Capital Limerick: Clair and associates proudly fly the flag

Solicitor who spearheaded endeavour is honoured with person of the month award

Áine Fitzgerald


Áine Fitzgerald


Clair & Co proudly fly the Limerick flag

Clair Hayes of Capital Limerick receives her award from Áine Fitzgerald of the Limerick Leader. Also present are Dave O'Hora, Southern and Pat Reddan of the Clayton Hotel Picture: Adrian Butler

A YOUNG woman who spearheaded the launch of Capital Limerick, an organisation which is focused on promoting and enhancing Limerick’s profile and reputation, has been named the Limerick Person of the Month.

Armed with a deep desire to actively promote Limerick, Clair Hayes from Meanus organised a tightknit group of Limerick people from diverse backgrounds to come together and form Capital Limerick.

The Limerick professionals based in Dublin immediately set about making connections and working together to promote and advance their native county and city.

“There are exceptional people and organisations in Limerick and there are also many Limerick people in Dublin who are leaders in their field.  If we unite all of those people and organisations, we can establish a co-ordinated and influential Limerick presence to advocate for Limerick as a viable alternative to Dublin.”

The initial group of eight people included Clair along with Barry Duggan, head of communications and press with Fine Gael; former IBEC senior executive, Brian Geoghegan; Stephen O’Byrnes, PR consultant with MKC Communications; Seamus Hennessy of the STL Group; Niamh O’Carroll of O’Carroll Consulting; Patricia Ryan, advisor to government minister, and Paul Stapleton, general manager of Electric Ireland.

Clair says, “a number of people have since come on board and it’s great that the group is so diverse”.

“Each of us used our connections with Limerick people based in Dublin to expand the network and it took off from there. We were overwhelmed by the support from Limerick people who have a strong desire to see Limerick's profile elevated both nationally and internationally”

Last November the group hosted the inaugural Capital Limerick lunch at the Marker Hotel for 250 people.

Leading professionals from business, education, sporting, cultural and media circles were in attendance as well as industry leaders and major employers from both Dublin and the Mid-West.

“We had a number of excellent speakers and an impressive turnout both from the Limerick community in Dublin and Limerick-based people who travelled to attend.”

Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan and former Justice Minister Des O’Malley both addressed the event and outlined their future hopes for Limerick.

Well-known people in attendance included former TD Liz O’Donnell, publican Charlie Chawke, TV3 presenter Vincent Browne, CEO of Shannon Group Matthew Thomas, Margot Slattery of Sodexo, Kieran Harte of Uber, Chris Goodey, CEO of the National Association of General Practitioners and former Tanaiste Mary Harney.

Trish Long, vice president and general manager of Disney, Ireland; former secretary general at the Department of Finance John Moran and Des Fitzgerald, incoming president designate at University of Limerick participated in a panel discussion at the event which saw €5,000 raised for two Limerick based charities - the Redemptorist Christmas Appeal  and Saint Vincent de Paul.

Later this month the group will host its second major event which will explore opportunities for financial services firms in the Limerick and Mid-West region.

Taking place at 6.30pm on Wednesday, March 29, at the Westin Hotel on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street, the event will include a panel discussion featuring Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland,  top economics lecturer at the University of Limerick, Dr Stephen Kinsella; Eamonn Fallon, senior vice-president, supporting funds administration services at Northern Trust in Ireland.

The event is being sponsored by Northern Trust, Matheson and the Elder Healthcare Group.

The evening discussion will be moderated by Donal O’Donovan, business editor at the Irish Independent.

The group wants to reach out to the many thousands of Limerick people working in Dublin and is calling on those with family and friends in Dublin to help spread the word.

A former student of the FCJ convent in Bruff, Clair studied law in NUIG and trained in Dublin.

She now works as a senior associate solicitor in commercial law firm Matheson and is based in Dublin.

“I’ve always been a proud Limerick person but in the past, I have felt compelled to defend Limerick’s image.

“Thankfully now the perception of Limerick has started to change and we should take the opportunity to promote Limerick's profile further afield.”

The modest Limerick woman paid tribute to all those who have helped her and her Capital Limerick colleagues to get the initiative off the ground.

“I’m delighted with this award but I am accepting it on behalf of the entire group and the many people throughout Limerick doing great things for the city and county.  

“They are far more deserving of this award than me,” she smiled.

The Limerick Person of the Month award is sponsored by the Limerick Leader, media agency Southern, and the Clayton Hotel.