TRIBUTES have been paid to Conn Murray, who is stepping down after seven years serving Limerick’s local authorities.
Mr Murray will leave the role of chief executive after his contract expires in mid-August.
In a letter to Mayor Michael Sheahan and his staff, Mr Murray said: “I have had the pleasure of serving the public in many different capacities over the last 40 years as I developed my career in local government. The last seven years back in Limerick have, on a personal and professional level, been the most rewarding.”
Mayor Sheahan said that the key statistics from Mr Murray’s period in charge speak for themselves. “We have, in the past five years, seen over 15,000 new jobs and €2billion of planned investment bound for Limerick. The blueprint for this success has been ‘Limerick 2030: An Economic and Spatial Plan for Limerick’ – a once in a generation plan delivered by Conn that has steered the recovery of our city and county, a recovery that has urban centres across the nation and beyond looking on in envy.
“Initiatives like Limerick Twenty Thirty, which is going to be transformative for the city, advancing the Regeneration programme, the creation of the largest economic unit in any local authority and implementing the Ireland’s first National City of Culture programme all came under his watch.”
Cllr Daniel Butler said Mr Murray’s “greatest legacy” was the creation of Limerick Twenty Thirty, which is charged with regenerating huge swathes of the city. “It’s a body that has become an example of local authority ingenuity not just in Ireland but across Europe. A brave and bold move that reflects the man himself,” Cllr Butler added.
Green Party councillor Brian Leddin wants to see a cross-party group set up to decide who succeeds Mr Murray in the high-profile role.
He said: “Appointing a chief executive is a power clearly reserved for democratically-elected councillors, and it is entirely proper that we communicate our preferences for what kind of chief executive we would like to appoint.”
The Limerick Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan added: “There have been some incredible leaders of Limerick across many spheres and eras but Conn Murray has been a stand-out figure in our time, and has been the principal architect of the resurgence of Limerick through the recession and the birth of a new era that we have embarked on.”