Council paid sex shop €90k to move … across the street

Limerick City and County Council has got its naughty lingerie in a twist after spending €90,000 in a failed attempt to "sex down" a city centre site.

The council gave the money as a ‘goodbye’ payment to the operator of an adult sex shop after the local authority paid €12.5m to Nama for the Opera Centre site where the Utopia shop was located.

The site comprises a bundle of properties in Patrick St and Ellen St covering 50,000 sq metres and is the focus of a plan to rebuild the city centre.

The shop did not fit in with the council’s plans for the area and the ‘adult store’ closed last month, when the council paid €90,000 to the operator.

But, within days, the business moved across to the other side of Ellen St, on the boundary of the Opera Centre site, and resumed trading.

One city council source said: “There are a lot of red faces on how big money was spent to little avail.”

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Limerick City and County Council said: “To develop the city centre transformational site formerly known as the ‘Opera site’, Limerick City and County Council required vacant possession…

“In 2012, the Opera Site was purchased from Nama with two tenants in situ. The previous site owners obtained an order for possession against one tenant with a stay pending the commencement of development on the site.

“The previous owner had also commenced legal proceedings against the owner of the adult shop. The council on acquiring the property concluded those proceedings and obtained possession of the property.”

The spokeswoman made no comment on the reported ‘goodbye’ payment.

At Utopia yesterday, meanwhile, a shop assistant said business was very good.


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