LIMERICK Gael Senator Kieran O’ Donnell has called on the Department of Finance to conduct an in-depth review of the Living City initiative to ascertain why take-up to date has been disappointing.
The scheme was designed to assist and encourage people to live in the historic areas such as the Georgian Quarter in Limerick City.
While he has welcomed the Government decision to extend the deadline until 2022, Senator O’Donnell said he will engage directly with Department of Finance officials and Limerick City and County Council to look at its current operation.
Figures released to Senator O’Donnell by the Department of Finance show a total of 19 successful Limerick residential applications out of a nationwide figure of 228.
Speaking during a recent debate on the Finance Bill, Senator O’Donnell welcomed the decision to continue the initiative until 2022, but said it is now time to carry out an in-depth review on foot of the low take-up in Limerick and nationally.
“The take-up of the residential scheme in Limerick has been much lower than I would have liked. We need to look in-depth at the scheme. Limerick centre is a Georgian City and it is critical to our development.
“Data provided to me from the Department of Finance shows that a total of 228 successful residential applications nationwide have been received since the start of the scheme: 92 in Dublin, 71 in Cork, 19 in Limerick, 32 in Waterford, 11 in Kilkenny, and a low number for Galway.
“The numbers are disappointing and not at the level expected when the scheme was originally envisaged,” he said.
The Living City Initiative has been in place since 2015. Changes to the scheme were introduced in Budget 2017 to enhance the uptake and effectiveness of the scheme.
“I have spoken to the Minister for Finance and his officials about the low take-up of this scheme. It is a big issue for us in Limerick city centre where we have a significant Georgian quarter footprint. The scheme’s purpose is beneficial, but the practical importance is whether it is working.
“ We need to shed light on and address the specific reasons for the low take-up of this residential initiative here in Limerick City.
“I believe that a vibrant Georgian quarter in Limerick City centre is a key element in continuing the momentum to drive our City forward – the living city initiative must act as a catalyst here,” he concluded.