Council Affairs: Pitchforks are out over University Avenue

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

THE angry mob are hot under the collar once again and baying for the blood of Limerick Regeneration as they brandish pitchforks and torches in a bewailing fashion.

According to Fine Gael councillor Olivia O’Sullivan, there has been a huge public outcry over Limerick City and County Council’s plans for a new scheme that incorporates the current access road to Thomond Community College (TCC), the adjacent campus of the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), and other public and private lands.

‘University Avenue’, as it has been dubbed, will be a new 650m-long pedestrian, cycle, and low speed vehicular link. Deemed a strategic infrastructure proposal for the northside of the city, it will link communities in Moyross and Caherdavin.

Those I have spoken to in Moyross are all for the scheme. Not so much on the other side of the tracks.

However Cllr Olivia O’Sullivan is having none of it. In fact, she has made it clear, on more than one occasion, that she does not support the scheme. Down with that sort of thing.

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What’s the official line Fine Gael has taken on this Councillor? Should we all be against Regeneration now? Only, between work and family and watching Father Ted on the box at night, I don’t have a lot of time, myself, for that kind of thing.

And what really is the issue here? Honestly, I don’t see it.

Cllr O’Sullivan, a Caherdavin resident and Fine Gael’s bright young star, is adamant that the Council have got this one wrong. The route, she insists, is not acceptable to the residents she has spoken with from Woodview, Coolraine Heights, Brookville Gardens, and the Old Cratloe Road.

One would wonder how many residents on the Moyross side she has spoken to.

“The Council need to go back to the drawing board. There are lots of alternatives that can be explored, and I have been receiving many constructive ideas, which I know the Council are also in receipt of in their feedback,” she told this publication in a right old twist.

Aren’t we very lucky, in fairness, to have such brilliant local representatives in our ranks at City Hall, with road engineering among their many areas of expertise?

The Council’s Regeneration team are the new bogeyman, it would seem. Late last year it was the turn of the poor craturs in Active Travel to be burned at the stake.

Councillors and residents alike were foaming at the mouths during a Part 8 procedure for the TUS Moylish to City Active Travel Scheme. The Salem Witch Trails wouldn’t of gotten a look in.

At the time, City West representative Cllr Dan McSweeney hit out that he did not have enough time to give due consideration to the proposal over in City North.

No, the dog hadn’t eaten his homework; it was Pat Daly’s fault, he maintained, after only receiving the Chief Executive’s Report, a 36-page document, just two working days before a decision was to be made on it.

This was the best show in town for a couple of months before it was finally approved by council members, with some new improvements and more sweat wiped from brows than you’d get at a Christy Moore gig.

Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan made a very good observation at the time. He took the view that the scheme had been used as an “election hobby horse” by some politicians for their own public gain. Giddy up, indeed!

And Cllr Olivia O’Sullivan certainly has her gallop on over this latest University Avenue debacle. And, who knows, if all goes well there could be a few votes in it for her when the local elections come round next June.

Though probably not in Moyross.

I know, I’m a terrible cynic and I will burn in hell, together with my pals in Regeneration.

Still though, all this huffing and puffing over one scheme or another, the whole begrudging Irish attitude of ‘not on my doorstep’ is enough to have you consider going off-grid and living out your days far from the madding crowds.

Of course, the best blowup of them all was the great South Circular Road disaster of February 2023.

Everyone from Willie O’Dea to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, as well as the militant Limerick Cycling Campaign activists, were dragged into the melee with all kinds of talks of sabotage and ludicrous personalised attacks. Limerick hadn’t seen entertainment like it since the good old days of Tom and Paschal’s Christmas Crackers.