THE future of Limerick is in its people’s hands - and it is time for the fightback to begin.
That is the message coming out of a brand new initiative which kicked off this Monday night in Limerick City.
Inspired by the RTE Show ‘Local Heroes - a Town Fights Back’ which featured Drogheda, Limerick now has its own scheme.
After watching the show, a small group of people started using Twitter to explore the possibility of having a similar show come to Limerick.
Fast forward just three months, and around 400 people attended the inaugural rally at the Strand Hotel.
A wide range of exciting ideas and visions for Limerick’s future have been presented at the public meeting, including making Limerick a food mecca, as well as providing sustainable jobs for the city, and retail rejuvenation.
RTE camera crews were there to pick up all the action, with the forum set to form part of a show in the coming months.
The newly formed Local Heroes Group is a community driven, not-for-profit initiative which aims to energise city people from all walks of life to create new and sustainable jobs in order to get the city moving again.
Moderated by RTE broadcaster and producer Aonghus McAnally, the event saw inspirational speeches from Mark Quinn, the successful Mount Everest Climber, as well as John Loftus, managing director of successful city firm Thomond Asset Management.
Both men have overcome various challenges to be successful today.
There were numerous and varied contributions from the floor, ranging from ideas for retail rejuvenation, to increased cultural promotion to creating a legacy event for the city.
Tony Frawley, spokesperson for the steering group, said: “Working together to create jobs in communities is the first goal. We need to be proud of Limerick again, we need to stand up and be proud: we are the capital of the Mid-West and should be very proud to tell people that.”
Following Monday’s forum, there will be an ideas summit in Thomond Park on February 13 where some of the ideas raised will be discussed in greater depth.
Those in attendance included LIT president Dr Maria Hinfelaar, Apprentice star Maurice O’Callaghan, rugby star Jerry Flannery, and many city business people.
Minister Jan O’Sullivan said: “There are so many elements of Limerick life here. It is a great idea, and what is important is that people have their say tonight, and those things are challenged to make a difference.”
The steering group behind the not-for-profit initiative is made up of individuals from a variety of sectors including education, technology, and the media.