At the Capital Limerick event were Pat Cox, Jim Power, Niamh Briggs, Clair Hayes, founder Capital Limerick, Cathy Halloran, Paul Quigley and Joe Little | Picture: Sean Curtin
ECONOMIST Jim Power believes that, with congestion becoming a major issue in Dublin, Limerick and the Mid-West has an opportunity to create an environment where people want to live and work, and where employers want to create jobs.
“I believe that Limerick ticks many of the necessary boxes, particularly the strong third level education offering and air connectivity," he said speaking at a major fundraising lunch in Dublin organised by Capital Limerick
“A motorway from Limerick to Cork is the most glaring deficiency. Limerick has made massive progress over the past decade and the decade ahead promises much more. Limerick can become the engine of a vibrant city region, provided policy continues to move ahead on its current trajectory,” he explained.
Other speakers included RTE reporter Joe Little, along with former European Parliament president, fellow Limerickman Pat Cox, at the meeting of high-profile business and media people at Dublin’s Intercontinental Hotel.
Established by Shannonside solicitor Clair Hayes, Capital Limerick was set up to create an influential and co-ordinated presence in Dublin to advocate for the Mid-West’s only city.
More than 250 people were at the group’s third major event, debating the theme of Unlocking Regional Growth.
Mr Little said Limerick’s rich history in the educational fields will see it move forward in future. Limerick can be the bulwark in building a “post-recession society” similar to those imagined in 1930s America.
Mr Little added: “Limerick because of its sociological and political instincts, because of its confidence, has developed new models certainly in education and learning. The next step is in terms of building a post-recession society. A ‘new deal’ society of the kind spoken of in the 1930s. We need to create a model city and model region where you are going to pioneer social initiatives for fairer housing policies, more integrated and environmentally friendly living spaces.”
Pat Cox said Limerick can write the narrative of a 21st century city with all the best qualities of that. This is to do with the living cities initiative and not a donut holding it back. It’s to do with a city with the best modern standards.”
At the event, Mr Cox also highlighted several advantages of the Mid-West compared with the pressures “inside the M50” and said that the net impact of Brexit on the Irish economy would be negative, with the most vulnerable sector being agriculture and food, and the most vulnerable firms those heavily dependent on Britain, especially the small business sector.
Citing financial services as the likely most positive flow from Brexit, he said that “Limerick can offer accessibility through Shannon, availability of top class office space, affordability in housing compared to inside the M50, a wide variety of cultural, sporting and leisure opportunities and a feedstock of skills from its higher education establishments”.
Also Mr Little paid tribute to the moral and material support that the people of Limerick, especially the communities of Janesboro and Southhill, had given to Tracey Corbett and her husband, David Lynch, in the traumatic period following the murder of her brother Jason in North Carolina.
Capital Limerick founder Ms Hayes said that there is a “golden opportunity” to unlock regional growth in Ireland.
Proceeds from the lunch, backed by the Limerick Chamber, FRS Recruitment, Shannon Group and others, will be invested in worthy community and charitable programmes in the Mid-West.