A LABOUR Party local election candidate is advocating for the former Cleeves toffee factory site to be used for social, civic and community purposes that all residents of the area can enjoy.
Anne Cronin, who Head of Homeless Services with Novas, says there is much discussion around the ten-acre site on the northern bank of the River Shannon, which is now owned by Limerick City and County Council.
The Limerick City North candidate believes that it must be developed into a venue and environment that all city dwellers can benefit from.
“This historic and heritage site dating back to the mid-nineteenth century cannot be sold to the highest bidder for yet another city centre hotel or commercial development that only those from a certain demographic see a benefit from – including it being used for UL’s expansion – a move that would again only benefit some,” she told the Limerick Post.
The site adjoins the former Salesian Secondary School, where the city’s first Educate Together Secondary School is located.
Ms Cronin was chair of the campaign group that campaigned for an Educate Together Secondary School in Limerick and chaired the first Board of Management of the school up to it opening its doors in September 2018.
She now wants the Council to recognise what a great first step it is to have a school as the lynchpin of the development of the overall site.
“Cities aren’t permanent and much of old Limerick has been demolished to make way for the new buildings we see today. Sometimes this has worked, other times it has not. Many lament the knocking of Cruises Hotel to make way for what is now Cruises Street which is now home to fewer and fewer commercial entities,” she said.
She also thinks the Council should consider future generations and what kind of city we pass on to them.
“My ambition is that the site at Cleeves becomes an adaptable space for civic life, a public and open space that allows for maximum engagement for young people, older people, children and all current and future citizens of this city.
“We need to engage the creative economy so that the space can be used and designed by artists instead of the planning authorities, who bring a very different agenda in some instances,” she concluded.