THE director of the Limerick Reorganisation Implementation Group believes that City Hall should be the corporate headquarters of the amalgamated local authorities.
Tom Enright, head of one of the two bodies tasked with overseeing the reorganisation of Limerick city and county councils, said it was his personal view that the headquarters should be in City Hall but stopped short of indicating where monthly council meetings will be held when the authorities are joined in 2014.
“Certainly there will be a sharing of services between both city and county hall, but I think the corporate headquarters should be in City Hall because that is the centre of the new authority, the centre of Limerick, and put the focus on the city centre again and hopefully bring more footfall and people to the city,” said Mr Enright.
With regard to monthly meetings of councillors - which will also be amalgamated after the local elections in June 2014, he said: “It depends, it could be every alternative, I don’t know, that is something that has to be worked out yet”.
“When the new authority is established the accommodation would have to be modified in one or both locations to accommodate the larger meetings that would be required,” he noted.
Mr Enright said that he believed the new ‘super manager’ of both authorities, Conn Murray, who began work this week, would “hit the ground running with getting things done, and will also be there to make decisions”.
“We are getting to the stage where decisions need to be made, you need one manager in charge of both authorities to make decisions in relation to bringing the authorities together,” he explained. “But a lot of work has been done, you will see that this autumn with the implementation plan and you will see tangible signs of the amalgamation of the two authorities toward the end of the year and early next year.”
The director of service in Limerick County Council said that there was “a lot of work going on behind the scenes” and disagreed with the notion of rising tensions between city and county councillors.
“I think that where you bring in significant change, such as what is happening here and this is the first big change in local government in Limerick since 1898, it is a huge change and people are fearful of that, people are concerned but there are a lot of benefits with this change, it is going to help Limerick, give one voice for Limerick,” he said.
“I think most of those issues can be and will be addressed, once we come out with the detail of what is happening.”