Dan Sullivan wrote:I got that impression too, fact is that a lot of the language in the reports mirrors what we were trying to drive at in our submission.
Protest over Limerick border extension plan (RTE)
Up to 1,000 people took part in a march in Co Clare this evening in a protest against a proposed boundary extension of Limerick City into Clare.
A Government appointed Limerick Local Government Committee Report has recommended that parts of south east Clare with a population of three thousand people would be incorporated into a newly expanded Limerick City.
But those taking part in today's protest said that if the proposal to extend the boundary is implemented it would have a negative impact on their culture and other aspects of their identity.
Organiser of the protest Jim Gully said that while locals would accept a single authority to govern the region they would not accept a boundary extension.
justnotbothered wrote:very true but it's more important we don't allow the Clare thing become the main story, it's a small part of the bigger picture.
Clare Has Highest Excess Of Residential Land (Clare FM)
It's claimed that Clare has a greater excess of residential land than any other county in Ireland.
A report in today's Irish Independent says Clare County Council has zoned 4,317 hectares of land for residential development, 717% of the amount required to meet demand up until 2016.
In percentage terms, only four local authorities have a greater excess of land zoned for residential land than Clare County Council
The worst offending county is Roscommon, where nearly 1,200% of the required land is zoned as residential while, by contrast, Limerick City Council has only earmarked half the land it requires for development going forward
Clare Community Group Marches Against Boundary Change (Clare Herald)
Up to 1,000 members of a newly established group took part in a public rally last evening over the proposed extension of the Limerick boundary into parts of South East Clare.
Clare Against Boundary Extension (C.A.B.E) has been set up by members of the local community to reject the most controversial of the recommendations outlined in the Limerick Local Government Committee report, â€œRenewing Local Government in Limerick.â€
The report recommends that parts of East Clare, including the Westbury, Carraigmidhe and Shannon Banks developments as well as parts of Clonlara parish, be included in parts of an extended Limerick local government jurisdiction.
Business groups, including Shannon Development and Limerick Chamber of Commerce, have already supported the recommendations claiming that the Limerick City boundary needs to be extended to ensure a larger and stronger Limerick City with the necessary scale and resource base to drive the economic development of the Limerick / Shannon Gateway.
C.A.P.E held a public demonstration against the proposed change yesterday evening. Participants met at Westbury Church before proceeding on a protest march to Athlunkard Bridge.
A spokesperson told The Clare Herald: â€œThe Committee was specifically asked to pay regard to existing county boundaries, and acknowledged that the basis for inter-county governance already exists. Our opposition already has cross-party support from Clare TDs.; there is no objective need for this proposal to proceed. We are therefore entitled to ask what is the real agenda?â€
The spokesperson continued: â€œWe believe that any extension of the boundary into Clare will have negative consequences for people in the affected areas. The move will mean higher house insurance, higher car insurance and the division of sporting and other associations. Development also will be determined by Limerick City needs, not by Clare County. We would urge members of the community to make their feelings known urgently to their local councillors and TDs.â€
. . . . .there is no objective need for this proposal to proceed. We are therefore entitled to ask what is the real agenda?â€
The spokesperson continued: â€œWe believe that any extension of the boundary into Clare will have negative consequences for people in the affected areas. The move will mean higher house insurance, higher car insurance and the division of sporting and other associations. . . . . .
