THE new manager of Limerick ciy and county councils Conn Murray has said he has three goals as he takes on the role of merging the two authorities.
The former Louth county manager says the first of his targets is to successfully merge the City Council and County Council.
Secondly, he is looking for stimulated economic development and job creation, and thirdly, to empower citizens.
Speaking at a business breakfast to mark the Clarion Hotel’s 10th birthday, one of his first public engagements, Mr Murray said it is important that people must no longer think about the boundary which separates city and county - but instead focus on an urban area of 100,000 people.
“Merging two individual and very distinct organisations is one of the most significant challenges. It is my intent to build a new organisation which has at its heart, the principles of partnership, participation and innovation. The new organisation will be pro-active, practical, accessible and have a commitment to operational excellence,” Mr Murray told the Clarion audience.
He said he is looking to create a new Limerick, “that demonstrates a commitment to quality, accessibility and attention to detail”.
“The city centre must again become vibrant, attractive and a safe location in which to meet and do business,” he said.
Mr Murray also revealed that a new director for economic development is being appointed to help stimulate investment and job creation.
He hopes the appointment will be made in the next two weeks.
The manager also indicated that he will bring forward major development plans which will benefit the city – as well as using compulsory purchase order laws “to ensure appropriate and acceptable plans can be advanced with some level of pace.”
On regeneration, he promised that there will be a programme of works before the end of the year to give residents of the estates a new sense of confidence.
“I met with the communities in the last week. I was heartened by their positive attitude on what is happening on the ground. But having said that, there is a considerable body of work to regain their confidence. There will be a programme of works by year end to show what will happen, where it will happen and when it will happen,” he said.
He promised to pursue job creation on the city’s northside and southside estates, noting: “If we do not give people the capacity to participate, we will not resolve the problems out there.
Mr Murray had a spell as the town clerk in Limerick in the late 1990s.
He recalled how giving planning permission for the Clarion Hotel in was initially a controversial decision in 1997. “It became the icon of Limerick,” he said.
He concluded his speech with a call to arms.
“Some of you may consider what I am saying to be a bit of a dream; perhaps in time you may be proven to be true. However, I ask of you: have the courage to not knock the dream. Have the courage to walk with us and make the dream become a reality,” Mr Murray said.