Council Affairs: All credit to Limerick councillors

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

“IT’S amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit,” former American President Harry Truman once said.

He obviously never visited the council chambers in Limerick nine months out from an election.

Truman believed that great things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit. And maybe that’s why Limerick looks like it was dreamt up by a bunch of lads with a bag of cans and a box of crayons.

If our local politicians were less concerned about getting their names on statues and bridges and taking the kudos for roundabouts and dog poo bins, maybe the Treaty City would feel less like Toytown and more like the rainier cousin of Barcelona it so aspires to be.

Imagine if ours was a city where you could wash down your gravy chips with a cáfe carajillo on our very own Las Ramblas, without taking your life into your own hands trying to get from one side of O’Connell Street to the other without being clipped by a scrambler.

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To give councillors and bigwigs at City Hall their due credit (which I admittedly rarely pay them in fairness), it is their rouge build-now-plan-later attitude that makes Limerick the quirky and mad as a box of frogs oddity that we all love so dearly. More power to them for their crackpot notions.

What would we complain about if the sun always shone and brewery piss-ups were organised efficiently and without a hitch?

It’s that going rogue quality that gives our beloved city such an offbeat charm. And what would the good people of Limerick be without their God-given right to have a good moan?

The longer the Council and our elected representatives keep fooling themselves that it’s sunny Spain we are living the better I say.

And if it’s credit you are after, County Hall was the place to find it at this month’s Metropolitan District meeting.

With votes to be secured out in Limerick City West in the local elections next June, there was back patting aplenty in the Dooradoyle chambers over the proposed N69 Mungret and Boland’s Cross Road Safety Improvement Scheme.

If they were often as quick to accept responsibility for their actions as they are to take ownership of achievements, they might be far more productive. But no, it’s rattlers out of the pram and shameless displays of peacock strutting with waggling feathers and high-pitched shrills as a row broke out over where the rightful credit for the scheme should fall.

Showing his support for the scheme, Independent councillor Fergus Kilcoyne claimed he initiated the project.

Taking councillors back in his time machine, he reminded them that he was the man who got the whole thing airborne back in 2019.

“I actually initiated this,” Cllr Kilcoyne told the chamber.

According to the Patrickswell man, he sat in his car for 30 minutes with a council engineer, staking out the route like something out of Hart to Hart.

“I brought John Sheehan at the time, he was an engineer here at Limerick City Council, and we actually went out and sat in the car for half an hour and we watched the traffic.

“We were only there for five minutes on the lefthand side outbound on the N69, and lo and behold, within five minutes there was a car travelling along and a truck overtook it from the brow of the hill.

“From that day on, John Sheehan contacted TII to get this scheme upgraded and I am delighted to see it going forward,” he enthused.

The rest, as Kilcoyne claims, is history.

But Fine Gael’s Dan McSweeney was having none of it. Not only did he spot a missed opportunity by Cllr Kilcoyne to formally propose the scheme, but he also pointed the credit in another direction (within his own party, naturally).

“I have formally proposed it. I supported it and formally proposed it,” Cllr Kilcoyne hit back.

“You didn’t propose it, Councillor. I would like to formally propose it and I have to compliment the team who have put a lot of work into the scheme,” Cllr McSweeney commented.

Rewriting Cllr Kilcoyne’s history books, the Fine Gael whippersnapper then pointed out that this scheme has been in the pipeline for many years.

“Some will claim they got it initiated, but I am well aware that my colleague, Cllr Daniel Butler, has been on this for a significant number of years, even before this council term.”

You have to love them really. They way they’re going on you’d swear there was an election next year. All credit to them.