Limerick councillors up in arms over two-way bus corridor on O’Connell Street

Work under way on an earlier section of the O'Connell Street redevelopment project.

TALK of a two-way bus corridor on O’Connell Street raised the ire of Limerick City councillors at a special meeting of the local authority this week.

They were told that the National Transport Authority (NTA) is involved in a preliminarily study of introducing a two-way bus lane between Raheen and the city centre.

The proposal is believed to be included in the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS), due to be published in the coming days.

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely told the council executive that this was a “new development” for the elected representatives, and would bring further disruption to the city centre.

“There has been so much negativity around O’Connell Street and now you are throwing this into the works. I am a bit confused,” she said.

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Senior Council Executive Engineer Kieran O’Gorman explained that they were looking at it as a completely different project to the O’Connell Street revitalisation works.

Fianna Fáil councillor James Collins hit out at the executive, saying that what they were at is “pure stupid”.

“You are talking about putting a two-way bus lane on O’Connell Street in one of the few Georgian cities in Europe.

“This was mooted before and we were told it wasn’t happening. Now it looks like it is happening. This is a really dull use of a gorgeous street in a beautiful city,” he declared.

Labour Party councillor Elena Secas was also unhappy at the mention of a two-way bus lane, which could see all other general traffic removed from O’Connell Street if implemented.

“I am disappointed you are talking about this when you are struggling to finish a project on O’Connell Street. It makes no sense,” she added.

Speaking to the Limerick Post after the meeting in County Hall, Fine Gael’s Sarah Kiely called on the Council to get O’Connell Street finished and “leave it alone”.

“The O’Connell Street debacle is the story that keeps on giving. The thought of further disruption to businesses and people in the city is like picking a large scab.

“Just leave it alone for goodness sake. Let people get back to using the street and allow businesses to have a peaceful place to prosper,” she said.

Labour’s Conor Sheehan also told the Limerick Post that he was disappointed but not surprised.

“This is not a shock, as it was mooted when we passed the O’Connell street revitalisation plans in September 2019, when councillors were warned that if we voted down the project we would more than likely lose the funding that was allocated to it.
“I do not think running a two-way bus corridor through our main thoroughfare is a suitable solution to the problems faced by Limericks bus network.
“We need to see the roll out of ‘Bus Connect’ in Limerick with proper consultation and dialogue with all stakeholders including Councillors as a matter of urgency,” Cllr Sheehan concluded.