The committee could have recommended a larger slice of South-East Clare be included in Limerick, chairman Denis Brosnan revealed.
In response to a Clare Champion question, if the inclusion of parts of South-East Clare is necessary, Mr Brosnan said Clare County Council had given planning permission for housing developments in Shannon Banks and Westbury, which he maintained were essentially an integral part of Limerick City.
Mr Brosnan pointed out that one of the submissions requested that a much larger area of South-East Clare would be included in the extension, including Parteen village.
“Let no one tell me that Shannon Banks is part of what is traditional Clare, it is part of the greater Limerick City metropolitan area,” he said.
The newly expanded Limerick City area will include Westbury, Shannon Banks the entire University of Limerick campus and parts of Clonlara.
These include the townlands of Knockballynameath, Athlunkard, Clooncarhy and Gillogue, the south-western spur of Shannakyle and those parts of the townlands of Cloonoughter and Garraun that lie to the south of the road that runs from Larkin’s Crossroads to the townland of Srawickeen.
The committee estimates this area is about 480 hectares, or just less than five square kilometres, and noted in its report that it is significantly smaller than that sought by Limerick City Council in its 2005 boundary alteration.
“The new Limerick authority will have the resources of the third-largest urban centre in the State and much of the urban centre’s rural hinterland.
“The new authority will represent and service a population of approximately 187,000 people.
“Outside of the Dublin Region, it will be the second largest local authority, in population terms, in the country and will be among the larger local authorities, measured by area.
“It will be responsible for the urban area, natural areas of extension, the University of Limerick campus, the National Technology Park, the entire rural area of the county of Limerick and those urban areas of Clare which adjoin the city,” the report explained.
Implementation urge from Shannon Development
Shannon Development has urged the Government to implement the recommendations of the report as quickly as possible.
Welcoming the recommendations, Dr Vincent Cunnane, chief executive of Shannon Development, said the semi-State agency had suggested to the committee that the boundary needed to be extended to ensure a larger and stronger Limerick City, with the necessary scale and resource base to drive the economic development of the Limerick/Shannon Gateway.
It also recommended that there should be one governing organisation with responsibility for the city and county as the optimal structure to manage a Greater Limerick Area, with a stronger city at its core and that Westbury and Shannon Banks should be governed by a new Limerick authority. These views have been endorsed by the committee.
“Shannon Development is pleased to note that the Limerick Local Government Committee has made these two of its key recommendations and the agency view their implementation as a key factor in regenerating Limerick as the region’s driver of economic growth.”
Dr Cunnane said the agency strongly believed the long-term economic development prospects of the Shannon Region were best served by having Limerick City as a strong, vibrant metropolitan core fulfilling its potential as the economic driving force of the region.