The Vision of a Revitalised Limerick ~ The Fundamental Vision
Arising from the 20 interviews with a selection of leading figures in the wider city area, a uniformity of expression was evident concerning the present state of the city and the fundamental or intuitive vision of its future:
What Urban Limerick Looks Like
â€¢ Retail moving out to suburbs â€“ retail values falling;
â€¢ Nobody manages the entirety of the city: itâ€™s divided up between 3 competing local authorities;
â€¢ Depopulating and looking a bit derelict;
â€¢ Itâ€™s going nowhere â€“ even though it could be great;
â€¢ Little development compared to other cities;
â€¢ No joined up thinking â€“ or doing;
â€¢ Economy hanging on a shrinking base;
â€¢ Three huge concentrations of inner city deprivation;
â€¢ City centre dragged down by social and economic imbalance;
â€¢ No heart to the city;
â€¢ Absence of vibrancy and culture;
â€¢ The river could be so much more;
â€¢ Hardly any tourism â€“ very little to attract them;
â€¢ Business areas abandoned after work;
â€¢ The bigger city has no leadership;
â€¢ The city is not embraced by the people â€“ they donâ€™t own it;
â€¢ Not even a cinema;
â€¢ Terrible reputation for crime thatâ€™s probably undeserved but these things are self-fulfilling;
â€¢ There is no vision
How Urban Limerick Should Look
â€¢ A growing city for the region - could be a 250,000 metropolitan population;
â€¢ A proper city with ambitious and accountable government with a can-do attitude;
â€¢ A honeypot for inward investment â€“ a counterbalance to the overheated east;
â€¢ A bustling and exciting waterfront â€“ an iconic heart to the city;
â€¢ Vibrancy in the city centre â€“ 18-24 hour city;
â€¢ A critical mass of tourist attractions;
â€¢ Family-friendly city with the homes and amenities that encourage people with economic choice to live in the city;
â€¢ The retail centre for the region;
â€¢ The university an inextricable element of the city brand - connecting socially and culturally with the city as well as economically,
â€¢ New economic activities â€“ a knowledge industry growth centre â€“ renewed synergies with a growing 3rd and 4th level;
â€¢ Excellent transportation infrastructure and interconnectivity with other Atlantic cities â€“ people able to commute between them;
â€¢ Docklands and Kingâ€™s Island new and wonderful mixed use extensions to the city centre;
â€¢ Several big civic pride icons â€“ buildings and places to put us on the world stage;
â€¢ Citizens taking pride and caring for their city;
â€¢ A city known for arts and culture;
â€¢ A city with a vision
Clare County Development Plan 2005 – 2011
- Meelick Strategic Development Area
- University Strategic Development Area
3.13 The Planning, Land Use and Transportation Strategy identifies strategic issues that need to be considered in the future planning of the region. . . . . .The provision of a northern distributor road around Limerick and a new bridge crossing over the Shannon to the north of Limerick City.
4.1 The South Clare Economic Corridor Local Area Plan has identified three areas for the focus of economic growth within the Limerick/Ennis/Shannon Corridor.
4.3 The (Gillogue) expansion of the campus at the university of Limerick provides an opportunity for the growth of a research and development industry based upon a close relationship with the university. The area is currently poorly connected to the road network but the development of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road and other transport opportunities owing to the proximity to the Ennis-Limerick rail network make the area attractive in the longer term.
4.4 The South Clare Economic Corridor Local Area Plan recognised the potential of 100 acres of land available for industrial development to the west of Limerick. The junction of the existing N18 with the Limerick Southern Ring Road via a tunnel under the Shannon makes the area around Meelick particularly attractive in terms of connections to Limerick City and Shannon and to towns of Sixmilebridge, Newmarket-on-Fergus and Killaloe.
4.5 The strategy of suburban growth applies to villages and significant areas of housing which will be developed with an acknowledgement of their physical and functional relationship to the urban core of Limerick but subject to the limitations of the road network.
SS5: The settlement strategy is to recognise the future role of the settlements close to Limerick in the growth of the Region and to identify the appropriate urban form and progression of development that will give them a distinctive character.
Policy RS6: Neighbourhood Centres within Limerick Metropolitian Area: Tier 2 Level 4 - Ardnacrusha, Ballycannan, Parteen
It is the policy of the Council to enhance local provision of shops and services to meet the needs of the existing and new communities in the parts of the County within the Limerick Environs and to work in conjunction with Limerick City and County Councils to ensure that these needs are met in an efficient, equitable and sustainable way.
5.6 The county contains part of the Limerick Metropolitan Area and adopts the metropolitan area policies as set out in the retail strategy as a means of supporting the growth of the Mid-West region.
Significant Retail Development
The Retail Strategy for County Clare 2003-2011 is the baseline for all applications of significant retail development. What is significant will vary around the Region.
Within the Limerick Metropolitan Area which comprises part of the County's area, it is recommended to be 1,000sq.m. (gross)for convenience and 2,000sq.m. (gross) for comparison floor space.
zulutango wrote:does it really matter what the weighting of councillors is? At the end of the day, it's the officials that drive a local authority forward for the most part. If you look at Castletroy or Raheen, for example, they have not done too badly with such low representation.
Personally, I'm not concerned about the low representation. The remit of the amalgamated council will be to drive the city and county forward, and the fact that there is a defined urban and rural area will mean that you won't (or at least shouldn't) get the urban sprawl that arises from having two local authorities in a single urban area.
(Limerick Leader) Cllr Mary Jackman asked why was the city extending outwards?
"We should be looking in and taking over. In comparison to other Munster counties, Limerick's towns are much smaller. The environs help enormously to keep the county going.
We have a better record in running our business,â€ said Cllr Jackman.
Report of the Limerick Local Government Committee
3. Elected Membership
The membership of the new Limerick authority should be appropriately sized, in line with the membership of similarly populated counties, effective from the 2014 local elections. xxxvi
. . . . . . . .
xxxvi The new Limerick authority will have a population of approximately 187,000. Kildare County Council has 25 members, representing a population of 186,335 (as of 2006).
