Chapter 1 - Introduction: The context for the Kilmallock Local Area Plan (LAP) 2019 – 2025

closeddate_range13 Apr, 2019, 8:00am - 27 May, 2019, 5:00pm

1.1 What is the Kilmallock Local Area Plan (LAP)?

Section 19(2) of the Planning and Development Act, requires a local area plan to consist of a written statement and objectives for the future development of the town.  Objectives which are obligatory include: 

  • zoning objectives to guide optimal land use,
  • infrastructure,
  • conservation/protection of natural and built environment,
  • preservation, improvements to amenities and recreational opportunities, and
  • facilitation of community services including schools, crèches, other education and childcare facilities, and healthcare services. 

Essentially, the LAP guides development to appropriate locations in the town, as planning applications are assessed against the policies and objectives of the proposed LAP. Experience has demonstrated that the LAP plays a critical role in leveraging other supports and funding opportunities for the town.  In the case of Kilmallock this would have included, the funding of the Town Wall Conservation Management Plan, public realm improvement works and the new waste water treatment facility.

Importantly, a LAP should not be viewed as a schedule of works for the period, but rather as a framework within which all stakeholders, including public agencies, developers and the local community can operate for the betterment of the town to fulfil its role as an important service centre for its hinterland, South Limerick, and the wider Ballyhoura area.


The Kilmallock Local Area Plan (LAP) is a legal document consisting of a public statement of Limerick City and County Council’s planning policies for Kilmallock town.  This plan, when  adopted by the Cappamore-Kilmallock elected members will replace the Kilmallock LAP 2009-2015 (as extended).  The aim of the LAP is to establish a framework of the planned, coordinated and sustainable development of the Kilmallock including the conservation and enhancement of its natural and built environment over the next six years..  The LAP provides guidance as to how this development can be achieved, what new developments are needed, where public and private resource inputs are required and guidance for development proposed in the plan area.

The plan builds on the review of the Kilmallock LAP 2009-2015 (as extended), taking into account recent key development trends and national, regional and local policy developments.

All development in the Kilmallock area will be assessed against the contents of this LAP and the current Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 (as Extended).

The Proposed Kilmallock LAP should be read in conjunction with the Limerick County Development Plan 2010-2016 (as extended) and any subsequent variation thereof.  Unless otherwise stated, the general development plan policies, objectives and development management standards still apply to the area.


1.2 The Review Process

The review of the Local Area Plan commenced in December 2017, with the publication of an issues paper.  Its intention was to prompt discussion on local issues at pre-draft stage. The issues paper was on public display for a period of 6 weeks. Copies of the issues paper and an invitation to make a submission were sent to local community groups and voluntary agencies in the area.  Eleven submissions were received in total.  The local community in partnership with the Ballyhoura Development Ltd. Limerick Local Enterprise Office and the Kilmallock Traders Association have undertaken a socio-economic plan and a business development plan for the town in late 2018.  These local community initiatives have informed this proposed LAP.

At the end of the public consultation period a report was prepared on issues arising during the public consultation period and a number of meetings have been held with internal and external stakeholders.

The current stage involves the Proposed Local Area Plan being placed on public display at; the Civic Offices, Merchant’s Quay, Limerick City;  Cappamore-Kilmallock Municipal District Office, Kilmallock Library, Dooradoyle Library; Council Offices Dooradoyle, Limerick City Library, and on for a period of six weeks.  Again, written submissions are invited. At the end of the public consultation period a Chief Executive’s Report on any issues arising during the public consultation phase will be prepared and submitted to the Cappamore – Kilmallock Members of the Council.  If, following the elected members consideration of the CE report, the Council decides to materially amend the proposed local area plan, a further period of four weeks public consultation on these material alterations only will take place. A further CE’s report on submissions regarding proposed amendments is then prepared for the Elected Members who, having considered the report, may make the new local area plan, with or without the amendments.  Responsibility for making a local area plan rests with the elected members of the Planning Authority.  It is expected that the Kilmallock Local Area Plan 2019 - 2025 will be made by October 2019.


1.3 Strategic Environmental Assessment

The EU Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) requires all European Union member states to systematically evaluate the likely significant effects of implementation of a plan or programme prior to its adoption. An SEA screening exercise was carried out in line with “Implementation of SEA Directive (2001/42/EC): Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes on the Environment - Guidelines for Regional Authorities and the Planning Authorities”.  The screening exercise determined that a full SEA is not required in this instance, given the population sized and zoned area. 


