‘We all want a Limerick that is safe’: Emotional inauguration for first directly-elected major

John Moran said he would try to tackle street violence after this week’s assault case in Limerick and another attack he learnt of yesterday

Mayor of Limerick John Moran pictured with his mother Bridie following the inauguration ceremony at St Mary's Cathedral. Photograph: Don Moloney

Ireland’s first directly elected mayor John Moran has vowed to work to help make his adoptive Limerick a safer place, citing this week’s court case which heard a local woman was beaten unconscious in the city by a serving member of the Defence Forces.

During his official inauguration as mayor of Limerick city and county, and as the first openly gay mayor of Limerick, Mr Moran fought back tears speaking about out his vision for a safer Limerick in light of the attack on Natasha O’Brien.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr Moran, again held back tears, and said he had become emotional because “a couple of people in the audience I know, we had some news yesterday of another person who was attacked, and, [there was] the court case”.

He said: “I think we all want a city and county that is safe. I think it is really important you’ve got to remember [this] moment, and just imagining what things were like for those people when they were walking home.


“It’s going to be a huge priority for me to really get on top of that issue.”

Earlier, while addressing attendees at his inauguration ceremony at St Mary’s Cathedral, Mr Moran praised the work of the gardaí, ambulance crews and firefighters who respond when people in the city were in need.

“I have witnessed first-hand the dedication of our frontline workers, I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for all they do to make Limerick a better place.”

He said he hoped people “can always feel welcome, whoever they may be, regardless of where they come from, who they choose to love, or whatever their religious beliefs.

“I want to see a Limerick where they, like others can enjoy the amenities of our great county, without fear anymore, as they walk home late from work.”

Mayor of Limerick John Moran at the inauguration ceremony at St Mary's Cathedral. Photograph: Don Moloney

The former Wall Street lawyer, investment banker and secretary general at the Department of Finance, told reporters it was “of course, significant” that he was Limerick’s first openly gay mayor, “but what is more significant is nobody is talking about it”.

“What I have found really interesting, is that on our [new] council we have three members of the LGBT community, we have immigrants who haven’t been born in Limerick, including myself. I think that’s what is really significant for me, is that the people of Limerick no longer see those kind of divisions. That’s a really super statement of how Limerick has progressed as a place for everybody to live and to call home.”

Dressed in ceremonial robes and led by a piper, the English-born mayor spoke of a “new energy and a new confidence in the air” before he walked from the cathedral, and across a rainbow-painted pedestrian-crossing, to City Hall.

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At the conclusion of the ceremony, local schoolchildren, Shaheer Ghaffer, Sean Fitzgerald and Tia Costelloe were handed the mayor’s microphone and asked him a very important question.

“Will you diligently perform the responsibilities entrusted to you and serve the people of Limerick to the best of your ability?” they asked.

Shaking their hands, the new mayor replied: “I will.”

As well as focusing on law and order, Mr Moran pledged he would also use part of a €40 million budget under his control, to help do what he could to tackle the city’s capacity crises in housing and hospital beds.

Later, the Mayor led the 40 recently directly-elected members of the council in the first formal meeting of the new-look joint-local authority.