Minister quiet on plan to abolish city council (Irish Independent)
By Barry Duggan
THE Environment Minister has refused to say whether he will accept a proposal to abolish Limerick City Council in favour of a new super local authority.
Speaking at the opening of the city's new Milk Market yesterday, Mr Gormley said he could not commit to a deadline for a decision after the controversial idea was put forward by the Limerick Local Government Committee.
The new authority, which would incorporate parts of south-east Clare, would be known as 'Limerick City and County Council' and would service a population of 187,000.
It would also make Limerick the country's third largest city.
The proposal has been met by fierce opposition from Limerick City Council and Clare County Council.
Mr Gormley, who lived in Corbally during his childhood, said his only aim was to enhance Limerick city, but refused to say whether he would accept the proposal.
Mr Gormley said he could not commit to a deadline for a decision . . . .
.Brosnan Report: Fact versus Fiction! (Limerick Chamber President)
Posted on October 26, 2010 by limerickchamberpresident
For the Mid-West to function properly and achieve its largely unfulfilled economic potential, having a strong and thriving City at its core is an absolute imperative. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons set out in Denis Brosnan’s ‘Renewing Local Government in Limerick’ report, Limerick City does not fulfil that role today and, critically, at a time of such need in terms of our economy.
The recommendations of the Limerick Local Government committee (LGC), chaired by Denis Brosnan, aim at securing a brighter and better future for the entire Mid-West Region but only on the basis that it has a dynamic city as its engine room. As the capital of the Mid-West region, Limerick’s performance impacts on us all, whether you live in the County of Limerick, Clare, Tipperary or, indeed, Limerick City itself.
Implementing the well grounded recommendations of Denis Brosnan’s report is our only chance to start addressing the current shortfalls in the city and region. They give our region, and Limerick City, the best hope to fully realise our so far considerable but sadly unfulfilled potential. Implementation of them is, undoubtedly, the keystone to creating a more successful and sustainable future for all of us and generations to come.
Critically, our understanding at the moment is that the Government is only considering two options
1) Implementing in full the recommendations of the Local Government Committee
2) Keeping the status quo
Government focus at present is on reducing the number of local authorities and achieving efficiencies. Simply changing the size of local authorities without reducing the numbers of local authorities is not on the government agenda. It is vital, therefore, that we all understand that the option of just extending the city boundary and maintaining Limerick City and County as two separate local authorities is not an option being considered by Government. This would mean Limerick County would have an approximate population of only 80,000, way too small to justify a separate local authority, not least due to all the expensive duplication of functions and services involved estimated by the Denis Brosnan Committee to be Euro 20M per annum.
Therefore, with no ‘half-way’ house as an option, we revert to the two alternatives outlined above. The latter (keeping the status quo) simply is not an option! And that’s why we are asking you to, firstly, consider exactly why it is essential that we adopt the report (we will help you below with some of the reasons why there is no real alternative). Beyond that – and in confidence your good judgement will, like ours, be that implementing the Brosnan Report is an imperative for this city and region – we would ask that you add your voice to our “Strong City and Region” campaign and sign our petition, which we will present to Government in a few weeks time, ahead of their decision on this critical issue.
There is considerable divided opinion in relation to the recommendations set out by Denis Brosnan. We accept there are deep sensitivities and loyalties involved but we emphasise that this is not about taking from Clare so that Limerick can be better. This is not about Limerick staking claim to another county’s domain. It is about bringing us closer together, for all our good. It is the only way that the entire Mid-West and Limerick city can prosper as without this, we will continue to fail.
We believe this report delivers what is best for the Region and Limerick. It also acknowledges the cost savings that are required but ones that can be made without any diminution of service. Ultimately, the implementation of this report will re-establish Limerick City as the 3rd largest city in the country and transform it into a vibrant dynamo for the entire region.
If you don’t take my word for the necessity for collective strength, look no further than US President Barack Obama. In June 2008, at a speech before a US conference of Mayors, the then President elect Obama said:
“We need to stop seeing our cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution. Because strong cities are the building blocks of strong regions, and strong regions are essential for a strong America.”
Below I will outline exactly why this is not just a case of one city’s battle to do better for itself but to do better for the region. I have stuck to the facts. I look forward to your comments and an open and honest debate about the issues.
1) An expanded Limerick City Area
What this will result in
• A population which reflects the true metropolitan/urban area of Limerick city. This will be of benefit to all of Limerick and the greater mid-West Region. Strong cities make strong regions!
