Jim Long is elected Mayor of Limerick

AFTER months of speculation, Fine Gael’s Jim Long achieved his “childhood dream” as he was elected the 815th Mayor of Limerick last night.

AFTER months of speculation, Fine Gael’s Jim Long achieved his “childhood dream” as he was elected the 815th Mayor of Limerick last night.

AFTER months of speculation, Fine Gael’s Jim Long achieved his “childhood dream” as he was elected the 815th Mayor of Limerick last night.

There had been mystery and intrigue over where the city’s first citizenship would be going right up until the 11th hour, as Cllr Kevin Kiely indicated he was ready to do a deal with the Labour/Independent/Sinn Fein/Fianna Fail bloc to secure the mayoralty for himself. But in a packed council chamber, an emotional Cllr Jim Long was elected unopposed, after being proposed by Cllr Diarmuid Scully and seconded by Cllr Kiely.

In his victory speech, Cllr Long promised to set up a youth forum for the under 18s to discuss their needs, and concerns. He also wants to set up a round table forum which will bring City Hall “closer to local communities, residents and the very strong local sporting clubs”.

This forum will consist of the Mayor, city manager Tom Mackey, garda chief superintendent Dave Sheahan, regeneration chief Brendan Kenny and representatives of the HSE, Cllr Long said.

The new Mayor also said it is a “key priority” to promote the city centre which is facing unprecedented economic problems.

Mayor Long also used his opening speech to appeal to Local Government Minister Phil Hogan not to amalgamate Limerick’s two local authorities.

“After nearly 1,000 years, we are still fighting for what is rightly ours: a proud, medieval, historic battle-ridden city.

Even at this very late hour, I am appealing to the powers that be to show courage on Limerick’s future, do not use a fancy Parker pen to cross out what our forefathers dearly fought and died for, the walls of Limerick City are still standing, the people of Limerick City are still standing, do not take out feet from under us.

Limerick City stands shoulder high when competing with the very best that Ireland, Europe and the world has to offer, and long may it last,” he said to cheers from the gallery.