WATCH: 'It's a special time in Limerick': Cathaoirleach reacts to election

Nick Rabbitts at City Hall

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Nick Rabbitts at City Hall

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nick@limerickleader.ie

THE newly elected chairman of the metropolitan district, Cllr James Collins, says he hopes to continue some of the initiatives he started as mayor in his new role.

The Fianna Fail councillor, who topped the poll in City West, was elected as the leader of the metropolitan district at the first meeting of the area in City Hall this morning.

While it lacks the prestige of first citizen, Cllr Collins feels it still has a lot to offer.

He said: "It's a very busy role, it's an important role. With the changes happening in Limerick, there was a desire to have someone experienced in the chair."

"It's a special time in Limerick. There is lots happening. I was lucky enough to be mayor last year. I was honoured and privileged. I started some things, and i'd hope maybe as Cathaoirleach of the metropolitan district, maybe I can continue on some of the work," he added.

Cllr Collins, who is running mate to Willie O'Dea in the next general election, also referenced the ongoing development of the city, including the long-awaited first move on the old Dunnes Stores building at Sarsfield Street.

"There' s a lot happening in terms of economic development. But we need to make sure everyone feels the economic recovery. There are some sections of our society and some people in Limerick who the recovery has not hit. We need to ensure everyone is included," the councillor added.

Cllr Collins, who was joined by his family at his election, is the first person to be elected as metropolitan Cathaoirleach, following the abolition of the old title of metropolitan mayor.

He took the chain of office from Fine Gael's councillor Daniel Butler.

Many observers feel the metropolitan mayoralty was the natural continuation of the centuries-old title of city mayor, and have bemoaned its demise.

Cllr Collins said he would like to see that history reflected in his new role.

"Limerick has fantastic history and it wouild be remiss of us to ignore that. This chain goes back over many years and with many predecessors. I think we need to know how we can attach the history to the office. The role is about the people, it's; about representing the people of Limerick. When you speak, you speak on behalf of the people of Limerick. People of Limerick listen, both locally, nationally and internationally," he added.