LIMERICK TD Kieran O’Donnell has confirmed that the Limerick Local Authorities and the Shannon Airport Authority have come together to launch a joint bid to secure the National Diaspora Centre for Limerick, to be adjudicated on by the government during Limerick’s tenure as National City of Culture.
The Fine Gael TD said: “I can confirm that Limerick’s bid will be a joint one by the Limerick Local Authorities and the Shannon Airport Authority. Consultants are currently being engaged to prepare the Limerick proposal.
“Furthermore, the government is starting a process to adjudicate on Limerick’s and other proposals by the end of the year, with a view to having a decision by the middle of next year.
“Limerick City’s bid is being coordinated by the Limerick Diaspora Steering Group, of which I am a founding member. The Steering Group has done a huge amount of work on Limerick’s bid, and we have already met with Minister Varadkar and presented proposals to him as part of his scoping study.
“A major joint bid like this shows the intent to make this a major international attraction into Ireland. I believe it is very significant that Limerick, as a major city, and Shannon, a major international airport, have formally joined forces on this.
“It would be hugely significant for Limerick if the government were to approve this bid during Limerick’s tenure as National City of Culture. I believe this would provide the ideal legacy for Ireland’s first City of Culture, bringing with it long-term economic benefits for Limerick.
“The Limerick bid builds on the Limerick 2030 Economic Plan, which incorporates the building of an iconic cultural & civic landmark in the City Centre.
“I am raising this issue in the Dail with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar tomorrow, but I can confirm that the government intends to open the process to decide on the home of the National Diaspora Centre before the end of the year. The intention is to have a decision by the middle of next year – during Limerick’s tenure as National City of Culture.
“The Government committed in the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework 2012-2016, published in November 2011, to support a Diaspora Centre should a suitable project and partner be available.
“Should the National Diaspora Centre be located in Limerick, it would provide a major boost to the city and would allow Limerick to provide an iconic tourist attraction that would bring thousands of visitors to the city annually.
“I welcome the fact that the government is now opening up the final part of the process to decide on the location of the National Diaspora Centre, and I am hopeful that the bid to bring the centre to Limerick can be successful.
“We will continue to work on this, and I will be impressing on Minister Varadkar the merits of Limerick’s case.