Do we really need a new city?

 

Sir, – Further to “Ministers discuss creation of new city to stop choking of Dublin”, (News, July 20th), one way to “ensure population growth would not happen in a disproportionate way” is to build a high-speed rail link between Dublin and Limerick and on to Shannon. Limerick city has been underpopulated for decades but is now on the cusp of a major expansion.

The Limerick/Shannon corridor has always been the only counter-balance option to Dublin, but narrow views among politicians and civil servants from other cities have long ensured that this option has never been seriously considered.

Limerick is potentially less than one hour from Dublin and a half-hour from Cork and Galway by high-speed rail, and is the only city that can expand on all fronts. With tens of thousands of hectares of land between Limerick and Shannon, an international airport, top-class colleges, and more and more high-quality jobs, why exactly are Ministers talking about building another city? – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY FINNIN,

Limerick.

Sir, – Reports of plans to create a new city “to stop the choking of Dublin” are surely a product of silly-season journalism. How much would it cost and how long would it take to finance and construct the infrastructure and facilities, and to realise the migration of the huge volume of businesses, services and people necessary to make any urban location in Ireland comparable to Dublin?

What would the existing residents of candidate locations for this new city think? Are they happy for their towns to be subject to decades of upheaval, just to turn them into a replica of the “dirty old town”?

All the while, however long it might take to bring Athlone, Limerick, Sligo or any other place up to the required size, scale and density to be a realistic counterbalance to Dublin, Dublin itself will be continuing to grow. The capital is already struggling, and will continue to need ever-higher levels of attention and investment from the State to avoid the current local crises in housing, social services and healthcare being deepened even further.

The time, energy and money wasted on a “new city” would be better invested in upgrading Dublin to cope with the expected growth, rather than the fantasy of being able to redirect that growth elsewhere. Any other conclusion is not only parochial wishful thinking, but indebted to the avaricious style of parish-pump politics that the people of Ireland hoped had gone with the Celtic Tiger. – Yours, etc,

JOHN THOMPSON,

Phibsboro, Dublin 7.

Sir, – Perhaps they’ll call it “Leoville”. – Yours, etc,

MARY BYRNE,

Bray, Co Wicklow.