1.4 Appropriate Assessment (AA)

In accordance with Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive the Planning Authority carried out an Appropriate Assessment Screening and determined that there are no significant effects.


1.5 Flood Risk Assessment

A Stage One Flood Risk Assessment has been undertaken in support of the Kilmallock LAP as part of the plan preparation.  The information gathered has informed the Land Use Zoning Map included in this LAP.  The LAP has adopted the precautionary approach and lands which have been identified as potentially at risk to flooding have generally been zoned for uses which are not considered vulnerable.  


1.6 Planning context

In accordance with the Planning and Development Act 2000(Amended) the LAP has been informed by a hierarchy of national, regional and local spatial planning policies. 

A summary of some of the provisions of relevant guidelines and policy documents are outlined below.


Figure 1.1: Development Plan – links with other plans


The NPF establishes central governments priorities for a more equitable balance of social, economic, population growth, infrastructural investment and development between regions.

The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) translates the NPF to the regional level including setting population growth across the Southern Region.[1]  The RSES for the Southern Regional is currently in draft format.

The County Development Plan translates the population and growth projection of the former Mid-West Regional Authority which was dissolved in 2015 under local government reform measures.  Its successor the Southern Assembly was established in 2015.  It is now responsible for transcribing the growth projections of NPF to the regional level.  Its finalised document is expected to be published in late 2019.

The City and County Development Plans will be reviewed following adoption of the Regional Economic and Spatial Strategy for the Southern Region and is required to be consistent with the higher level plans.  


Other plans that inform this proposed LAP include:


Mid West Regional Planning Guidelines 2010 – 2022

Retail Strategy for the Mid West Region, 2010 – 2016

Joint Housing Strategy for the Administrative Areas of Limerick City and County Councils and the Clare Local Authorities 2011

Limerick Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016 – 2021,

Age Friendly Limerick 2015 – 2020,

Limerick City and County Heritage Plan 2017 – 2030,

Limerick Cultural Strategy 2016 – 2030,

Limerick Tourism Strategy,

Limerick Rural Development Strategy 2014 – 2020,

Limerick Digital Strategy,

Limerick Sports Partnership 2016 -2020 Strategic Plan,

Limerick City and County Council Corporate Plan 2015 – 2019,

Mid West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020,

Limerick 2030 Economic and Spatial Strategy,

Healthy Limerick,

Belonging to Limerick: Connecting People and Communities 2017 – 2021, and the

Traveller Accommodation Programme.


The above are available on Other national guidelines issued by Ministers have also informed the proposed LAP. Planning Authorities are required to take account of any policies and guidelines issued by the Minister. For a comprehensive list of other policy documents taken into account in preparing this plan refer to Chapter 1 in the Limerick County Development Plan 2010-2016 (as extended) and the Department of Planning, Housing and Local Government on

The proposed LAP is also informed by the 2012 local government reform programme ‘Putting People First’.


Kimallock has very active community and business development forums including the Kilmallock & District Community Council, Kilmallock Partnership, Kilmallock Tourism Development Ltd. and the Kilmallock Association for Trade and Commerce. Recent initiatives by the voluntary sector include the publication in late 2018 of the Kilmallock Socio Economic Plan and the Kilmallock Sustainable Development Report 2018. Both local plans have been considered in the preparation of the LAP.


This plan has been prepared in accordance with the various provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) and the Planning and Development (SEA) Regulations 2004 (SI No. 436 of 2004) and the Planning and Development (SEA) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI No. 201 of 2011).  Screening is the process for deciding whether a particular plan, or variation to a plan, other than those for which SEA is mandatory, would be likely to have significant environmental effects, and would thus warrant SEA. Refer to Sections 1.3 – Section 1.5 above.


1.7 Kilmallock – location, function and role within the Limerick Settlement Strategy



Kilmallock (Cill Mocheallóg) owes its origins to a monastery founded by St. Mocheallóg in the early 7th century. Located approximately 40km from the major urban centres of Limerick and Tipperary, and in close proximity to the N20 (Limerick-Cork), Kilmallock is bisected by the R515 regional road, linking to Charleville and Tipperary, and by the R512, linking to Fermoy and Limerick.  It can also be accessed from Bruree by the R518.  The town is set in the valley of the River Loobagh, an area of natural beauty, and the original settlement would have been located between the river and a lake (Ash Hill). The Ballyhoura and Galtee mountain ranges are to the south and east of the town. Large tracts of flat agricultural land lie to the west. It is evident that the town occupied a strategic location, guarding the passes between the mountains and as a communications centre between Cork and Limerick in the past.



