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Labour TD and former Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan has welcomed in principle the announcement that UL is planning a large expansion on the Clare side of the river that will double the size of the campus.

"UL purchased over 300 acres in Gillogue several years ago. Clare County Council is now preparing to put a proposal to the Minister for Housing and Planning to have the area designated a Strategic Development Zone with the potential to create over 3000 jobs and significantly expand the University".

"I welcome this ambitious plan in principal and it is an indication of the innovative thinking and forward planning that has made the UL campus so impressive and that has used its riverside location to great benefit. I do believe, however, that there needs to be widespread consultation and cohesive planning".

Deputy O'Sullivan continued:

"Minister of State, John Paul Phelan is bringing legislation to the Dáil in the new year that will provide for Area Committees to address the particular situations that arise in a number of parts of the country where towns and cities are expanding into neighbouring counties so that there can be Local Area Plans drawn up with input from councillors and Council staff from each Local Authority.

"Limerick/Clare is included in the list of areas as well as Waterford/Kilkenny, Drogheda/Meath and Athlone/Roscommon. It had been intended that provision for the Local Area Committees would be included in the Local Government Bill thta passed through the Dáil last week that included arrangements for plebiscites for directly elected mayors, again including Limerick.

"However, I and other opposition spokespersons persuaded the Minister not to rush this through and Minister Phelan withdrew the proposal and will bring forward separate legislation. The UL proposals are a real opportunity for Limerick and Clare to work together for the benefit of all of us and to realise the potential that our University has in helping to develop the strong urban counterbalance to Dublin that is the ambition we all share in this region".

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