Village Magazine - December 2009 - January 2010

Nepotism in Limerick

Closer to home, Villager was amused to see John Fitzgerald, former City Manager in Dublin getting himself and the Limerick Regeneration Agency, headed by former Dublin City Housing Manager, Brendan Kenny, in hot water for indulging nepotism to the serious displeasure of Limerick City Manager, Tom Mackey.

Kenny employed his daughter on a large salary without bothering with anything as tedious as an inter- view process.

Claire Feeney, girlfriend of Southside Director, Brendan Hayden, was recruited on a salary of 90,000 without competitive interview. she had no third- level or other relevant qualification.

And Brian McElligott, son of Regeneration Agency Director, Liam McGelligott was recruited in Autumn 2007 without competitive interview. He had no third-level or other relevant qualification, thought the agency is now paying his way through a University of Limerick project-management course.

Fitzgerald noted that the Limerick Regeneration Agency didn't have to comply with normal public-sector norms.

Funny then that this is the same John Fitzgerald who so rigorously - including with the benefit of a fat legal opinion -hounded residents' representatives on the Grangegorman Development Agency (which he also chairs) to comply with normal company law. They were not to report back to the communities that chose them but to observe the niceties of company law - i.e. silence.

Fitzgerald reckons the Limerick agencies' boards are "not boards of governance".

Villager was amused too to see Jim Barrett resurfacing in Limerick. Barrett, whose every post-democratic impulse (high-rise, no greenery, no functionality, no consultation, no community benefit (see for example, O'Connell St's spike) was wrong for Dublin where he famously worked very closely with Fitzgerald, is now benefiting from exorbitant per diem architectural-consultancy fees in Limerick.

Fitzgerald puts the problems down to "destructive feuding" between Limerick development agencies. Fitzgerald says he "loves" the public service but they'll need to do things properly in Limerick if they're not to go the way of some of the more challenged of Dublin's development authorities - like Docklands for example.