Kilmallock’s geographic location is central to a productive farming district and the town performs essential functions as a market, service and employment centre for the southern part of the county. The town has a good range of community services that include churches, schools, shops, library, theatre, post office and pubs. There is a strong commercial and professional presence in the town with banks, business advisory services, accounting, mart, Garda station, veterinary services, community care clinics, insurance services and the Kilmallock Business Park.  Education provided in the town includes pre-school to post-leaving cert level.  Kilmallock is within commuting distance of a number of urban centres including Limerick, Cork, Tipperary, Mitchelstown, Charleville and Mallow. The town is also in close proximity to Lough Gur, a major recreational resource in County Limerick and one of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites. Lough Gur and Kilmallock form part of the ‘Tourism Cluster’ envisaged in the Ballyhoura Strategy for South-East County Limerick. Administrative services in the town include the District Court, the Cappamore-Kilmallock Municipal District office, Teagasc and an Intreo Centre/social welfare regional office.


Kilmallock’s role within the Limerick Settlement Strategy

Kilmallock is a key service centre for South Limerick in the Limerick County Development Plan(CDP) 2010 – 2016 (as extended). The CPD establishes a settlement hierarchy of towns and villages in County Limerick, providing for planned expansion of settlements in the interest of proper planning and sustainability.  The hierarchy considers Kilmallock’s level of public services and facilities, population, infrastructure, function and locational importance on par with Newcastle West in West Limerick as a Tier 2 settlement.  The policies and objectives of the CDP promote the sustainable, appropriate sequential development of the town and the prevention of urban sprawl.  The CDP commits to ensuring there is sufficient land zoned in Kilmallock to enable the town to act as the primary focus for investment in infrastructure, housing, transport, employment, education, shopping, health and community facilities.[2] The development plan review will commence after the adoption of the RSES for the Southern Region.


1.8 A brief socio-economic profile of Kilmallock 


Population, age profile and nationality

Kilmallock town and its rural hinterland has experienced continuous population growth since the 1996 Census.  Refer to Table 1.1 and Figure 1.2 below.  Census 2016 shows that the town of Kilmallock recorded a population of 1,668. This represents an increase of 2% (33 persons) since Census 2011, which was higher than the county average (1.6%), but lower than the national average of 3.8% (Table 1. 2).  Over the 10 year period 1996 – 2016, the town increased by 437 people representing 35% growth, and the rural ED increased by 336 people representing a 16% population increase.


Table 1.1: Census population and percentage change for the Kilmallock Town and Kilmallock Rural EDs 1991 – 2016

Kilmallock Town

Kilmallock Rural ED




Population change %


Population change %































Figure 1.2: Population Growth

Source: CSO Census 1991 - 2016


Table 1.2: Comparative population growth of Kilmallock town 2011-2016 with Limerick and the State




2016 (Number)

Actual Change 2011-2016

% Change 2011-2016
















Source: CSO Census 2016


Kilmallock has a young population with 22.6% of the population under 15 years.  Refer to Table 1.3 below and Figure 1.3.   Eleven percent of Kilmallock’s population is aged 15-24 years, which is lower than both the average for Limerick and the State. Similarly, the 25-64 age cohort (50.4%) is below the County and State averages. However, at the other end of the lifecycle  15.9%, of the population aged 65 years.  Between the 2011 Census and 2016, the 65+ age cohort increased by 3.65% or 200 people.  As with predicated national trends, the 65+ age group in Kilmallock is expected to continue to increase.


Table 1.3: Comparative population profile of Kilmallock town 2016 with Limerick and State


Under 15 Years

15-24 years

25-64 years

65 years and over
















Source: CSO Census 2016


Figure 1.3: Age Profile



Census 2016 shows that just over 90% of the population are of Irish nationality, which is higher than both the county average (89%) and the national average (87%). Of the non-Irish national population, Polish nationals account for the largest proportion at 4.4% followed by UK nationals (2%). This is considerably higher than the overall Limerick figures with Polish nationals accounting for 2.9% of the population, which is similar to the national trend (2.6%).


