When I read Denis Brosnan and the Limerick Local Government Committee’s report last Friday I was delighted. At last, an independent committee has investigated the local government situation in Limerick – where three councils (four if you include the separate Regeneration Agency) operate in such a small geographic area – and has proposed a long-term solution to the problem. The Chamber has always supported an extended city,an extension that would create a city of scale with a population of 100,000 people. In addition, efficiency in the provision of our local government services can be achieved through the amalgamation of the councils – indeed we estimate the saving to be in the region of €20m which will be used to reduce the cost of rates in the city centre). In any economic climate that is too much of a saving to be overlooked. Commercial rates in Limerick city are unsustainably high – they are 20% above the national average and are the highest in the country. The savings achieved through the amalgamation of the authorities must be passed onto businesses through a reduction in this rate.
I think the time for debate is passed. Denis Brosnan and his committee are to be congratulated in taking on all the associated challenges relating to the local governance issues in Limerick. People and organisations made their submissions to this independent review committee. The committee have made their recommendations. It is now time that we, the business people of Limerick, not only support the immediate implementation of these recommendations, but where possible, individuals and organisations need to take on leadership roles in making these recommendations a resounding success for Limerick and the region, a region that is so dependent on it to be the driver of the economic and social recovery we are all striving for.