Community space lacking in forgotten parts of Limerick

Fianna Fáil councillor Catherine Slattery.

FIANNA Fáil councillor Catherine Slattery has called on the Council to include more physical infrastructure for community space in medium to large scale projects in Limerick City and County.

Community centres, she believes, are lacking and much-needed throughout the Metropolitan District, telling the council executive that economic growth has indeed been introduced in Limerick but physical infrastructure for communities and community groups is now needed.

“I feel very strongly about this issue. Community groups and communities in Limerick are finding it hard to find homes. That is because community space is forgotten in many parts of Limerick and it is now time to stand up and have these areas counted,” the City East representative said at County Hall.

In her own district, Cllr Slattery hit out that from Colbert Station right out to Castleconnell, you can count on one hand, or “maybe two fingers”, the number of community centres there are.

“This is not acceptable, for the people of Limerick, for our youths, and for our elderly who need places to go,” she declared.

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Cllr Slattery went on to claim that Galvone Youthspace, owned by Limerick Council, was sold to a company, but no consideration was given by the local authority to where these youths will go.

“Eighteen months is all they have left in Galvone and not one sod of turf has been turned on an area to replace this Youthspace.

“In my book, this is letting the people of the area and surrounding areas down. There is no point in the Council telling me we are investing €11million for facilities when works have not even started yet.

“We have many small groups all over Limerick that have no homes and they are working out of small offices trying to facilitate youth groups, women and men’s sheds, elderly groups — the list goes on. The Opera Centre is just one example of the lack of community space. To my knowledge, the only community space within the Opera Centre is a library.

“With the money invested in this area, a community centre should have been on the plans to facilitate organisations like Limerick Youth Service, who are crying out for community spaces to facilitate groups.”

Cllr Slattery was strongly of the view that the Southside of the city is being left behind.

“The Northside and Dooradoyle/Mungret are thriving with community space, which is fantastic, but hundreds of people in the city centre and in Limerick City East are left with no place to go,” she concluded.

In response, Chief Officer of the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), Seamus O’Connor, said that the Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028 seeks to improve the provision of community infrastructure and recreational opportunities for the wider community, in co-operation with relevant bodies.

“In assessing planning applications developments, there is a requirement to ensure that adequate social infrastructure is in place to support such development, however, there is no provision for developers to provide such infrastructure.”