FOR the first time in 2021, Limerick's council members were able to hold a physical meeting yesterday afternoon as Covid-19 restrictions ease.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the majority of council meetings have taken place virtually, with members connecting to the web from right across County Limerick.
On occasions when councillors were able to meet in the last 15 months, the Limerick Racecourse was used for full meetings where 40 members are asked to be in attendance.
But with that venue now home to Limerick's Covid-19 vaccination centre, councillors met in the Millennium Theatre at the Limerick Institute of Technology in Moylish.
Social distancing protocols were strictly observed, with members asked to ensure they remained two metres apart and wore face-coverings while on their feet.
The meeting - on the draft development plan for Limerick - could not exceed one hour and 55 minutes, as Mayor Michael Collins called time with the agenda incomplete.
Councillors will meet again to finish out the agenda in the next few days.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mayor Collins said he is delighted to be back.
"Today's a very important part of council business, where we will hopefully agree the draft development plan which will go on public display so the public can make their comments after June 26. It's important we do this physically. A lot of meetings have been held on this over the past five or six months, so I'm delighted members are here to have their say," he said.
Cllr Collins added the online meetings had posed "a challenge".
"It's very well set out here [in the Millennium Theatre]. Staff have prepared very well over the last number of days, and they've done a great job," he added.
With the annual general meetings (AGMs) taking place in the next weeks, a variety of other venues across Limerick will be used to ensure members are able to socially distance.
The metropolitan district leader's election will take place at County Hall in Dooradoyle, as was the case last year.
While the chairman of the Adare-Rathkeale district will be elected in the Rathkeale House Hotel. Another hotel, the Deebert House in Kilmallock plays host to the Cappamore-Kilmallock district's AGM.
Newcastle West's AGM is at Aras William Smith O'Brien in the town.
And it's anticipated the annual mayor-making ceremony will take place at the Limerick Institute of Technology's Millennium Theatre once again.
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