Council told to get its skates on for Limerick ice rink

Limerick on Ice was a regular Christmas attraction until it fell foul of increased insurance costs.

LIMERICK City and County Council has been told to get its skates on and look at the possibility of a permanent ice rink for the city.

Sinn Féin councillor Sharon Benson proposed a motion at Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting on the matter, receiving cross-party support.

She moved that the Council undertake a feasibility study for a permanent ice rink in Limerick and engage with the Olympic Federation of Ireland and other relevant bodies in relation to the matter, including the Minister for Sport.

Cllr Benson took the view that the city centre is desperately lacking in leisure activities and needs a major anchor to attract people of all ages back to create a more vibrant city.

“Retail has been in decline for many years. We need to get creative and re-look at the function of the city centre as a whole,” she told the council executive.

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“There are many exciting projects underway in Limerick in the area of economic development and these will be a big boost for employment. However, it’s time to give something to the people of Limerick that everyone can use. Something that has the ability to inject some fun into the city, make it an attractive place to live and be a hub for activity.

“I believe that a permanent ice rink can deliver all of this for Limerick and so much more.”

The City North representative reminded council members that the Minister for Sport, together with the Olympic Federation of Ireland, launched the Winter Sports Strategy 2022-2026 in March.

The key objective of this strategy is to support the development of a permanent Winter Sports Ice Facility in Ireland.

“This facility would be worth €111 million for the Irish economy. €25 million to the exchequer in the construction phase alone. The proposed centre will contain two Olympic standard ice rinks, one with a 6,000-seater capacity and the other a 3,000-seater capacity and will cater for ice events and non-ice events such as concerts, conferences, or other types of entertainment.

“Limerick is a proud sporting city and has a reputation far and wide for its sporting hospitality. Limerick would be the deserving home of winter sports in Ireland and cement our identity as the sporting capital of Ireland,” Cllr Benson added.

Social Democrats councillor Elisa O’Donovan supported the motion and considered it a “fantastic thing for the city”.

Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan took the view that this is going to happen some place, so why not Limerick?

“This would be a unique attraction that separates us from other cities. We need to make it happen,” Cllr Hartigan enthused.

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely felt a permanent ice rink would help keep Limerick’s brand strong. She described it a very positive motion.