Limerick business owner Al Ryan has said that Nicholas Street is “dead for business” and a “disaster that has never been addressed”.
Mr Ryan who owns Ryan Printers Ltd. has been in business on Nicholas Street for over 50 years.
Mr Ryan explained: “You can’t do business on Nicholas Street, there is nowhere for delivery trucks to park up, there is nowhere for anyone to park, all the business here died when the parking was taken off the street.”
While parking is a huge issue for his business, Mr Ryan added that there is an overall bigger picture to consider: “The problems on Nicholas Street go beyond business’s not being able to run this is a bigger issue for the city and its people. Neighbouring Francis Street is nicknamed ‘Heroin Hill’, it is a high-risk area for crime and the Guards recognise it as that.
“When people come down here they say ‘I would never go down there again.’ Tourists come here from all over the world, they look up Nicholas Street on their phones and they see nothing on the street, I’ve had people from Brazil come in and say that they wouldn’t come back here.
“We are in the centre of the city, if this was any other city in Europe it would be boosted as a huge tourism area.
“It’s got to do with a bigger picture of Limerick, our pride and our culture.
“If you are from Limerick you should be able to take more pride in your tourist areas. The Spanish Arch in Galway is known all over the world. Imagine if they had King John’s Castle in Galway, they would take so much pride in it, there wouldn’t be run down streets like Nicholas Street surrounding it.”
Independent Councillor and Former Mayor of Limerick John Gilligan echoed Mr Ryan’s desire for development, he said: “Nicholas Street is one of the most ancient streets in Limerick, we have a 12th century cathedral and a 13th century castle within a couple of minutes of each other. In any other place in the world this would be a prime example of how to develop and what to develop.”
Cllr Gilligan also commented on the ‘fireplace’ site on Nicholas Street: “For 25 years and at the cost of hundreds and thousands of euro we have kept a derelict site in the centre of the city within a couple of hundred yards of city hall, it is an insult to intelligence.”
According to a spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council the local authority budgeted €300000 for Nicholas Street in 2016 to carry out work such as “reconstruction of buildings, roof works, waterproofing, installation of windows, painting of buildings, demolition of structural works, archaeological investigation works, excavation of medieval buildings and floor refurbishments.”
LCCC said this work is being carried out on buildings across 24, 25, 26 and 27 Nicholas Street.