Council wants to ensure Limerick City will not suffer from UL expansion into Clare

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Former Dunnes Stores site, Sarsfield Bridge. Picture True Media

LIMERICK City and County Council is anxious to ensure that the University of Limerick’s plans to extend its Castletroy campus into County Clare will not negatively impact on the economic growth of Limerick City centre.

Reacting to the announcement that UL had joined forces with Clare County Council to have lands adjoining the northern end of the campus designated as an Economic Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), Mayor Daniel Butler said it was important that the economy and growth of city centre is safeguarded in any proposals.

“We must ensure that the City Centre continues to be the main economic growth centre of the region,” Mayor Butler declared.

“Our focus now is that, at the earliest opportunity, we have meaningful engagement with UL as part of its consultation process to ensure that the SDZ, should it get government approval, will be for the greater good of the city and region.”

In a more conciliatory tone, the Mayor said he was encouraged by the reference in the UL announcement to the university’s commitment to extend its existing campus footprint in the city.

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“We recognise UL’s contribution to Limerick city through its City Centre Campus, which saw the first of its students move into the Sarsfield Street campus in recent weeks.

“Specifically with regard to the SDZ application, while we have not seen the application, the University’s commitment to ensuring that the site would deliver a considerable economic, social and cultural boost to Limerick is in keeping with the objectives of Limerick City and County Council,” Mayor Butler added.

Limerick City and County Council chief executive Pat Daly said that UL’s stated intention to establish Limerick as an economic and social centre of excellence on a par with leading urban locations in Europe and the US was fully aligned with the Limerick 2030 Economic and Spatial Plan.

“However, collaboration has been a key factor in the growth story of Limerick across the last decade and, to that end, we will engage with UL to ensure that the SDZ plans deliver on that common goal to ensure the best interests of city and region are achieved,” he added.