Change the record and we'll take city forward

Nigel Dugdale


Nigel Dugdale

Change the record and we'll take city forward

Professor Lisa O'Malley addressing the seminar at the Hunt Museum titled Reimagining and Rejuvenating Limerick City Centre

PLUS ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The words of Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in an 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes.

Literally translating to “The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing,” this was a phrase that came to mind as I sat at a gathering of city centre businesspeople last week in the Hunt Museum.

Organised by Limerick Chamber the event was entitled ‘Reimagining and rejuvenating Limerick City Centre’ and was an opportunity for city centre business leaders and stakeholders to have their say on where our city is going.

Attending events similar to these over the past seven years one can see a trend emerging. The same issues are raised. 

City centre safety and security, parking, events, footfall and the lack of quality new retail openings are top of the agenda.

It was disappointing to see  the latest of these meetings last week resulted in a headline highlighting the need for a new Garda kiosk and the fact that we have “feral” children causing havoc in our city centre.

The duty of the media is to report the facts to the public. The facts that emerged from last week’s public gathering were that city centre stakeholders continue to see certain issues as barriers to entry to our city centre.

My experience of the city is totally at odds with much that was highlighted last week. 

I choose to live in the city centre. I have yet to experience one moment of intimidation by day or by night. Any urban environment will always have some form of unwanted element in its mix. Limerick is by no means a perfect city but if I was to listen to much of what was said last week I would be forgiven for thinking I was living in a city on its knees.

Recent years have seen a fundamental mindshift with regards to how our city is perceived internally and externally. 

I recently met the head of a new business which is based in city who informed me of the number of Limerick people who have now returned home to work for him. They openly comment on the new energy our city now exudes.

I am not a businessperson. I don’t have a till and I don’t rely on footfall to earn a crust.

However, I try to advocate a positive approach to how I speak about my city. It seems to me that others consistently seem to want to raise the same old issues instead of proposing innovative, creative ways of putting our city on the map.

I believe now is a perfect time for looking to our younger population to provide new ways of looking at how we reinvent our city. 

The future will be about urban living. With urban living comes dynamic, community-led environments that cater for the needs of its citizens  day and  night.

I hope action will come from the meeting. I hope not to attend another gathering where I feel like the proverbial dog chasing its tail. I hope creativity and the input of our young population can be placed higher on the agenda going forward.


Cook Medical’s 20 great years

Cook Medical is celebrating 20 years of operations in the National Technology Park.

The business has grown from a primary team of less than a dozen people to a staff of over 800, who are designing and delivering life-changing devices every day.

The original greenfield plot was established as a small-scale manufacturing and technology transfer site. 

After undergoing two expansions, it has become a hub for global research and developemnt  projects.

It is also a centre for  business development at the Innovation Centre and the Europe Shared Service Centre respectively. 

The site now supports 600 sales representatives and clinical product specialists across Europe; and our distribution teams throughout Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Bill Doherty, executive vice president of EMEA and Cook Ireland’s first employee, said, “We are delighted to be marking 20 years of successful business in Limerick. It has been an extraordinary journey. 

“We want to ensure the company’s future as a preferred employer in the Shannon region and as a hub for the Cook Medical’s global operations.”


Fire service blazes Boston trail

Some 15 years after it last marched in the US for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, an 18-strong team of Police Fire Service from Shannon Airport marched in the second largest parade in the US, the Boston Parade on Sunday. 

The event will have providided a huge promotional opportunity for Shannon with a potential audience of millions.

Shannon Group Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Murphy said in advance: “Boston is the most Irish City in the US, with 20 percent of people living there claiming Irish descent. Up to one million people will line the route of the parade, aside from those who will watch on TV, and that’s a huge audience for us.

Thanks to our daily and year round Aer Lingus service, Boston is one of our biggest US markets so the flying of the Shannon flag will be great promotion for the airport.”

The Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the city’s biggest annual events and has been held every year since 1901 - except for 1993, when it had to be cancelled after a blizzard closed down the city.

It is organised by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council organizes the parade and winds its way around South Boston, where Irish immigrants first settled in the early 1800s and still home to a large Irish-American community.