Hopes high that new authority base is in Limerick city centre

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THE man appointed to oversee the merger of services between city and county has said he hopes the new authority’s “Corporate headquarters” will be in the centre.

THE man appointed to oversee the merger of services between city and county has said he hopes the new authority’s “Corporate headquarters” will be in the centre.

For a number of weeks, councillors have been discussing whether County Hall in Dooradoyle or City Hall in Merchant’s Quay will be the centre point of the new local authority.

But this week, Tom Enright has come out in support of plans to have the major parts of the council in the city area.

He said: “One of the things we are giving very close attention to is revitalising the city centre as part of the new authority. This will be one of the priorities of the new authority. City Hall has to be the main office of the new authority. We have to decide what the most appropriate services that would fit into City Hall. My personal view is that the services which have the greatest interaction with the public should be located in the centre, so the corporate headquarters should be located in the centre of the city, where there is greater footfall.”

Southside councillor Diarmuid Scully said that come the time of the merger, it is key there are more staff working at City Hall than in County Hall.

“There is general agreement from everybody that from a management perspective, City Hall has to be the headquarters. It means the majority of staff from the local authority needs to be in the City Hall. We need to wind up with more staff working at City Hall than there are in the country. There needs to be an increase in jobs in the city centre,” he explained.

Elsewhere, Mr Enright admitted there could be some “rationalisation” of area offices across Co Limerick.

However, he said a decision is unlikely to be made until the make-up of the new council is known, expected to be later this year.

At present, Limerick County Council has area offices in Kilmallock, Annacotty, Croom, Mungret and Rathkeale.

These have a variety of functions, including maintenance and storage facilities. A number of staff provide local services out of these offices. They become very important during times of inclement weather when supplies are needed quickly to make roads and footpaths safe.

It is expected a larger office in Newcastle West will remain whatever happens to the others.

This office serves the west of the county and is the only office aside from Dooradoyle where the public can address motor tax payments, and other ancillary services.