New plan will see Limerick play second fiddle to Cork

Mayor James Collins, Fianna Fáil. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

A NEW regional development plan will severely limit Limerick’s ambition over the next 12 years and downgrade the city’s position at a national level.

That’s according to Mayor James Collins who believes the draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region is adding insult to the injury already inflicted by the Project Ireland 2040 National Development Plan.

Speaking following a presentation at City Hall on Monday, Mayor Collins described the document as “insipid and devoid of any innovative thinking”.

The City West representative also takes the view it would only serve to accelerate the migration from this region to not alone Dublin but Cork.

“It is proof of how devoid this region is of strong representation at national level and how the power-base under this government is undeniably in the country’s two largest cities,” the Fianna Fáil politician declared.

“This is a shocking indictment of the Government’s so-called national development plan. The regional plan is the next layer down from Project Ireland 2040 and if our concerns in Limerick were high on its publication last year, they have been raised even further by this draft strategy.

Limerick’s first citizen went on to deem the draft regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region, bad not just for Limerick, but also for Ireland.  He described the draft document as “severely limiting Limerick’s ambition over the next 12 years” and “downgrading the city’s position” at a national level.

“We have the capacity to become a real counterbalance for what is happening on the east coast. Clearly, we will have to proceed ourselves as any chance of an enlightened framework coming down from Government for the regions is clearly diminished,” he commented.

“The objective of this entire process from day one was to disperse national economic development but now that we are seeing this filtering down to regional plans, there’s not a single big idea to deliver that. We need big ideas to affect the type of change that’s needed to grow this and other regions and take some of the pressure and chaos off Dublin.  But Government is clearly not getting this.

“There is an overemphasis of Cork in terms of balanced regional growth and our strong ambitions for Limerick need to be amplified,” he concluded.

A special meeting of Limerick City and County Council will be held on February 25 to discuss the draft RSES strategy and prepare an agreed submission to the Southern Regional Assembly.

“It is insipid and devoid of any innovative thinking and we are seeing clear lines emerging as to where the power base is now in this country; Dublin first, Cork second and the rest of us a distant consideration.”