It is only January, but after the last few weeks of wet weather and last night’s deluge of rain, the river Mulkear finally reached its highest level since measurements started in 1953: 4.011 metres.
(video courtesy of Ecofact Ireland)
Mountshannon Road was flooded – again – blocking traffic and making the morning rush hour dangerous as many tried to find a shortcut to avoid the jammed Mackey Roundabout.
The “once in a hundred years” events (to quote Limerick City and County management) are now happening very second year.
We can learn from the Limerick – Foynes road planning process, that when going to the “design stage” it can still take a different route and may in fact impact on far more residents than was indicated originally….
The Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract between the State and DirectRoute (Limerick) Ltd have a penalty clause stating that if another river crossing were to be constructed within a certain distance from the Limerick tunnel, the State will be liable to compensate DirectRoute (Limerick) Ltd for damages and further losses.
The Limerick tunnel is already loss making and have been so since it opened in July 2010. DirectRoute (Limerick) Ltd are “protected” against any loss as they have a traffic guarantee mechanism in the contract granted by the National Roads Authority. This is already costing the Irish taxpayer millions of euro per year. The PPP contact runs for 35 years.
This fact about the extra penalty clause if another river crossing would be constructed was pointed out to the City & County Manager in a letter from the National Roads Authority where the NRA requested that the City & County Manager should inform the Councillors about this in the context of decisions about the Limerick Northern Distributor Road.
Did the City & County Manager inform the Councillors about this serious financial liability, in the case of making a decision for progressing the Limerick Northern Distributor Road plans?
We would like to know, as we are paying for it.
Just a few weeks into his new his new position as President of the University of Limerick, Dr. Desmond Fitzgerald finds himself at odds with local residents. On the 16th of May, Fitzgerald released a statement to the press stating his support for the Limerick Northern Distributor road plans.
Many people in the local community in east Limerick, some who are also employees of the university, finds this highly disturbing that Dr. Fitzgerald appear to allow the Office of the President of the University of Limerick to be used for influencing planning issues in County Clare and County Limerick. It is also surprising that Dr. Fitzgerald makes a statement like this, the same week as he pledged “The focus of the new President of UL is to protect and develop the university’s academic reputation – that reputation is important to the city of Limerick, to Mid-West region and to the thousands of students, staff and graduates of UL.”
As the core issues about the Limerick Northern Distributor road plans are clearly outside Dr. Fitzgerald’s area of competence, we would like to know:
- Did Dr. Fitzgerald read the current planning documents?
- Does he realise that a number of faculty and staff may have their homes destroyed, devalued, made impossible to insure, etc., if the Northern Distributor Road plans would go ahead?
- Is there any evidence that the proposed plans would have any effect on traffic congestion in relation to UL?
The local community in the East Limerick region closely monitored the severe flooding in December 2015. We have waited to release this video, as it is controversial, but with the Limerick City and County Council’s imminent vote on the plans for a Limerick Northern Distributor Road looming, we finally release tis video to the public.
The flooding issue has not been adequately addressed. Hydro Environmental Services, who carried out the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (CFRAM), conclude that building a 4 lane dual carriage way on a flood plain would not affect the flooding. The consultants also blame the house holders that it is their own fault for building their houses too low on a flood plain.
The Office of Public Works(OPW) have not given any commitment to Limerick City and Council for even implementing the outcome of the CFRAM. They currently have 125 flood defence plans nationally. OPW estimates on average they will do 5 projects per year, hence it will take 25 years to clear the current backlog.
It needs to be added that even for those residents whose houses don’t flood currently, it is likely that it will if the Northern Distributor Road is built. At the minimum the access roads to the houses will flood.
We ask the public to contact their local councillors to ask them to vote against the Northern Distributor Road plan.
Among the numerous objections submitted to Limerick City and County Council, An Taisce (one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations) have outlined a number of serious issues:
- Detrimental to the centre
- Increased car dependency and urban sprawl
- Not backed by best practice in transport planning
According to the Limerick Chamber of Commerce, 65% of Limerick’s leading business community prioritize the M20 Limerick-Cork motorway development instead of the Northern Distributor road.