Limerick Chamber Election Priorities

Limerick Chamber calls for Housing, City Centre Improvements and Transport to be front and centre for the upcoming elections

The Mid-West’s largest business body has issued their policy priorities for the upcoming European Parliament, Directly Elected Mayor and Local Elections focusing on housing, city centre revitalisation and transport improvements

Limerick, 22 April 2024: Limerick Chamber has released its policy priorities for the upcoming elections in June. The Chamber’s priorities are targeted at the first Directly Elected Mayor for Limerick, the European Parliament elections and the Local elections. Acknowledging the focused remit and powers of the Directly Elected Mayor and Local Councillors, the report, entitled “Building a Better Region” calls for housing, transport and city centre revitalisation to be core components of upcoming campaigns. However, the Chamber says that it sees a large role for the Mayor and Councillors to play in advocating and lobbying for better outcomes for infrastructure, business viability, energy security, skills and talent as well as holding organisations to account for delivery of key state assets.

On the local and regional housing side of “Building a Better Region” the Chamber has asked candidates for a greater emphasis on affordable purchase and rental housing, quicker activation of state lands and ensuring adequate tenure mix in state developments especially when located in proximity to employment nodes – where a large emphasis should be placed on affordable purchase and rental for workers. Expanding into city centre revitalisation, the Chamber has asked candidates to examine implementing the Chamber’s “City Centre Report” if they are to be elected. The City Centre report was launched in November 2023, and provides an evidence-based review of the performance of Limerick City Centre, which included surveying business and members of the public to bring forward 63 recommendations to improve the city centre. In relation to transport, the Chamber reiterated its call for a bus route to Annacotty Business Park, to serve the 3,000 employees who travel there on a daily basis, as well as advancing a delivery and mobility plan for the city centre.

At the European level, the Chamber sees a large part to play for MEPs in relation to the Ireland’s energy security calling for greater support of ports infrastructure at the EU level, the implementation of the revised Renewable Energy Directive, the increased build out and expansion of infrastructure to enable investment and increased focus on cross border infrastructure. However, the Chamber also sees a part to play for elected representatives at the local level when it comes to energy security; calling for Local Development Plans to align with national policy on energy, including the climate action plan.  When it comes to the provision of infrastructure for renewable energy, the chamber has also called for the West Coast Designated Maritime Area Plan to be brought forward, and greater policy support the repowering and life extension of existing wind assets.

As part of “Building a Better Region” the Chamber has set out its stall in terms of the Directly Elected Mayor role. Outlining where the right mayor can add value, given their legislative remit resides in strategic planning, housing and transport. However, the Chamber also highlights that the Mayor will have a large part in lobbying nationally, for both Limerick and the entire Mid-West region.

“Building a Better Region” highlights that voters should not think of the role of Mayor as just a political role, it expands into an executive role with the ability to delivery. The Chamber goes on to highlight that candidates should not be examined in promises and plans alone, but also on their past experience of delivery and indeed their previous career and life experience.

From left to right: Sean Golden – Director of Policy Limerick Chamber, Noel Galvin – President Limerick Chamber (photo courtesy of Shauna Kennedy- Morning Star Photography)

Commenting on the release, Seán Golden, Chief Economist and Director of Policy at Limerick Chamber said

“ The Directly Elected Mayor for Limerick has the potential to be a catalyst for transformative change across multiple fronts, from addressing housing needs to enhancing transportation infrastructure, revitalising public spaces, guiding strategic development, and fostering a conducive business environment. This is a first of a kind for Ireland, so it is imperative from a Limerick branding perspective and an operational and economic perspective that the office and mayor succeeds. Despite the deliverables we all expect of the Mayor, they will also be responsible for a significant Local Authority budget and their own allocated budget, so it is imperative that the future mayor has experience in this area. Furthermore, it would be extremely important for candidates to have an existing understanding of the policy and the political environment, given that collaboration that will have to be undertaken locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally, depending on the ambition of the mayor, to succeed in the role. The role of Directly Elected Mayor, while not having the power most wanted, still has significant powers and can be a positive vehicle for change if the right person assumes the role. We look forward to meeting all candidates to discuss the Chamber’s priorities. “

Commenting on the release, Noel Gavin, President of Limerick Chamber said

“ The introduction of a Directly Elected Mayor for Limerick marks a pivotal moment in our community’s journey, offering a unified platform for all elements of society to shape the future of our city. This empowered office ensures that, with the right person, both economic vitality and civic well-being can be prioritised and advanced, driving inclusive growth and prosperity for both the city and county.

We have undertaken significant policy work in the Chamber over the last several years, with a specific focus on our City Centre Report. This report can and should act as a blueprint for candidates, and whoever ultimately takes office, for improving the city centre and could eventually be expanded to other towns and villages throughout Limerick. The work undertaken as part of the City Centre Report brings an evidence base to the conversation on the future of our great city and will ensure that the city centre remains attractive and competitive both from a liveability and business perspective “


Limerick Chamber

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