SOUTHSIDE councillor Orla McLoughlin urged city officials to do all they can to bring Marks & Spencer into the city â€“ because â€œit has a certain je ne sais quoiâ€.
She also admitted she has a soft spot for the lingerie section in the popular chain.
During a debate on the much-talked about issue at this monthâ€™s City Council meeting, Cllr McLoughlin disagreed with Cllr John Gilliganâ€™s protests that bringing the British retailer into the city would be â€œeconomic suicideâ€.
In a passionate contribution to the meeting, Cllr McLoughlin said: â€œWe should do everything we can to bring Marks & Spencer into town. I am a lady. I like clothes in all shops. In particular I like the lingerie section in Marks & Spencer. It has a certain je ne sais quoi.â€
In response, Mayor Gerry McLoughlin, her father, laughed.
Agreeing with his daughter, Mayor Gerry said: â€œBut you will have to explain to me what je ne sai quoi means, Orla.â€
Translated literally from French, je ne sais quoi means â€˜I donâ€™t know whatâ€™ or can also taken as meaning â€œindescribable attractive attribute or quality; â€˜a certain somethingâ€™.
One person who believes he knows what Marks and Spencer is about is Independent city east councillor Gilligan.
He thinks city people have a misguided perception that Marks & Spencer will become the saviour of the city.
â€œPeople just hope Marks & Spencer would ride in like a white horse. Given the prices they are asking for, it will not happen,â€ said Cllr Gilligan.
He claimed Marks & Spencer â€œwill want to come in and have us build their store for nothing. Then they will not expect to pay rates for 10 years.â€
â€œThis is not fair competition â€“ this is economic suicide,â€ he added, pointing out that the chain would also force smaller shops out of business.
At the same time as Marks & Spencer would grow and not pay rates, smaller customers would be forced into doing so.
Marks & Spencer has long been linked with a move into Limerick city centre.
While the company remains interested in setting up its 22nd Irish store in Limerick, in January it said there was no news at present.
City Council wants the chain in the urban area, while Parkway Valley developer Suneil Sharma is believed to want the chain as the flagship in his development.
But the shop would most likely seek at least five years free rent in return, and then pay only a nominal amount thereafter.