WATCH: Chamber president says Limerick 'must grow quicker than Dublin’ to be competitive

REGIONAL cities like Limerick must grow at a quicker pace than Dublin to maintain competitiveness, Chamber president Ken Johnson has said.

Speaking at the annual Limerick Chamber president’s dinner in the Strand Hotel, Mr Johnson said the draft National Planning Framework (NPF) – criticised by many in the region – will see the city experience less than a quarter of the country’s projected growth.

“To restore more balanced development across the state, the regional cities need to grow at a faster pace than our now overheated capital. Harnessing the growth potential of, and co-operation between the combined Cork-Limerick-Galway cities region needs to be at the core of the NPF,” the Limerick Chamber president stated in his address.

At the event, former Finance Minister Michael Noonan was honoured with the Limerick Chamber president’s award for his services to the country.

Receiving the award, the Fine Gael stalwart said he felt “extraordinarily honoured” that his home city has recognised him – and that he felt “emotional” about the accolade too.

“I have come through a period now since I announced my retirement from cabinet where I get a lot of compliments paid to me in Dublin and abroad but when you get an endorsement by your own people, in this city, by the chamber and the president of the chamber, that’s a singular honour and I feel emotional about it,” he said.

“I feel fulfilled, rather than proud. I feel that I had a unique opportunity to be in an Irish cabinet and being a Minister for Finance you can do an awful lot if you set your mind to it. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time in there, and that the bulk of the decisions I took helped the recovery of the country from bankruptcy and in that context, since Limerick is a subset of the national economy, the recovery of Limerick as well.

"I did singular things for Limerick alone and they worked out very well also,” he added.

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