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A Manifesto for Mayor

Brian Leddin TD

June 7th - An Election That Matters

Limerick will be the first county in Ireland where the Mayor is directly elected by the people. But it won’t be a Mayor in the traditional sense. This new office of Directly Elected Mayor will be much more than an ambassador for our county. He or she will have significant influence over the direction that Limerick - and the Midwest Region - takes in the years and decades ahead. Let me tell you how, if elected, I will use the office of Mayor to transform our city and county and the environment and economy that shapes our quality of life here in Limerick.

Why is it so important

I am passionate about the opportunity the new role of Directly Elected Mayor offers our region. 

I see the new Mayor having two primary opportunities: 

  • bringing a new level of drive and ambition to how our city and county council serves Limerick communities and its many economic needs, and 

  • being a powerful new voice demanding much more support and investment from our national government and state agencies 

Our city and county council can deliver more for our communities and help make  Limerick a better place to live and work for our generation and the next. We live in a country where too much of our resources and decision-making is located in Dublin. I will be an effective voice at national level on behalf of the people of Limerick.

A thriving environment is also an economic game-changer for Limerick. Being “green” is about supporting and trying to create the healthiest environment for us all to live in while also building an economy that is actually sustainable for ourselves and our children.

If you set aside the stereotypes, this should be everyone's goal but unfortunately it isn’t and therefore I feel compelled to get involved and fight for a better future for our county and city. 

For me there is no separation between our environment and economy. Our quality of life, the environment we live and work in, our public services, our transport options, the health and safety of our neighbourhoods, the state of our villages, the quality of our water, our towns and our city, are all directly affecting Limerick’s economic potential. One drives the other - a county and city with an exceptional quality of life for our families and communities, with an exceptional and sustainable infrastructure - is a vibrant and successful economy. 

If we build a world class quality of life and living environment for the Limerick region, we will also create an economic zone that attracts and retains the kind of investment which transforms Limerick and the Midwest region. 

We know where the old 20th century approach got us. The damage it did to our city and county still affects our quality of life, our poor infrastructure, whether it is the cost of heating our homes, the cost of sitting in endless traffic jams, the lack of suitable jobs for our children and graduates, the under-investment in Limerick’s towns and city centre. 

Therefore, more of the same is not the solution for Limerick. My vision is without doubt a 21st century outlook, one where we build a region that offers the quality of life that also delivers both the economy and the living environment that great regions everywhere are renowned for. 

That is my vision, it is how I see my genuine passion for our environment and a much better quality of life for Limerick also being an economic game-changer for the whole of Limerick. One will not happen without the other. 

In summary, I am unapologetic about having a bold and different vision for the job of Directly Elected Mayor. I would ask you to take a few more minutes to consider the issues and ideas that I have set out here that I would prioritise as Mayor.

About me

I was born and raised in Limerick, where I attended JFK primary school on the Ennis Road, followed by secondary school at Ard Scoil Rís. I went on to study engineering at the University of Limerick, followed by a masters degree in Renewable Energy Systems Technology, which I undertook at Loughborough University in the UK. 

As a youth I was actively involved in team sports, and played underage rugby with UL Bohemians and schools rugby with Ardscoil Rís. I am a lifetime member of St. Michael’s Rowing Club on O’Callaghan Strand and represented Ireland on the International stage at under-18 level, winning a gold medal at the Strathclyde Home International Regatta. 

I worked as an engineer, most recently with global multi-disciplinary design consultancy Arup. I was honoured to be elected to Limerick City and County Council to represent the people of Limerick City North, until my election to Dáil Éireann as TD for Limerick City where I currently serve. Following the election I was tasked by Minister Eamon Ryan with negotiating the key environment, climate and energy elements of the Programme for Government, on behalf of the Green Party, with my counterparts in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

I also contributed to the transport negotiations at that time, and helped secure unprecedented investment commitments for rail, bus and active travel infrastructure, and particular commitments to metropolitan rail in Limerick and the Midwest Region as well as commitments to strategic road infrastructure. Many of these are coming to light now. 