Education, Labour Force and Commuting

Education attainment effects employment opportunities.  Nineteen percent of the 15 years + cohort whose education has ceased have only primary level or no formal education. This low attainment level is considerably higher than Limerick County and State levels.  Refer to Table 1.4. Twenty one percent of 15 years + did not progress beyond lower secondary level which exceeds both the average for Limerick at 17% and the State at 15%.  In terms of third level education, Kilmallock (22.7%) falls considerably below the county (38.5%) and State average (42%). 


Table 1.4: Education Attainment (percentage) 2016 Census


Primary/No Formal Education

Lower Secondary

Upper Secondary

Third Level Qualification
















Source: CSO Census 2016


Census 2016 shows that the unemployment rate in Kilmallock was 22.5%, which is considerably higher than the unemployment rate for the county (14.4%) and State (12.9%) at the time.  

The labour force participation rate of the population age 15 years + is 55%, which is lower the county average (58%) and national average (61.4%). The lower level of educational attainment in the town impacts the overall labour market performance. The key sector for employment in Kilmallock is Commerce and Trade (24.7%), followed by Manufacturing Industries (17.8%). Refer to Figure 1.4 below. 


Figure 1.4: Number of persons at work by industry and sex, 2016

Source: CSO Census of Population


The 2016 Census records 546 people commuting into Kilmallock for work, contributing to a daytime working population of 722 in the town.  Forty two percent of the town’s active labour force participants travel outside the town for employment. 


Fifty Eight Percent of the population in Kilmallock have a commuting time of 15 minutes or less to school, college or work, and 74.1% have a commuting time of 30 minutes or less. Refer to Table 1.5 below.  This compares very favourably to the county average (37.9%) and the national average (34.9%) for commute times of less than 15 minutes. The main mode of transport is by car or van (60.9%), while 33.7% walk or use a bicycle. The numbers walking/cycling to work, school or college in Kilmallock is significantly higher than both the county (16.7%) and national averages (17.4%) which reflects the compact nature of the town.


Table 1.5: Commute Times 2016 Census

Time - minutes

Under 15

15 – 3

30 – 45

45  – 60

60 - 90























Source: CSO Census 2016


Housing Tenure

According to the 2016 Census, 59.9% of households in the Kilmallock are owner occupied.  In 2011, 60.8% of households were owner occupied.  Households rented from the Council accounted for 20% in 2016, which was an increase of 1.31% on the 2011 Census (18.69%).  Households rented from the private sector account for 18% of the households in the town, which was an increase of 0.72% on the 2011 Census figure.  One and two person households accounted for 60% of total household in 2016 which is a slight increase on 59% of the 2011 Census.


1.9 Evaluation of the 2009 Kilmallock LAP and SWOT Analysis of the town

The goal of the 2009 LAP was:

To conserve and enhance the unique historic aspects of Kilmallock to give a quality environment for the continued benefit of the local community and visitors; and To realise the potential contribution of tourism and leisure to the economy of Kilmallock, building on the role of the town both as a destination in its own right and also as the regional tourism hub of south-east County Limerick.

In addition, the town should continue to develop as a good place to live, with high quality housing meeting local needs and with a good quality of life, and where leisure and recreational activities are available to all. [3]


The 2009 LAP was extended in 2014 for a period of 5 years, having regard to the downturn in the national economy.  As the Local Area Plan vision for Kilmallock was determined ten years ago, it is considered necessary to revise the vision and goals for the town, as informed by national policy and guidance since 2009, and the progress of the town in the intervening period.  


Critical elements of the Town Wall Conservation and Management Plan (2009), and the Public Realm Plan were incorporated into the 2009 LAP.  Since the adoption of the 2009 LAP there has been ongoing progress in relation to the conservation of the town wall and associated public realm, including the walkway by the West Wall.  


Since the adoption of the 2009 Kilmallock LAP, there has been significant public investment in the town.  The Council has used its own resources, including monies from the Development Contribution Scheme [4]  with matching funding from other agencies such as central government departments and the Heritage Council through its Irish Walled Town Network(IWTN) programme, Leader, and Town & Village Renewal programme to develop and enhance Kilmallock.  Some of the investments include:

  • upgrading of the Kilmallock Fire Station in 2010
  • ongoing stabilisation works on the Kilmallock Town Wall,
  • the award winning upgrading works to the Kilmallock wastewater treatment plant 
  • the new footbridge and riverside walk,
  • the West Wall Walk, through the IWNT, and the REDZ programme, 
  • the feasibility study into the viability of refurbishment and reuse of the Merchant’s House, and
  • provision of off-street parking. 


