Limerick County Council has denied it has had any contacts with the owners of the Crescent Shopping Centre regarding the sale of its headquarters.
According to the Limerick Leader newspaper, City Hall has been chosen as the base of the amalgamated Limerick City and County Councils and county councillors say they have been frozen out as rumours abound over what is to happen to the council buildings opened in Dooradoyle at a cost of around €30 million in 2003.
“No discussions whatsoever have yet taken place in relation to disposal of property”, was all Limerick County Council was willing to say when asked to confirm reports it is interested in striking a deal with the Kenny family who own the neighbouring Crescent Shopping Centre.
And county councillors are deeply concerned at a proposal to consolidate the city and county planning departments at the former AIB branch on Patrick Street, part of the Opera Centre site purchased by Limerick City Council last year.
They fear that rural dwellers will have to travel to Patrick Street if they want to meet a planner or inspect documents.
“We have heard rumours about the sale of the building but we have no confirmation from anybody,” said Fine Gael’s Cllr Richard Butler, Dooradoyle.
“It’s high time that the elected members of the council were brought into the loop. Whatever happens, the council wouldn’t get anything like the money it spent given the way the property market has gone and the council is facing a potentially huge loss of many millions.”
Cllr John Sheahan said councillors were seeking a meeting with Mr Murray “as early as possible” on how staff transfers and reconfiguration of office space might affect members of the public.
“Negotiations on staff transfers are not in our remit but we certainly want an input on where front-line services might remain or be moved,” Cllr Sheahan said.
And Fianna Fail’s Deputy Niall Collins said “there seems to be a lot of decision-making going on in which councillors are not being involved and which will impact on which services will continue to be available in Dooradoyle, which unlike the city centre has easy access and free parking”.