THE architect of the Limerick 2030 economic renewal scheme is to leave City and County Council after securing the job of Wexford County Council boss.
Tom Enright has spearheaded the €250m project, which it is anticipated could deliver up to 5,000 jobs to the city and county.
But he will leave the local authority at the end of February after being headhunted for the position in Wexford.
A native of neighbouring Co Waterford, Mr Enright has worked in planning at Limerick County Council for the majority of the last 20 years.
When Conn Murray became Limerick’s first joint authority manager, he appointed Mr Enright to head up the economic division of the local authority.
In that time, he has worked with GVA consultants to deliver the ambitious plan, which will provide for a major transformation of the city’s streetscape.
The bulk of the scheme is expected to be completed over the next five years, and work has already begun on a number of projects, including the provision of car parking inside the Opera Centre site, as well as the location of some functions on Patrick Street.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Mr Enright said he had turned down other high-profile positions in local government to see the 2030 plan through to its publication.
Confirming his departure, he said: “I am happy with the progress and momentum behind it, so it is probably not a bad time to step away.”
He promised to keep an eye on the plan from Wexford.
There has been disappointment at the decision, but hopes remain high that the Limerick 2030 plan will remain on track.
Helen O’Donnell of the Limerick City Business Association admitted that as a group they are “disappointed and upset”.
“We enjoyed a really good working relationship with Tom Enright, and the economic department. The plan is at an early stage, but we completely understand that people are going to move around in local authorities. It is unfortunate: but I am delighted for him and his family he has been made manager of a county like Wexford, which I think will be a new challenge for him.”
She said the departure will not affect the progress of the plan.
“This plan is bigger than any one individual. It will proceed. Conn Murray will be the ultimate driver, and I have no worries about it,” she added.
Cathaoirleach John Sheahan said Mr Enright’s departure is a “big loss” to the local authority.
“Personally, I am delighted that Tom is going up the ladder where he knew he would be going.
But he was the fulcrum of the economic and development section of City and County Council for the last 18 months, and the fruits of his labour were starting to come to bear, so it is
unfortunate timing,” Cllr Sheahan said.
However, he said he had already spoken with council CEO Conn Murray and he is confident the progress of the urban renewal plan will not be slowed.
Mayor Kathleen Leddin expressed similar sentiments, saying: “Obviously I am very sorry to see him go. But I am sure he will leave [the plan] in order for whoever comes after him.”