Mayor: Uniting councils would ‘abolish Limerick’

THE newly-elected Fine Gael mayor of Limerick yesterday warned the city would effectively be abolished by a Government decision to unite the city and county councils as one administrative body from 2014.

Cllr Jim Long, addressing a specially convened meeting to discuss the decision, said: “Having studied what I have seen, I would be very fearful after 2014. We would have three cities in Ireland, Dublin, Cork and Galway.”

He said the Government decision was a wrong one, and one they as a council will have to deal with.

Mr Long said he was also concerned at the decision to allow part of the UL campus in the administrative area of Clare County Council under the new boundary arrangement.

Cllr Diarmuid Scully, FG, said the new proposal on unifying Limerick City and County Councils was better than permitting the status quo which has led to the destruction of the core city centre area, due to the development of suburban retail areas.

“We need this new authority to work for the benefit of the city and that will not happen if we don’t start to drive this process.

“This (amalgamation) gives us the opportunity to give a better future for the people of the city and county. The city cannot continue as it is,” he said.

Cllr Gerry McLoughlin, Labour, said the decision by the Government had been made and they as a council now had to get on with it.

Cllr John Gilligan, Ind, said the race had been run and they as a council had lost.

He said: “The case we put forward was very well thought out, cogently argued and costed.”

Limerick City Council, he said, had managed to reduce rates and reduce staff.

Cllr Maurice Quinlivan, SF, said they should call on Minister Phil Hogan to reconsider the decision.

The Government decision follows on a recommendation by a committee set up under former Kerry Group chief, Denis Brosnan, to plot a way forward following the loss of 1,900 jobs at Dell.

Mr Hogan said one authority would lead to administrative savings of €15 million a year and a reduction in rates in the city.

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