At the formation of Government I was appointed as Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action. In the following two years the Committee steered critically important climate and circular economy legislation through the Oireachtas including a new Climate Act. The Climate Act will positively influence how the country develops in the next 25 years in the way it brings about change in housing, planning, energy generation, agriculture, transport and other areas. 



We need to dramatically improve transport in Limerick and the Midwest Region to unlock its potential, transforming our quality of life while ensuring our economic success is sustainable. 

Getting transport right in Limerick is one of the key steps to ensuring our city and our county towns grow and thrive. As Mayor, I have a broad plan for using transport to help transform our region. 

My vision is to plan for the long-term, and deliver the short-term wins as fast as possible. 

We all agree that the traffic congestion, the endless commutes, the unsafe roads, and the lack of sufficient alternatives to sitting in cars are unsustainable. The problem is nationwide but I want Limerick to be the region that leads because this will make our way of life healthier, more affordable, and more sustainable. 

We must ensure that journeys are easy, safe, stress free, inexpensive and quick. But this is also a numbers game. Our transport systems must be able to carry large volumes of people. Why? Firstly, we are a growing region and we need capacity in our transport system to support that growth. In other words, growth cannot happen without that capacity. Secondly, people tend to travel at the same time in large numbers, i.e. parents dropping their children to school, commuters travelling to work, supporters going to a hurling match. And the third reason is to support local retailers. For most shops to succeed and thrive they need enough customers to be able to get to them. 

For all these reasons it is crucially important to develop high capacity and efficient transport systems. 

My vision is for the growth of Limerick to take place around a new and improved metropolitan railway system for the Midwest region. This has always been my vision, and I have been working in Government to lay the foundations for it for the past 4 years. 

It starts with new train stations, like the ones that will open in Moyross and Ballysimon. And new rail lines, like the re-opening of the Limerick to Foynes line. I believe a new rail link between the city and Shannon Airport is essential for the growth of our city. And more than that I want to see new train stations in other areas, connecting places such as Corbally, Parkway, Lisnagry, Mungret, Raheen, Dooradoyle, Patrickswell, Adare, Askeaton and Foynes. I want to see track upgrades along our existing rail lines so that we can have faster and more frequent services between Colbert, Limerick Junction, Ennis, Cork, and Galway. 

These rail plans are not simply about providing good public transport between these places; they can help transform our quality of life and help make our communities more sustainable and attractive to investment.

All of this and more is possible with a Mayor who takes a long term view, and plans for the future of a vibrant Midwest region. 

Some important road projects will also proceed in the coming years - the N/M20 road between Limerick City and Cork City was shelved by a previous government but has been reinstated by the current government, the Adare bypass has planning permission already and is set to be built in time for the Ryder Cup in 2027, and the new road to Foynes also has planning permission at this stage and will proceed by the end of the decade. The Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale bypasses are at an earlier stage of planning.

For many people there has already been considerable improvements in public transport, especially in the case of rural towns and villages having more frequent bus connections, and our all new electric buses in the city. We will work with the national bus service providers to accelerate even more frequent connectivity between our major villages, town and Limerick city and will have particular focus on timings so that students and workers have an alternative to costly car ownership and congested roads. 

And of course, we need to guarantee our streets are safe for people of all ages to cycle for their daily travel needs. My priority as Mayor will be to ensure we have safe routes for children to cycle to school. Independent travel at a young age is vital. For many of us that started with the trip to school. For children today, walking or cycling to school unaccompanied is no longer a safe option. Our streets present too many dangers with bigger, heavier and faster cars. My vision is that every child who wants to, can have a safe cycling route to school. This has the added benefit of taking thousands of cars off the roads, reducing congestion and ensuring that those who cannot walk or cycle are not stuck in endless traffic. 

I appreciate that these transport projects take a long time to deliver but we have suffered the consequences of too much short-termism. Long-term planning and investment is the key to truly successful regions and my determination to drive change that benefits multiple generations of Limerick people.


As we know, there are already many organisations working to solve our housing crisis. The crisis is a national one and has primarily been caused by the demographic changes that accompany a surging economy, and a failure to adequately plan for these a decade ago. Good plans are now in place at a national level and they are beginning to deliver at scale. 

