Sean Curtin’s arresting image of Conn Murray, Patrick O'Donovan and Denis Brosnan in the Hanging Gardens site
AN interesting image appeared on the front page of this week’s Limerick Chronicle.
The image, taken by Sean Curtin of True Media, showed CEO of the local authority Conn Murray alongside Minister Patrick O’Donovan and Denis Brosnan at Monday’s launch of the Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC special purpose vehicle.
In the photograph the three aforementioned individuals were pictured in hard hats on site at the Gardens site on Henry Street. The creativity of the photographer used some ground water to create a mirror image effect.
In some senses Sean Curtin’s photograph could be used as a metaphor for what many perceive Monday’s announcement to be – a repetition of a similar announcement three years ago.
The announcement I refer to was from June 2013 when, to great fanfare, the €250 million Limerick 2030 Economic and Spatial Plan was unveiled by an illustrious gathering of senior Ministers and key regional players at the Strand Hotel.
On Monday a similar, if slightly smaller, gathering took place in the same hotel where we heard the announcement of the launch of the €500 million investment in the city which will be driven by Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC (or Development Activity Company).
It is perfectly understandable for some to be slightly cynical about the sense of Groundhog Day that permeated the city on Monday. Many asked ‘what is different about today’s announcement?’. Others noted the perceived lack of action since that other ‘major’ announcement back in June 2013. There is a big difference, however.
In June 2013, shortly after the new City and County Council Manager took office, a plan was unveiled. This plan represented a major shift in thinking for our city, county and region. For the first time all major stakeholders signed a new Limerick Charter – a commitment to a new agreed vision for how our city and the wider region would develop going forward.
As part of that new vision and spatial strategy some key strategic sites were mentioned. The announcement sparked a hope that those strategic sites would quickly move to development stage.
The world doesn’t necessarily work that way. Over the past four years it is true to say that very little has happened on the construction front. It is true to say that there are those who have become impatient.
Here is why I feel confident: What was a plan three years ago is now a deliverable series of actions. The man who has been tasked to chair the new Limerick Twenty Thirty project delivery vehicle is Denis Brosnan. This is a man with a track record of getting things done.
This is a man who is of an age where most would consider retirement as well deserved as opposed to mandatory.
Brosnan, in my opinion, exudes a can-do mentality. In fact, Brosnan exudes a must-do and will-do mentality. Something tells me this latest mission is something he will not allow fail.
Monday’s announcement is also different in the sense that we now have clearly defined dates and targets for the completion of various sites I trust the past three years have been used by the local authority to ensure all the ducks are in a row to ensure the successful deliver of the largest urban development project seen outside of Dublin.
Elements of 2030 plan starting to happen
Whilst on the subject of the Limerick 2030 Economic and Spatial Plan it is interesting to note that Page xii of the Executive Summary states the following: The Plan also advocates the delivery of the Medical-Park concept in the George’s Quay area, backing onto Mary Street and linked to the existing Barringtons Hospital.
This could include treatment, research and teaching, with a special emphasis on urban public health issues and bring a number of institutions and private sectors activities together.
Roll on three years and we see the announcement yesterday that US-based healthcare services company Fazzi Healthcare is to set up a major operation in Limerick city centre with the creation of 300 jobs in time. What is most interesting to note is the fact Fazzi is to be based on Georges Quay.
Perhaps it is time for all of us to once again refer to the Limerick 2030 plan. Only by reading it can we begin to realise all the little pieces contained within that are starting to come together.
It’s also worth totting up the number of jobs created through inward investment over the past three years also. Things are happening, you know?
Enjoy all that jazz!
With all the fanfare about job creation and big building projects this week it would be easy to forget the Limerick Jazz Festival takes place this weekend.
Celebrating its fifth year Limerick Jazz Festival presents again some of the finest local and international artists for this fantastic weekend of quality music.
Limerick Jazz Society, which celebrated 30 years of promoting top level jazz in the Midwest in 2012 continues to bring local national and international artists to the City.
This year’s acts include Partisans, Atchere, David O’Rouke and the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra. A full line-up and further information can be found at www.limerickjazzfestival.com.