• Reinstate our position as Ireland’s third city
• Reinforce our position as a national gateway
• Improve our attractiveness for investment and jobs because:
o It will improve our competitiveness from a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) perspective. One of the key research points for any multi-national looking at locating operations in Ireland, or elsewhere, is the population base/availability of workforce (graduate and otherwise). Typically, multi-nationals look to the largest cities and towns in a region. At present, Limerick only shows 59,000 population but with the realignment, it will show 100,000. This will significantly enhance our FDI potential
o Currently Eurostat figures show Limerick as having the lowest Employment/Population (of working age) Ratio of any Irish City (Galway, Cork, Waterford and Dublin) and our proportion of population educated to tertiary level is below the national average.
o We will have a larger urban population and therefore labour force
o We will have a larger, better functioning urban core
o It will allow a vision & master plan for the entire area of Limerick to be developed
o Limerick, as the Mid-West’s capital, will no longer have the highest unemployment rate, lowest labour force participation rate or highest social housing ratio in Ireland
What this will not result in
• This will not result in split focus between Limerick City and Limerick County to the detriment of one. The development and economic growth, as well as the provision of local government services to the entire Limerick area, both urban and rural, will remain the sole focus of the new authority
• This is not about land grabbing by Limerick into Clare:
o The areas in Co. Clare that are to be included in Limerick city are included only because they are part of the urban spread of Limerick city
o Limerick city already provides local government services to these areas (eg. water & sewage)
o Residents in these areas in Co. Clare already vote in the Limerick East DÃ¡il electoral constituency
o They also already vote in the South Constituency for MEP elections.
o It will in no way infringe on their county allegiance or affiliation – e.g. they will play for Clare in the GAA parish system or for their county should they be selected
o Residents in these areas are affected and impacted by decisions made by Limerick’s local governance. The realigning of the boundary will ensure that these people are given a representative voice on Limerick local issues
o The recommendations are about creating a stronger Limerick city which will be to the benefit of the entire region
2) A New Limerick Authority
What this will result in
• The abolition of the current complex governance system that exists in Limerick with three local authorities plus the regeneration agency all operating within a small geographic area
• The report says that it is “extremely important to recognise an enlarged distinct city within the new Limerick authority” … as well as recognising “the importance of the historical aspects of civic life and preserve those elements of the heritage and traditions of the City”. The Chamber fully endorses these recommendations.
• Cost savings
o For example streamlining of management structure, resulting in one Limerick City & County manager, not one for the county and one for the city.
o Eventual savings estimated at €20 million per annum
• Harmonisation of commercial rates between Limerick city and county & ultimately a reduction in commercial rates
• An overall vision, strategy & master plan for Limerick
• Cooperation & coordination in planning
• Will eradicate duplication of services & associated costs.
• Will allow economies of scale.
• Will improve accountability of elected representatives & council management.
• Will cease competition between Limerick City Council & Limerick County Council.
• It will stop disjointed planning and policies between city & county.
What this will not result in
• It will not increase commercial rates for businesses currently located in County Limerick or Clare.
• It will not reduce the quantity or quality of front line services to the community and people of Limerick
• It will not eradicate our city or its charter. There is no mention of this in any part of the recommendations. In fact the report aims at strengthening, not weakening, the city
• It will not reduce the focus on city centre regeneration in any way. In contrast, with greater cooperation & coordination a greater focus can be placed on city which will be to the benefit of all Limerick people. There will also be an increase in resources available to focus on city centre regeneration
3) Elected Membership
What this will result in
• A reduction in the number of elected representatives
o Unlike TD’s there is no nationally defined ratio of population to elected local councillors.
o We currently have 17 councillors in Limerick City for a population of 59,770 (ratio of 1:3,516)
o Nationally county/city councillor representation ratio’s range from 1:1,318 in Leitrim to 1 councillor per 10,000 people in Fingal. Kildare county council administers an area of 187,000 people and has 25 elected representatives.
o The new Limerick authority will administer an area with a combined population of 185,000
o We currently have 28 councillors in County Limerick for a population of 124,265 (ratio of 1:4,438)
• The number of councillors per local authority is set out in the Local Government Act 2001. New legislation will need to be enacted to change the current structures of Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council and introduce a new ratio of councillors per person in the area for the new Limerick City and County authority
• Improved representation. Currently those living in the suburbs of the city have no representative voice on city council. This will no longer be the case.
• Reduced costs for tax payers and commercial rate payers who ultimately pay the wages of councillors.
What this will not result in
• It will not reduce people’s public representation. The number of new elected representatives will be in accordance with the population of the new Limerick City & County authority. The number of publicly elected officials will be reduced. However every resident of Limerick will still have an elected representative for their electoral division which will be more reflective of the urban/ rural divide.
