Council Affairs: If you build it, they will vote

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

MOVE over Pat Daly. Millionaires, Marxists, pothole politicians, and even a former GAA footballer are all vying for the top job at Merchant’s Quay.

After June 7 next, we will have a new top dog at City Hall, and all the problems at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) will disappear overnight.

It will be goodbye trolley crisis, day-day housing shortage, and we’ll all be on the gravy train as our new directly-elected mayor (DEM) waves their magic wand to make all our troubles disappear.

Shur aren’t elections great, really?

There’s no problem too big, no problem that can’t be fixed when there’s votes to be got. Whether it’s a new Garda station, primary school, or pedestrian crossing you are after – Wham! Bam! Thank you, Ma’am! Ask and you shall receive.

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After years of overcrowding in the emergency department in UHL, all of a sudden this is a doddle for our eager mayoral candidates. They have all the answers, you can have the world, and all the hospital beds your little hearts desire.

You have to admire their moxy.

Clearly they are all big Field of Dreams fans that have taken Kevin Costner’s “if you build it, they will come” line firmly to their bosoms. Limerick, however, isn’t a cornfield and the electorate weren’t born yesterday.

The hospital is outside the remit of DEM, and sure, they can advocate for whatever they like, but no one has paid a blind bit of notice before now, why are we to believe that the DEM will be able to change that? Who do they think they are actually codding?

Sinn Féin is talking about growing the role of DEM to see more real power coming this way after a general election, which in itself sounds dandy. Before you can say ‘Hello Mary Lou’, they have ministerial plans for the post. Hope the weather keeps fine for them.

The Minister for Limerick does have a nice ring to it, in fairness. But before that can happen, the DEM, like the good Guinea Pig they will be expected to be, must strut their stuff on the running wheel until this little experiment proves a success. If the cogs of local government move the right way and our first citizen licks all the right arses, more might come of it. Otherwise, of course, we’ll be remembered as the eejits that got sold a pig in a poke and made a dog’s dinner of it.

Until then of course – for the next two weeks anyway – dream big. If it’s a light railway system the length and breadth of the city and county you are after, they’ve got you covered.

We are still in the empty promises stage of the election race, so don’t get too carried away with what you are hearing. As Nikita Khrushchev once said: “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers.”