Historic shake-up of Limerick councils receives split reactions

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THE BIGGEST change to Limerick’s local government make-up in more than 50 years has received a warm welcome across the county, but was largely greeted with anger and disappointment in the city.

THE BIGGEST change to Limerick’s local government make-up in more than 50 years has received a warm welcome across the county, but was largely greeted with anger and disappointment in the city.

There were angry reactions in the city this week as plans to abolish the two authorities, and to cut the number of councillors, hit home.

The Cabinet formally approved proposals on Tuesday to abolish Limerick’s City and County Councils, and replace them with a single authority - a plan exclusively revealed by the Limerick Leader some two weeks ago.

And in a further change, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn this Wednesday confirmed the Vocational Education Committees in Limerick City, Limerick County and Co Clare would be merged into just one regional grouping.

The changes to local governance means Limerick is the first region in all of Ireland to see its authorities amalgamated. More are expected to follow suit.

From the local elections in 2014, Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council will wind up, and be replaced with a new unitary authority covering a population of more than 184,000 people.

But the Clare estates of Shannon Banks and Westbury will not be subject to the far reaching reforms.

And it has been confirmed the northern part of the UL campus will remain in Co Clare - despite claims to the contrary from some quarters.

The far reaching reforms will see the abolition of the office of Cathaoirleach, which dates back to 1899. However, the position of Mayor of Limerick will remain.

SEE THE LIMERICK LEADER WEEKEND EDITIONS FOR FULL REACTION FROM THE CITY AND COUNTY