Limerick’s 815th mayor vows to promote city centre

LIMERICK’S 815th mayor has vowed to make the promotion of the city centre a key priority during his term in office.

Councillor Jim Long was elected unopposed and is the third consecutive Fine Gael Councillor to serve as Limerick’s first citizen.

In an emotional victory speech at City Hall the 62-year-old recalled telling his classmates in 1965 that he would like to be Mayor of Limerick some day.

In his address Mr Long said Limerick city was suffering from a serious economic crisis and he vowed to make the promotion of the city centre a priority during his term.

Limerick’s new mayor has pledged to set up a community under 18 youth forum and create a strategy around older people; making Limerick an age-friendly city.

He also wants to set up a round table forum which will bring City Hall “closer to local communities, residents and the very strong local sporting clubs”.

This forum will consist of the mayor, city manager Tom Mackey, Garda Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan, regeneration chief Brendan Kenny and representatives of the HSE.

Mr Long, who was born in St Mary’s Park and reared in Ballincarra Weston, thanked his wife Mary and his three daughters who were present for his election.

He also paid tribute to his 86-year-old mother Sarah who was also in attendance.

His election was secured after his former party colleague Independent Councillor Kevin Kiely supported the other members of Fine Gael which has seven seats on Limerick City Council.

Prior to the election Mr Kiely, a close friend of Mr Long, said he could not guarantee his support for the Fine Gael candidate.

However following a period of confusion Mr Kiely, supported Mr Long’s nomination and was himself elected as deputy mayor.

Mr Long’s nomination was proposed by Fine Gael Cllr Diarmuid Scully who described his party colleague as a “dogged and determined fighter for the people of Limerick”.

Outgoing mayor Maria Byrne described the naming of Limerick as 2011 European Capital of Sport as one of the highlights of her year in office.

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