As you are all probably aware at this stage, Minister Hogan made an announcement in relation to local governance in Limerick yesterday. After decades of debate the ghost has finally been laid to rest! We are going to have one new super-authority for Limerick! This will put an end to the blame game, it will ensure cooperation and integration of policies. It will improve the statistics on Limerick, making us a more attractive place to invest and do business. The formation of one new authority will also result in savings of between €15 to €20 million – savings which are going to be passed onto the business community! Minister Hogan very clearly stated that there is to be harmonisation of rates between City and County to County levels (this will be more than a 20% reduction for city based businesses in line with what Limerick Chamber has been lobbying for!). It also levels the playing field – up to now a premises in the urban area of Limerick city, but within the boundary of the County – was a more attractive option than establishing in the heart of the city.

At the Chamber we strongly feel that this is a unique and exciting opportunity for Limerick to pilot a new form of local government for the country. It is imperative that we don’t see this as an amalgamation of existing structures. No, this is a blank canvas. A new fresh start. An opportunity for a new strong local authority with vision and resources to lead our city and region into economic prosperity and growth giving the strongest possible message that “Limerick is open for Business”.

What is of utmost importance now is how this coming together of the two separate authorities, the Regeneration Agencies and the formation of a new authority is managed effectively and efficiently. The days of two-ing an fro-ing over the pro’s and con’s of this and that are passed. It is time to look forward. It is time to plan. It is time for a coalition of all the organisations required to make this new single authority successful. It is time to create a vision and goal for a strong dynamic city at the heart of a strong dynamic region. It is an exciting time for Limerick and the Chamber, as the voice of the business community, look forward to being an integral part  of the implementation process.