Council should hire urban designer for ‘betterment of the city’

Cllr Brian Leddin and Cllr Sean Hartigan, Green Party. Photo: Cian Reinhardt
Cllr Brian Leddin, Green Party. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

GREEN Party councillor Brian Leddin has called on the local authority to employ an accredited urban designer to provide professional advice on capital projects for the “betterment of the city”.

Speaking at this Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting, the City North representative took the view that the Council could hire an urban designer for “far less” than they currently pay for outside consultants.

Sinn Féin councillor John Costelloe, who seconded the motion, accused Limerick City and County Council of “not utilising what we have”.

“If you look outside the council chamber window you’ll see there isn’t a single boat on the river,” he pointed out.

Mayor Michael Sheahan said he was quite happy with the advice council members are getting at present.

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“We don’t need outsiders coming in adding another layer of bureaucracy,” he declared.

Metropolitan District Cathaoirleach James Collins did not agree and said they hadn’t received good advice on the O’Connell Street redevelopment project.

“The city is dying on its feet and the retail offering is not what it should be. What we need is an urban designer and we need it without delay,” he added.

Labour Party councillor Elena Secas felt it better to err on the side of caution.

“We would have a bigger problem if we don’t get the right person. If we don’t, we’d be in big trouble,” she warned.

Director of Service Operations, Kieran Lehane told councillors that he endorsed the sentiment of the motion and would take on board their comments.

In a response from Director of Support Services, Sean Coughlan explained: “The Council are currently undertaking a workforce planning exercise  and as part of this exercise, a review of all the required professional competencies and experiences will be considered in accordance with the forthcoming Corporate Plan.”