President of Limerick Chamber has swipe at local agencies

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THE outgoing Limerick Chamber president has indicated agencies like Shannon Development and local enterprise creation agencies are “past their sell-by date”.

THE outgoing Limerick Chamber president has indicated agencies like Shannon Development and local enterprise creation agencies are “past their sell-by date”.

At the final meeting of his two year presidency of the business group, held in O’Connell Street’s National Franchise Centre on Tuesday, the former Avocent chief executive Kieran MacSweeney called for the creation of a masterplan to make Limerick the location of choice “to live, work and socialise” in the region.

But in a thinly veiled attack on the current agencies - including the enterprise boards and Shannon Development, whose role remains under investigation - Mr MacSweeney said: “To make this happen, we need the courage, foresight and conviction; to put the best interests of the city ahead of the selfish protection of the status quo. This will include some radical reform, even of institutions which were real drivers in another area but that, although well-intentioned are past their sell-by date today, and not necessarily giving Limerick and the Mid-West region the competitive edge it needs and deserves in these most challenging of times.”

He said responsibility for this masterplan should be tasked to a single economic and enterprise development agency within the new unitary authority to be founded in 2014.

This would include holding the IDA and Enterprise Ireland accountable for specific job creation targets for Limerick City, he added.

Mr MacSweeney - one of the most outspoken Chamber presidents in recent years - admitted he is still disappointed by Limerick’s plight - but remains optimistic for its future.

“Limerick City is, regrettably still a commercial black spot