Other investment evident in the town includes the redevelopment of the primary school and an extension to the secondary school, the refurbishment of the further education campus, and private investment into the retail experience in the town and a primary healthcare centre.  Ballyhoura Development Ltd refurbished the Coote Memorial Hall to provide a community resource centre.  The local community continue to invest their resources and volunteerism into community development in the town such as the planting of the urban park and other Tidy Town initiatives. The Council’s 2019 budget has allocated funding to progress the Merchant House project as an interpretative/tourism/civic culture hub, and works to the East Wall Walk.


Kilmallock is diverse in character and offers an abundance of opportunities for the future development of the town.  However, as with all settlements there are also challenges which may hinder the competitiveness of the town as a desirable place to live, work in, and visit. Some of these are considered in the SWOT analysis below.



  • Public investment since the adoption of the 2009 LAP including infrastructure, education, recreation and built heritage;
  • Population growth in the town since 1996;
  • Strong performing hinterland with population growth, strong agricultural base supporting employment in the town;
  • Strong historic, heritage and cultural assets, and very strong sense of place and identity;
  • Distinctive archaeological and built heritage including medieval, Edwardian, Victorian architecture and  contemporary architecture at library and civic offices; 
  • Location of the town on the River Loobagh, in rich agricultural hinterland, close to the Ballyhoura mountain range and Lough Gur;
  • A wide range of services eg. Fire Service, Teagasc offices,  public library, HSE clinics/care centre, hotel, retail, commercial and professional services, Court Service, mart, education campus, schools, childcare, Garda station;
  • A range of businesses operating in the town including distribution/logistics, engineering, food processing and animal feed processing; 
  • Strong community structures and  collaborative engagement and interest in local development;
  • Local development company – Ballyhoura Development Ltd presence in the town;
  • Recognised as a tourism hub in Ballyhoura East Limerick region, branding as part of the Munster Vales tourism destination and Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way; and
  • Hotel accommodation in the town.


  • Uncertainty regarding funding opportunities for public and voluntary initiatives, changing economic cycles and changing government priorities;
  • Traffic congestion and the movement of HGVs through the town;
  • Vacancy, under-used brownfield sites and dereliction; 
  • Competitive disadvantage due to poor broadband capacity;
  • Relatively low educational attainment in the town effecting employment opportunities and competitiveness to attract new investment to locate modern industry e.g. ICT , agri-tech to the town;
  • Relatively high unemployment rate in the town including youth employment; and
  • Lack of retail variety in the town and proximity to larger urban centres such as Charleville and Mitchelstown.


  • Economic and employment potential of  the town and its rural hinterland, skills development and training potential and the presence of post leaving cert training opportunities in the town;
  • Unique built heritage, the setting of the town by the River Loobagh, sensitive management of historic walls and Dominican Priory offering recreation and improved pedestrian/cycleway movement around the town, unitque townscape, survival of medieval burgage plots;
  • Tourism potential of the town and innovative ideas such as cycling hub;
  • Local entrepreneurship;
  • Presence of a business park on edge of town;
  • Opportunities to build on partnerships and joint brand approach to development of the town; 
  • Under-use of historic built heritage assets  and re-purposing opportunities for older buildings;
  • Proximity to the N20  Cork- Limerick national road; and
  • Closed railway station on the Dublin – Cork intercity rail route to south of the town


  • Absentee landowners, title issues, under-used properties contributing to vacancy and dereliction;
  • Modern materials used to repair/restore older structures causing extensive historical fabric/material damage;
  • Availability of funding, political and economic climates determining access to funds;
  • Impact of Brexit in business, considering the strong agricultural base of economic activity in the town, and tourism;
  • Modern trends of e-commerce and changing retail demands, and proximity to other centres with greater retail choice such as Charleville; Limerick, Mitchelstown, Mallow and Cork
  • Climate change


  • [1] - Refer to
  • [2] - Limerick County Development Plan 2010 – 2016 as extended, Volume 1 Written Statement, Section 3.5.2 Tier 2 Key Towns, page 3-8
  • [3] - Kilmallock Local Area Plan 2009 – 2015 (as extended)
  • [4] - Development contributions were introduced in 2000 under planning legislation to empower local authorities to require payment of a financial contribution as a condition of a planning permission. Since their introduction they have assisted in the delivery of much needed investment in essential infrastructure matching funding with central exchequer and local authority own resources. Refer to Development Contribution Guidelines for Planning Authorities, 2013 on