Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Limerick Local Heroes - Town Hall Success

Last night saw the first main event of the Limerick Local Heroes event - the town hall meeting. It was, by all definitions, a complete success. Many thanks to all of the co-contributors and a big round of applause to Tony Frawley for getting everything going, keeping it going and for standing up and introducing everyone!

It was chaired by Aonghus McAnally - who gave up so much time for us - and was a superb presenter and speaker.

It was hugely inspiring - there was so much feedback - and everyone was positive. It was everything we as a group wanted, and it was great to see that there was only a message of solidarity and support. We had no idea that so many would turn up - but we're pretty glad we planned for it. With about 160 people pre-registered, we still had no idea of how many others would turn up but we were so happy to see the Strand Hotel fill up so quickly!

Support from the Strand and Absolute Hotel has been superb. The Absolute has been "housing" the many meetings that the event organisers have held to prepare and plan over the past 3 months (and I've only been a small contributor) - and the Strand generously and similarly donated the fantastic Shannon Event Suite.

Fair play to everyone and all of the volunteers who got involved - anonymously and without self promotion - it's so good to see community/altruistic spirit at times like this. And to many the people who gave up 3 hours of a Monday night in January on a whim of a chance at watching something happen to make a difference.

Also - super to see so many people who have moved to Limerick become so involved. Limerick is as diverse and as friendly as it is historic and traditional.

I think we all loved the Monorail idea - who couldn't but be reminded of the classic Simpsons Episode featuring the town hall meeting to propose a monorail? Absolutely brilliant - and with all of the colleges and skilled engineers we have, a chance to revisit an idea that has become a worldwide obsession since the 1800's - cheap, easy to build transport for everyone.

Thank you to everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Public Town Hall Meeting for Limerick Local Heroes

Limerick Local Heroes are inviting the people of Limerick to attend a townhall meeting to discuss the project and how people can get involved. The meeting will take place on Monday, the 30th of January at the Strand Hotel in Limerick. More details here.

Tony Frawley, spokesperson for the Limerick Local Heroes Steering Group, explains
“Limerick Local Heroes was born out of a frustration amongst genuine Limerick people drawn from the arts, business, sporting & community sectors who believed their voices haven’t been heard in developing a future vision for Limerick, particularly in terms of job creation."
The Limerick Local Heroes initiative is not for profit and the steering group behind the initiative is made up of individuals from all sections of Limerick society, business, sports, arts, community, education all of whom are giving their own time to developing an environment for job creation.

Those who are interested in attending can pre-register at http://llh.eventbrite.ie/?ebtv=C

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Limerick Local Heroes | Be the change

I've always thought it was important for local citizens to support their city - take pride, responsibility and get involved in whatever they can. Limerick has been an employment black spot for a very long time. In fact, it seems like it's been that way forever. But something is afoot to change it - Limerick Local Heroes

It struggled to get a University - and only when an American entrepreneur philanthropist decided to back (read: fund, pay, do it) and it struggles to get other things - like developing citizens who can believe in themselves, their city and their county. Limerick is the underdog of the underdogs. The National media pour scorn on Limerick - as if to point out that living in the overpriced, traffic choked capital isn't so bad because it could be worse - you could live in Limerick, where presumably people are shot dead just for trying to go outside to find water or charcoal.

Its a city that struggles with itself. When your own government tells you can't then you begin to believe it. The best leave. And then come back and find that the people who stayed behind now demonstrate a feeling of collective abandonment.

But those are just feelings. The thing is that Limerick is a terrific place in my opinion. And I grew up in the place that was just voted as the top destination on the planet: Cape Town.

There are fantastic things happening in Limerick. And Limerick is made up of lots of really smart, interesting, talented and lovable people and includes people from all over the world who now call it home.

So lets highlight this a bit by supporting the Limerick Local Heroes Initiative, based on the incredible success of "Can Do" recently exhibited by Dundalk on the RTE show, "Local Heroes - a town fights back".

Great to see many of the faces from Limerick Open Coffee and Bizcamp Limerick there (mainly Gabriela Avram, to whom this city owes a huge debt of gratitude and high praise for her tireless efforts in promoting the city, educating the city and creating so many positive events that include the very successful 3D Camp amongst many more).

The problem with blaming the government for the lack of progress in dealing with job creation and economic success is that holding them responsible for something that they know nothing about is frankly, absurd. The government needs to create the right conditions for economic activity to take place: Infrastructure, Education, Security, Enabling Trade. There are some interventions that are super necessary - enterprise ireland, the IDA, regulators. But frankly, entrepreneurs have to be the small in SME. Nobody is going to do it for us.

What makes America great, in my opinion, is Americans. They take pride and responsibility. They've believed in the unbelievable and made it happen. Now its our turn: after all, where did most Americans come from?

Some of the many success stories in Limerick include: Analog Devices, Dell, Vistakon, Cook Medical, LIT, The LIT LEAP Programme, The University of Limerick - which includes Leroy, Aughnish Alumna, Wyatt and so many more.

Follow the Local Heroes Limerick campaign on Twitter via the hashtag #limerickurmylady and on Facebook: