Business sector backs overhaul of local government

LIMERICK’S business community has fully backed proposals for the revamp of local government.

The city’s Chamber of Commerce has particularly focused on a finding, in the Limerick Local Government Committee report, that €20 million in savings could be achieved by having one local authority in the Limerick region.

Backing proposals drawn up by a committee chaired by Denis Brosnan, the president of Limerick Chamber, Kieran Mac Sweeney, said: “The chamber’s number one priority was that any changes to the local government structure would deliver a city of sufficient scale that will allow it to reach its full potential, so that it would become a driver of growth and development throughout the entire region. We believe the report delivers this.”

Noting the likely savings, long term, of having a single local authority to manage the city and county, MrMac Sweeney said: “The chamber in their submission looked for any savings to be ring-fenced and used to bring down commercial rates in the city and on city centre public realm improvements.

“We are delighted to see this in the report. Limerick city has the highest commercial rates in the state and one of the highest rates of unemployment. We need lower rates to protect existing businesses and to attract investment and jobs to our city.

The report correctly highlights the seriousness of the situation in Limerick City and the need for immediate action which was the core of the chamber submission.

“We were concerned that the combining both authorities would require primary legislation and the process might take years, however we have been assured that this could happen very quickly if it gets the support of the people of the region and the key stakeholders.”

While a period of consultation is the correct way forward, Mr MacSweeney said the chamber will try to ensure critical recommendations are not diluted or compromised.

He said: “It is now critical that we come together and support the recommendations of the Limerick Local Government Committee and ensure they are adopted as soon as possible.

“We must rise above individual needs and look at what is best for the people of Limerick and the region,” he said.

“We believe that under a more productive and focused local government structure, the city and region has the potential to offer a quality of life to its citizens that is unparalleled in the country.”


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