New ‘super-manager’ for the merged local authority sees ‘huge opportunities’

THE man appointed to head up the new Limerick authority says he sees “huge opportunities” for the county to develop as the “driving force in the region.”

THE man appointed to head up the new Limerick authority says he sees “huge opportunities” for the county to develop as the “driving force in the region.”

Conn Murray was this week named as the first ever joint manager of Limerick City and County.

The current Louth boss has been chosen as Limerick’s new ‘supermanager’ follow-ing a competition organised by the public appointments board.

He will come to Limerick in late August or early September, and will manage both City Council and County Council until they merge in 2014. Then, he will effectively become Limerick’s chief executive. Mr Murray said his key goal will be to regenerate the city centre.

He added: “I would anticipate a lot of my time initially will be spent on promoting economic development and ensuring the local authorities support a positive business environment.”

The Meath native worked at City Hall for seven years during the 1990s and early 2000s, as assistant town clerk, then director of services. He also managed Waterford City.

Cllr Jerome Scanlan, expected to become Cathaoirleach on Friday, said he hopes Mr Murray gives equal priority to the rural area.

“The city has been allowed to decline, but we have also had rural decline. The needs of these communities must be taken into account. Most of our villages have no shops. There has to be a balance, and the interests of the county – keeping people at work locally – is crucial,” he said, adding that he will be emphasising this to Mr Murray.

Labour councillor Tomas Hannon added: “He comes with experience from an urban and rural point of view. Hopefully he will put a strong team around him, “ he said.

Former Fianna Fail councillor John Cronin was mayor when Mr Murray was last in Limerick. He said: “It is all the better for Limerick. He has a personal love for the city, and he will do what is right for us. He had a great affinity with the people of Limerick.” Councillors will formally ratify Mr Murray – who will earn €153,260 annually – shortly.