Council fails to acquire ownership of site after 20 years

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Cllr Joe Leddin

LABOUR Party councillor Joe Leddin has called on Limerick City and Council Council chief executive Conn Murray to prepare a detailed report on lands located at Ballykeefe that were originally intended for development as a neighbourhood park.

He believes an internal investigation is needed after it was confirmed that the 17-acre Ballykeefe site off the Fr Russell Road in Dooradoyle, has been sold and is no longer available to the local authority.

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“This saga stretches back almost 20 years when the lands formed part of an agreement with Seamus Braddish, a local developer who subsequently received planning permission for several housing developments in the area including the Inis Mor and Inis Lua estates,” Cllr Leddin explained.

“The 17-acre site was identified by the council as a potential neighbourhood park as no community facilities had been provided by the council for the growing population in the Dooradoyle/Raheen area.

“Promises that the site would be developed came and went – along with misleading and contradictory replies from council officials to questions I submitted over the previous four years,” he added.

He said he wanted to know how these lands have been sold despite repeated written assurances that discussions were ongoing and nearing conclusion.

In reply to a question he submitted at last month’s Metropolitan District meeting, Cllr Leddin was informed that “Discussions are continuing to advance with regard to these lands at Ballykeefe owned by Braddish and Co. The Council is taking a proactive position in relation to securing the optimum outcome for the local authority. It is intended to bring the engagements to a conclusion during the coming months.”

At this Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting, he was told that the Council had been advised by legal representatives acting for the owner that the site was sold and was no longer available to the local authority.

“The zoning of the land is Open Space and Recreation,” Head of Property Services, Jayne Leahy said.

Describing the situation as a “fiasco”, Cllr Leddin said that a site that was to benefit the wider Raheen, Dooradoyle and Mungret community would now form part of the future plans of private developers.

A council spokesman explained to the Limerick Post this Wednesday that the site had initially been earmarked as a potential location for a local park.

“These plans were superseded by the purchase of the Mungret College site. The council has since opened an award-winning playground and neighbourhood park and has carried out a significant amount of work to improve public access.

“The Council is aware that lands in Ballykeefe remain in private ownership and it is important to note that the site is zoned for open space and recreation. The council will continue to ensure that these lands currently zoned open space are developed as an amenity for the local community,” he concluded.

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