Could Limerick become our second city?

Dslider-1avid Jeffreys is among a number of optimists who think Limerick has a big future as the nations second city.

He arrived in Limerick to study IT. With university friend John Savage, they set up their own IT company, Action Point, which now employs 80. His wife, who is Dr Sarah Harney, moved to the city to fill a position in the University of Limerick teaching medicine.

Even Though Limerick still has some bad unemployment black spots, Jeffreys thinks the city of today is a long way from the place portrayed in the papers previously.

“There are great advantages to working here,” says the Laois entrepreneur . “I can get home from work in minutes to where I live in Clonlara, Co Clare, and I am looking at cows in fields. I can cycle there in 15 minutes.

“There are new companies opening here, unemployment is declining, and young people moving in are making the place more vibrant.

“Limerick is a proud, passionate place,” he says. “I believe the challenges that the city have faced helped to pull people together.”

Looking at property prices in Limerick, it is easy to see why Dubliners might be tempted. 3 bed semi-detached homes are usually valued between one hundred thousand and two hundred thousand euro, and there is also the option of residing in neighbouring counties like Tipperary and Clare, with relatively short drive times.

Cork may laugh at the idea, and others might live with the hoary stereotype of ‘Stab City’: but there is a growing clamour in Limerick to develop the city of the South West that can ease Dublin pressure.

John Moran, a Limerick man who guided the country’s fortunes as Secretary of the Department of Finance, has suggested Limerick could be a city of up to 750,000 people, acting as the ideal counterweight to Dublin.