THE Land Development Agency (LDA), which was established to make better use of State-owned land, is of no benefit to the majority of County Limerick.
That’s the view of Limerick Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue who told a meeting of the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage that most of Limerick is excluded by current LDA policy, as it only covers areas within 15 minutes of major urban centres.
He said he was supportive of the LDA’s ambitious Colbert Station Quarter project, which aims to deliver up to 2,800 affordable homes in the heart of Limerick City by 2030 but it only stood for city projects.
“It does not stand for anyone that is out of the city and its environs. Not everyone in Limerick is from the city. So two thirds, if not more of Limerick, is out of any LDA equation. And Limerick County is where I represent, and represent passionately,” Deputy O’Donoghue told the meeting.
“Not one item announced by the LDA has a single thing to do with County Limerick. If it continue with this ’15-minute rule’, yes it will take in Adare, Croom and Patrickswell, but it takes out the likes of Bruff, Newcastle West, Kilmallock and so many other places, such as Abbeyfeale, Hospital, Askeaton and Glin. These are just examples of our main towns in Limerick, with Newcastle West having a population of around 4,000.”
O’Donoghue, a self-employed builder of 30 years standing, added that his job as a TD is to build the towns and villages in County Limerick, and to make businesses in them sustainable.
“When you have that, you can then have sustainable housing. However, the infrastructure currently in the county is not there, because of lack of water and sewerage treatment.
“LDA state that urban and rural sites across the country will be assessed for the purpose of development but this clearly not the case in County Limerick anyway,” he added.
LDA Chairman designate Cormac O’Rourke, who succeeds Limerickman John Moran in the position, acknowledged that the LDA has been given a mandate by Government in that “we are policy takers not policy makers”.
“However, I would absolutely agree with Deputy O’Donoghue that infrastructure in Rural Ireland is significantly deficient but the mandate that we have been given is for scaled projects on State land and most of that is in the cities,” Mr O’Rourke commented.