Limerick City and County Council’s commitment to the ongoing economic advancement of the city and region has been reaffirmed with two key appointments.
Right as COVID-19 was about to hit, the local authority finalised hires for the two new posts whose roles have become ever more important since the pandemic outbreak.
The appointment of Cecilia Larkin as Limerick City Centre Revitalisation Manager and Rory Corbett as Trade & Investment Development Executive has been a timely boost as the local authority rises to the task of stimulating Limerick and the region’s recovery from the economic shock of the pandemic.
For Cecilia Larkin, whose role as a liaison between retailers/traders and the local authority is focused on increasing footfall into the city centre and to assist with the ongoing promotion of business in the city centre, it’s been straight in at the deep end.
“I was appointed just before COVID-19 hit and my post was really focused on the short to medium term, on how we can increase footfall and assist with the promotion of business in the city, particularly retail. With or without COVID, the plan was all about the local authority working closer than ever with the business community to create the environment that will attract people to shop and stay here.
“But now that COVID-19 has hit, we are looking at things differently and it’s not just about confidence in the product that we have but confidence that the city has the public health of the people living and coming here as a priority. And it does.”
She continued: “At the end of the day, it is ultimately about the ‘experience’, giving people what they want and COVID-19 has put a sharp focus on that. It has encouraged us to look at the city in different ways and to do different things.
“What I am so encouraged by is the resourcefulness and resilience of the business community here. People are open to ideas, ready to embrace change and to try things in doing so. But I keep coming back to the experience; we have to provide a quality experience for a multi-generational city.”
Rory Corbett’s appointment was complementary to Ms Larkin’s in that his role will be about deepening relationships for Limerick with business yet in a different space.
“My job is effectively to help with the internationalisation of Limerick. We have huge ambition here and that was very much reflected by the launch of the Limerick - Atlantic Edge, European Embrace brand just before COVID hit. That brand states the new Limerick ambition; a city and county that wants to be out there at the international crossroads competing for business.
“The IDA has done that really well for us over the past decade and my post will be very much about supporting the agency. A key element will also be working with existing businesses in Limerick to ensure that we know if there is anything, as a local authority, we can help them with.”
Fundamentally, the Castleconnell native added, the role is similar to Cecilia’s– it’s very much about relationships. “I have a wide range of stakeholders that I will be working with, from local businesses and the IDA to Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Jobs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Local Enterprise Office, Innovate Limerick, Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC, elected representatives and so much more.
“If we work on all those relationships, make sure there is ongoing communication, it can only be good for Limerick. On the one hand it’s a difficult time because we have to deal with a global pandemic but that’s challenging us to think differently and that’s not a bad thing. Fortune favours the brave.”