What this will result in
• The Regeneration Agencies will ultimately operate under the auspices of the new Limerick City & County Authority
o The Regeneration Agencies have been established as independent entities to address problems of social exclusion & improving the quality of life in priority areas in Limerick city. Their mandate to eliminate social exclusion can only be enhanced by being part of a Greater Limerick master plan under one authority, all working to the same end result – a vibrant inclusive and dynamic city and region. The report suggests that this be incorporated into the new Limerick City & County Authority. The blueprint for this is already established in the Ballymun Regeneration Agencies.
What this will not result in
• It will not reduce the focus or expertise on regeneration. Regeneration will remain a priority.
What this will result in
• One newly appointed Mayor for Limerick City and Country appointed for a 5 year term (resulting in the current posts of the Mayor for Limerick City and the Cathaoirleach for Limerick County being removed)
o This mayor will be a figurehead/ leader to champion and represent Limerick and the greater Mid-West region with commercial & development organisations nationally & internationally but with a mandate to ensure continuity of implementing policies over the full 5 year term.
• Greater continuity in policies and role of Mayor.
o The template for this in Ireland is about to be introduced in the Greater Dublin Metropolitan Area & such a system effectively operates across the globe – Johnson in London, Bloomberg in New York, Schwarzenegger for California.
What this will not result in
• Although there will no longer be two council officials elected into the separate roles of Mayor for the city and Cathaoirleach for the county, the newly appointed Mayor for Limerick will have far greater responsibility to be a figurehead and public representative for the people of Limerick as the current holders of the two positions. Indeed, if anything the increased term of office will ensure that the Mayor can collectively market the region better and raise the bar, therefore, for more ambitious targets for Limerick during the term of office than under the current system
In summary, we believe that the government is only considering two options, i.e. to either (a) maintain the status quo involving no change in the size or responsibility of either local authority or (b) to adopt the recommendations of Local Government Committee under Denis Brosnan. Maintaining the status quo is not a realistic option for our city and region. Everyone I have asked agrees wholeheartedly on this. And yes, the timing of implementing a decision is also vital. It needs to be implemented immediately and not to be tied up with bureaucratic delays. Whereas implementing the recommendations of the Local Government Committee under Denis Brosnan may only give everyone 90% of what they would like to see, it will be such a dramatic improvement on the status quo, that we owe it to our future generations to accept the leadership being offered to us and to embrace it collectively for the best interests of our region and our city. Let the debate commence….. http://www.limerickchamber.ie/
Limerick's economy may suffer 'for decades'
LIMERICK CITY will suffer economic stagnation for decades unless a controversial report proposing radical changes to local governance is adopted, Limerick Chamber of Commerce has claimed.
Announcing a campaign on the issue yesterday, the chamber’s president Kieran MacSweeney described the report by the Limerick Local Government Committee as a “unique opportunity” for Limerick and the midwest.
The committee, chaired by former Kerry Group head Denis Brosnan, was established in February to advise the Government on the most appropriate local government arrangements for Limerick.
Its report, which has met opposition from a number of quarters, recommends the establishment of a unified Limerick local authority servicing a population of 187,000.
At present two local authorities govern Limerick city and county, while Clare County Council governs areas on the north of the Shannon on the outskirts of the city. A joint authority is the preferred option of Limerick County Council. Limerick City Council has rejected this idea and favours an extension to the city boundary, which would include parts of Co Limerick and large suburbs in Clare.
Clare County Council is reluctant to allow Limerick govern any part of southeast Clare. Announcing details of Limerick Chamber’s campaign yesterday, Mr MacSweeney said if stakeholders put the best interests of the city and region before their own personal and political preferences, consensus would be achieved for the greater good of Limerick city and the midwest.
He said the argument for Mr Brosnan’s report was “irrefutable” considering recent indications from the Government that the report would be adopted entirely or the status quo would remain.
Limerick Chamber is seeking the support of the local business community for its campaign through a petition on its website, limerickchamber.ie.
“The strong view of business across Limerick, and one that is very much being volunteered through our online petition just launched last week, is that not alone should the recommendations of the Brosnan report be implemented for the greater good of the city but for the entire region.
“These recommendations will deliver a city of scale of 100,000 population and multimillion euro savings to be reinvested back in the region,” Mr MacSweeney said.
The chamber did not see the Brosnan report “as the panacea to all the city’s economic ills” but its implementation was an absolute imperative for the city and region.
Limerick Chamber chief executive Maria Kelly said political self-preservation could not get in the way of the greater good.