O’Malley says Limerick council merger long overdue
City and county councils to be amalgamated as single body
The merging of Limerick city and county councils should have happened years ago, says founder of the Progressive Democrats Des O’Malley. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
The impending merger of Limerick city and county councils is something that should have happened years ago, according to
founder of the Progressive Democrats Des O’Malley.
Mr O’Malley was among those who attended the final meeting of Limerick City Council. The local authority met for the final time yesterday, closing a chapter on more than 800 years of local government in Limerick city.
Limerick County Council held its final meeting last week, 115 years to the day since it first convened. The two local authorities are being merged into one body on June 1st following the local elections.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, Mr O’Malley, whose father and two uncles served as mayors of Limerick, said it could be seen as a sad occasion.
“On the other hand, I think the sadness is alleviated by the fact that you have now a union with the county council which is something that I think should have happened well before now,” said the former Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats minister.
“I think it makes sense. I think the city with its rather confined boundary was really too small . . . Most of the private development that has taken place in the last 30 or 40 years tended to be outside the city boundary rather than within. And I think that contributed to the decline of the city in many ways in recent years.”
The 817th Mayor of Limerick, Kathleen Leddin, said while it was “a nostalgic and historic day tinged with some sadness”, she was confident about the future of the new local authority.
Ms Leddin, who will retire shortly from politics, said she was proud of what has been achieved by the city council down through the centuries.
“The historic amalgamation . . . presents new opportunities for us all, and I am very confident that it will prove to be a catalyst for positive change in this city for many years to come.”
Limerick City Council was established in 1197 as Limerick Corporation and was renamed in 2002.
Limerick city and county manager Conn Murray said a new political and administrative structure would be created by the merger.
While Limerick City Council would no longer be a separate local authority, the area it formerly administered would become a metropolitan district, whose councillors would retain the right to elect a mayor.
“In this manner the identity and traditions of the ancient city of Limerick will continue into the future.”