There has been a lot happening in the Chamber in the past week since my first blog. On Tuesday 30th March, we co-hosted a public meeting with the Gardai in the Savoy hotel where the Gardai responded very positively.   Everyone there was there with a common purpose and that was to address issues that were in the best interests of our city. And that is exactly how the meeting proceeded. Chief Superintendent David Sheahan and Superintendent Frank O’Brien introduced their community officers to the pubic meeting and presented their action plan in response to the issues raised by the inner city traders. This included making available a dedicated direct mobile number for traders who need to contact the gardai immediately. We have already seen a very positive increase in the gardai’s visible presence on the streets. Through the office of the Chamber, we now have an open communications and co-operation forum in place with the Gardai to monitor and address the situation on an ongoing basis. The Gardai have also agreed to an ongoing review of the situation with the Chamber so please keep us informed of any outstanding issues that need to be addressed by emailing Chief Superintendent David Sheahan and Superintendent Frank O’Brien deserve to be applauded for their proactive and positive action plans and I ask all members to continue to offer them your full support. On your behalf, I also congratulate the following members and executive of the chamber who have worked on these issues on your behalf – Liam Dwan, Jim Kenny, Padraic Frawley, Mike Gleeson, Maria Kelly, Orlaith McMahon, Tadhg Kearney.

Last Thursday, 1st April, there was the planned meeting with the City Manager and his officials on the issues raised around litter, parking and rates.  I could not attend the meeting myself but the chamber was well represented by the team mentioned above. We received a very positive response in relation to the issues raised on litter. An 11-point action plan was presented by City Hall, all culminating in a planned “Love Limerick – Spring Clean your City” day on Tuesday 20th April. You can see the action plan detail on the chambers website and I confirm that we are very happy with the plan on the basis that it is fully implemented. So full marks to Caroline Curley of City Hall for bringing forward this very creative and positive response to the litter issues raised. And you can play your part on the day. We are asking every business in the City to come out and clean up the outside of their premises by sweeping up rubbish, cleaning windows, washing down pavements, or doing whatever they can between 9.30am and 10.30am that morning. So please do what you can.

Unfortunately, we did not receive the same level of positive action plan in relation to the issues raised on rates and parking.  The discussions on these are ongoing with the City manager and his team and there is a follow-up meeting scheduled for the 21st April. The Chamber will continue to keep these issues at the forefront of City Hall.

On Friday last, 2nd April,  I had the privilege of being interviewed by Joe Nash on 95FM in relation to the chambers plans for the year ahead. So I was not expecting Joe’s questions on NAMA, the regulator’s decision on Quinn Insurance, was the financial regulator or Sean Quinn right, government investment in FDI etc but eventually Joe got around to asking me about what the chamber was currently working on. Time would only discussion on the meetings with the Gardai and city hall so maybe a future opportunity might allow discussion on the chamber’s plans over the next 12 months.

Congratulations to Ard Scoil Ris for their valiant efforts in the All-Ireland senior schools hurling final last week. Even though the result went against them on the day, they can be exceptionally proud of their outstanding campaign including the Harty Cup win. And best of luck to our boys in Red this Saturday evening in Thomond Park. It will be another grudge game against the Saints and no doubt the team will need the 16th man from the terraces and the stands to help them on the night.

And let’s not forget the Great Limerick Run   on the 2nd May. This is a unique event to Ireland. It is the first time ever that a 10K, half marathon and a certified full marathon have been held in the same location in one day and will be the most exciting event on the Irish running calendar in 2010. Maria Kelly and I met with one of it’s organisers Martin Tynan and with Cllr Joe Leddin about two weeks in relation to supporting this. We are very impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment being put in by Martin and his team and encourage people to participate or support it on the day.

Next Tuesday, 13th April the board of the chamber is meeting to review and hopefully endorse the Chamber’s plans for the next 12 months. This will include agreement on committees to proactively work on these plans. So in my blog next week,  I will share this with you and let you know what the committees are and who is assigned to them. And as usual we will welcome feedback and input.