Editorial – Putting people first?

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Gervais_01_1338413a“WE will continue to persevere at both elected and official level in the months ahead to deliver the type of quality public services that the citizens of our new Limerick Authority so richly deserve. We will do so with one voice and one vision for Limerick”.

Those were the comments of Council chief executive Conn Murray ahead of the merger of Limerick’s local authorities last June.

And his colleagues at the helm of the new council have remained on message about the “branding” of Limerick and their plans to “put people first” at every opportunity ever since.

It’s hard not to picture Ricky Gervais’s irritating character David Brent from ‘The Office’ when Iistening to the Council executive’s convoluted “business as usual” supermarket speak.

There was no doubt the newly merged local authority would face challenges in the early days. However it is becoming increasingly clear that the amalgamation of the city and county councils was not as well thought out as we were led to believe.

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Its first full meeting in September ended up a totally farcical affair. With 40 councillors in attendance, they barely scratched the surface of their agenda and a second meeting had to be scheduled after less than 10 per cent of it was covered. With so many hot-winded politicians all trying to get their tuppence worth, this was always going to be an issue if any business was going to be dealt with.

County councillors continually complain about having to travel into the city to get their business done since the amalgamation. The so-called “carving up” of the roads, planning and environment departments in Dooradoyle is a constant sore point too.

This week Cathaoirleach Kevin Sheahan’s title was changed to Mayor of Limerick City and County, leaving us with two mayors as Cllr Michael Sheahan now holds the title of Mayor of Limerick’s Metropolitan District.

This was the Council’s answer to simplifying a confusing situation.

You really couldn’t make this stuff up, or could you?

As David Brent used to say, “eagles may soar high, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines”.