‘An emotional day’: John Moran elected Mayor of Limerick in national first

One-time Wall Street lawyer and former Department of Finance secretary general says people voted for ‘change’

Former Wall Street lawyer and investment banker John Moran made history on Tuesday when he was announced as the first ever directly elected mayor in Ireland.

Mr Moran, who helped steer Ireland out of the mid-2000s recession in his role as secretary general at the Department of Finance, received a resounding 18,308 first preference votes from the people of Limerick City and County.

Born in the UK into west Limerick roots before returning to grow up on the family farm in Mungret/Patrickswell, Mr Moran, who ran as an Independent candidate, had led the mayoral race from the off at the Limerick Racecourse count centre when tallies were sounded last Saturday until his declaration as Mayor on 28,451 votes Tuesday.

His nearest challengers Helen O’Donnell (Ind), and Dee Ryan (FF), both performed well , but neither could bridge the gap – Ms O’Donnell finishing 4,712 votes behind Moran in second place after Ms Ryan was eliminated on the 11th count with a total of 18,875 votes.

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Afterwards, surrounded by his family and friends, including his mother Bridie, and his partner Damien, Mr Moran said: “It’s an emotional day for everybody.”

The winning candidate said the people of Limerick had voted for “change” in how local Government is run in order “to re-establish democracy”, and, he said he hoped it would trigger other counties to follow Limerick’s lead.

“Fair play to Limerick, they came out in numbers to actually vote for this role five years ago and they came out again [now] to show it,” Mr Moran said.

People voted on the “policies” and “credentials” of the 15 candidates and not “party lines”, he said, “and I think that says a lot not just for the future of Limerick but frankly for the future of democracy”.

Mr Moran invited the other candidates to join him in implementing a plan that would “move forward Limerick in the next five years”.

He said his “three-point-plan” for Limerick was “more housing, more business, prosperity and more health services”.

Mr Moran will take home an annual salary of €154,000 a year.

“The hard work starts now, we’ll have to start figuring out budgets, figuring out all the money, there’s a lot of people asking for lots of things,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be an amazing journey for everybody in Limerick and I’m so happy that you guys have chosen me and trusted me to do this, so thank you very much.”

After exiting the contest, an emotional Ms Ryan said she was “very proud” of her third place performance.

The former chief executive of the Limerick Chamber business group said Fianna Fáil had encouraged her to consider entering politics full-time.

Sources close to Ms Ryan said she was now seriously considering seeking a nomination from the party to run in the next general election.

Ms Ryan told reporters it was “not the day to answer that question” but she said she “loved” canvasing for mayoral votes and the excitement of the count.