Local Limerick business’s are hoping the new €6m bridge which was given the green light by the Finance Minister Michael Noonan in 2015’s budget will bring more footfall to Rutland street and into the city more generally.
The three bridge design concepts put forward for consideration from the Council, range from simple to a more adventurous ‘swan-like’ shape.
The family owned Michael Gleesons shoe shop,William street has been in business for more than 29 years. Manager Dervala Gleeson (34) commented on the need to ‘revitalise’ the city centre, stressing that: ”anything that would make Limerick city centre shopping more attractive to tourists is a good thing”.
But Ms.Gleeson warned that €6m being spent on a bridge did seem ‘excessive’ and that the County Council should be sure to get ‘some return on their investment’.
Restaurant owner, Przemek Stawiarski (33) who has recently opened ‘vegan friendly’ Bubble Paradise cafe on Rutland street has said that the area needs ‘increased business’ and that the bridge concept 2 was a ‘futuristic nice design’ but that it ‘could be done for a lot cheaper than €6m’.
Next door is Rutland street’s Celtic Books bookshop which has been serving the community of Limerick for nearly 20 years. Proprietor Caroline O’Brien said of the proposed bridge concepts: ”I wouldn’t want it to block the most beautiful view in the world, the river Shannon.”
Mrs O’Brien believed that it would be great for tourism and local businesses if people could ‘walk out onto the bridge and see the view of the Clare Hills’.
The county Clare woman also praised Finance Minister Michael Noonan for his contribution to Limerick saying: ”He is a great, great man for what he has done for Limerick, we needed to bring back that ‘wow’ factor to Limerick, this bridge could showcase the Shannon’s biscuit-tin, postcard perfect beauty.”
Locals Colm Donegan (48) and Tim Harrigton (51) both agreed they liked concept 1 best as it was less ‘obtrusive’ though Mr.Donegan thought that the bridge didn’t really serve a purpose and that the money would be: ”better spent on the homeless or fixing the social housing shortage in Limerick”. Meanwhile Mr.Harrington joked and said, ”If they have any money leftover, could they spend it on setting up a few cafes out around here!”.
Limerick’s proposed footbridge will link the Shannon Rowing Club to Merchant’s Quay connecting the older part of the city to the new. Failte Ireland will be in charge of the two year project who’s funding will be rolled out in two phases, €3m in 2015 and a further €3m in 2016.