Council clash with Limerick Chamber over O’Connell Street works

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Work under way on the O'Connell Street redevelopment project.

LIMERICK City and County Council has expressed surprise at comments made by Limerick Chamber that were critical of the ongoing revitalisation works on O’Connell Street.

And the local authority has warned that “the type of public commentary engaged in by the Chamber may be a self-fulfilling prophecy” as it may dissuade people from coming into O’Connell Street if they regard it as chaotic.

In a statement issued to the Limerick Post on Wednesday afternoon, a council spokesman said that the aim of the project was to re-invigorate Limerick’s premier street, “creating an improved and more inviting public realm, expanding pedestrian facilities and providing dedicated cycling lanes and public transport links”.

Construction commenced in March 2021 after the Council engaged with the government to ensure the project was deemed ‘critical infrastructure’ and should proceed despite Level 5 Covid restrictions.

“Throughout this time, the council has kept the businesses along the route and other stakeholders updated about the progress of the development and explained any issues surrounding delays,” the spokesman explained.

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“While there have been delays and issues surrounding global supply chains, certain sections of the project are already finished. The entire project is due for completion by September, with street furniture and architectural lighting then to be installed.

“Large sections of the street have been completed and while works are ongoing, they are contained with fencing and there is sufficient but restricted space for pedestrians on both sides of the street.

“Throughout the project, a series of ongoing meetings with stakeholders have taken and continue to take place. One-to-one engagement also takes place with business owners on the street on specific issues relevant to their premises.

“A weekly bulletin is emailed to the relevant stakeholders informing them of the work that is taking place. This is also available on Limerick.ie/OConnell-Street.

“While the delays being experienced are not desirable, issues that are within the council’s direct control have been rectified as soon as they arose to help minimise disruption.

“Timelines and work packages on a project of this scale can change but any alterations to the project have been clearly and explicitly outlined to stakeholders.

“As there is regular contact with the Chamber and other stakeholders, it is surprising that these views are articulated in this manner.

However, the Chamber decided to go a different route and have issued their concerns in public, as is their right.

“The council ran a campaign informing people that O’Connell Street businesses are open for business and that while there is some disruption, the completed project will be worth the wait.

“Collaborative working and open direct communication is the best manner for Limerick to achieve its goals,” the council spokesman concluded.