the University of Limerick says the future development of the Opera Centre site presents an opportunity to intensify the involvement of UL in the city.
Prof Don Barry made his comments last night at the ninth annual President’s Gala Dinner, which was held in the Strand Hotel.
Organised by the University of Limerick Foundation, the theme of the event this year was a celebration of UL’s close ties to the city of Limerick and funds raised will go towards expansion of the President’s Volunteer Award programme which is run by the University.
Over 250 guests were treated to the first ever Riverdance performance in Limerick City.
Guest of honour at the dinner was renowned composer, producer and Freeman of Limerick, Dr Bill Whelan, who composed the music for the Riverdance show.
Speaking at the event, Prof Barry said: “At UL we have been building our engagement with the City very considerably in recent years through active participation in Regeneration initiatives, our Downtown Centre and a wide range of collaborative projects. We take seriously our responsibility to promote economic, educational, social and cultural development in Limerick. And we recognise the mutual benefit that flows from engagement between Limerick City and the University. We believe that Limerick is our city and we are Limerick’s university. We see ourselves as being in the city and of the city. So I am happy to say to you tonight that UL most definitely will play a key role in building the ‘New Limerick’.
He added that the development of the Opera Centre site which was bought by Limerick City Council last year, will present UL with a unique opportunity to enhance its links with the city.
“I recognise that the Opera Centre site presents an opportunity to enhance the involvement of UL in the City. There are formidable financial challenges facing us at this time and securing the considerable funding that will be required to allow UL provide a world-class educational experience in the heart of Limerick City is quite a daunting prospect. However, the history of this institution is steeped in overcoming obstacles. Despite the austerity measures thrust upon us over the last number of years the University of Limerick is still punching above its weight, still making ground breaking discoveries, still accomplishing what many consider to be impossible,” he said.