by Bernie English
PLANNING permission has been given for the development of a purpose-built Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre in Limerick City Centre.
Approval has also been given to knock three buildings at the junction of Wickham Street, Parnell Street, Sexton Street and Upper Gerald Griffin Street to erect the four-storey structure.
The group behind the project is the Dawat-e-Islami group, and they will be taking over ownership of the buildings from Limerick City and County Council.
The local authority had originally given permission for the plan but it was then appealed to An Bord Pleanála, who gave the go-ahead for the build.
Friday is the official day of worship for the Muslim community and around 40 people are expected to attend each week with larger members expected for religious festivals such as Eid.
The designers say they want to create a contemporary cultural centre for Muslims and non-Muslims.
While the facade of the building will fit in with the city surrounds, there will be discreet openings to face the four geographical directions.
The new build will consist of a large central prayer hall and washing facilities for the traditional cleansing before prayer.
Healy Partners Architects are in charge of the project. Hoardings which were previously placed around the site will now be removed to facilitate construction.
In their design statement for the project, architects Healy Partners said they aim to “embrace local context as well as Islamic culture through use of basic materials and respect for site, climate, place and culture.”
The design also aims to “give subtle gesture to Limerick’s Georgian heritage”.
It’s expected that work will begin on the site in the coming weeks.
Limerick city enjoys a vibrant Muslim presence and worshipers are currently facilitated at the Mosque in Windmill Street, which is no longer sufficient for the growing Muslim population in the region.