THERE was standing room only at City Hall as the last permanent manager Limerick City will ever have marked his retirement.
More than 150 people, including former mayors and council staff packed Limerick City Council’s chamber to bid farewell to Tom Mackey, who has retired as City Manager after nine years of service.
These included former Fianna Fail councillor John Cronin, who was mayor when Mr Mackey first took the job in Limerick, while Canon Donough O’Malley represented the Limerick Diocese.
His proud wife Angela, and children Eadaoin and Cian watched on as councillors and officials heaped praise on the Waterford man’s achievements since coming to Limerick.
Describing him as a “caring manager”, Mayor Jim Long added: “You have demonstrated that elected members are partners in the administration you headed. Your door was open to all members and staff at all times: that is very much appreciated by all. Your priority for Limerick City and its people will, in the future, stand as a testament to what a cohesive and collaborative administration you left.”
Fine Gael’s leader Diarmuid Scully praised Mr Mackey for bringing the city council’s finances from being €17m in overdraft to what now represents a “double A rating”. He said that if Ireland were run as Limerick City Council was, there would be no need for an IMF bailout.
Several other councillors paid tribute to Mr Mackey, while Kieran Lehane, who will temporarily take charge at City Hall, provided a poetic tribute to the outgoing manager.
In response, Mr Mackey said he felt “privileged” to be the manager of the city for nine years, adding that he will be sad to leave, but looking forward to the future with optimism. He ended his speech by referring to Ivy Baker Priest, who worked under US President Dwight Eisenhower: “The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.” He was given a standing ovation, and a number of gifts to mark his retirment.