Belfast Telegraph

View from Dublin: success for Limerick

By Richard Curran

Another week and another investment for Limerick. This time it is financial services giant Northern Trust which said it plans to expand its Limerick operations, creating up to 400 jobs over the next five years.

These jobs will be added to the 1,000 people already employed by the company at two locations in the city. It has become one of the largest employers in the Mid-West region.

Limerick is riding high in terms of foreign direct investment into the city, especially compared to the problems it faced at the start of the recession when Dell shed 2,000 jobs.

So how did all of this happen? How did Limerick go from being one of the whipping boys of the crash to one of the poster boys of the recovery?

There are several factors at play and some of them provide useful insight into what can be done for any region. Firstly, things had to get really bad before action was taken. Former Kerry Group managing director Denis Brosnan was asked to chair a special task force to tackle the economic problems in the region

Putting together the task force was a good start but getting someone as respected as Brosnan to chair it was very important. The number of agencies responsible for local government and job creation were greatly reduced.

One recommendation was to get rid of the job-creation role of Shannon Development and let the IDA take it over. Shannon had its own development and jobs agency but ironically, its very existence meant IDA Ireland was not as engaged as it could have been.

Limerick City Council and the county council were merged and under the stewardship of Conn Murray, began working on their own development plans for the region.

All the stakeholders signed a "charter of convergence and cohesion" to collaborate for the city and the region.

These have all been factors in ensuring Limerick has enjoyed even more of a post-crash lift than other parts of the country.

Belfast Telegraph

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