It is important that Limerick, led by the new Mayor, takes advantage of both national policy and the funding that is available for housing development, and ensures that the best outcomes are delivered for our city and county. 

First and foremost, I want to see more investment and delivery of new homes by the Council. There is no one type of housing, and we need to plan for housing for single people, families, and for older people looking to downsize in their communities. 

I also want to see the Council making faster decisions at the local level that can help private development happen faster and I want to help speed up the decision-making process at national level so that more state-backed developments can get the green light. 

With particular focus on our towns and city, I will make it a city and county council target to rapidly increase the level of use being made of Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, and I will make it easier for people to access these important grants to get vacant and derelict properties back into use. 

I will want to ensure Limerick City and County Council is a leader amongst local authorities in securing national funding and delivering housing programmes with greater urgency.

I will ensure what we deliver is quality housing and not the quick fix developments that have created so many subsequent problems for residents and the surrounding communities, and,

I want to see that private developments are of an appropriate standard and add rather than take away from the existing and surrounding community. This should help minimise objections by ensuring development projects really do integrate with the community and local environment. 

If we truly want to revitalise our city and town-centres, we need more people living in them. As your Mayor, I will:

  • Zone for more city and town centre housing, through amendments to the Limerick Development Plan (2022-2028).

  • Zone for more suburban housing near soon-to-be constructed urban rail stations (see section on Transport).

  • Work with Uisce Eireann to ensure that the necessary water and wastewater services are in place to make housing developments viable in our county towns.

  • Work with Limerick 2030, a Limerick City and County Council vehicle, to incorporate more housing into sites under their control (e.g. the Cleeves site).

  • Lobby the Land Development Agency to ramp up housing developments on publicly owned sites working in collaboration with State bodies that currently manage and operate these sites (e.g. the Colbert Quarter, the Limerick Docks, Rosbrien ESB site).

  • Address vacancy and dereliction by accelerating the Council’s successful compulsory purchase program.

  • Make it easier to allow for “above-the-shop” housing renovations by cutting the expensive red tape restricting same.

  • Work to get hundreds more cost rental homes built in our city and surrounding towns, like the Mills in Castletroy where state-of-the-art new build 3-bedroom homes are being rented at €1,278 per month. People who rent in cost rental homes have lifetime tenure. 

Dereliction & Vacancy

Do you notice the decay and dereliction in many of our towns and in our city? There have been some worthwhile efforts but if we are to bring more tourism business to our city and county or we want to attract more jobs and investment, it is time to address this neglect. 

For me there is a direct link between the neglect of the environment we live in and many of the other problems we have at the local level, such as antisocial behaviour and the sense that our city and town centres are not always safe places. 

As Mayor, I will use all of the many powers and instruments already available to the city and council to ensure our villages, towns and our city are maintained properly. Limerick deserves better and as Mayor I will make this a priority. As well as the vacant property refurbishment grant, we must get more active with those that have allowed dereliction occur over the long-term, as this is blighting the economic and social potential of communities.

We can deliver new forms of housing and accommodation across the centre of our towns and city. This will also help revitalise retail activity and the wider social and economic life across our county and city.

Great Streets Plan - revitalization for our city and rural towns

As Mayor one of my top priorities will be to revitalise our city, and our rural towns. My priority is to ensure Limerick is a great place to live, work, do business and socialise. As Mayor, I will focus investment in regenerating our public spaces in partnership with community groups and businesses, small and large. 

Investment in our streets can include trees, street art, places to sit, wider footpaths, and formal and informal play spaces. This coupled with consistent funding for better street  lighting, cleanliness and waste management impacts how our public spaces ‘feel’, and whether they are attractive places for people to be. 

I passionately believe that if we make Limerick an exceptional place to live and work in, we will create an advantage for this generation and the next.

Starting with the historic mile from the Castle to the Cathedral in Limerick city, I will invest in creating a centre for living, for retail, for the arts and for a thriving day and night-time economy. I will plan for three additional such regeneration projects across the county of Limerick chosen in partnership with the local communities. 

More broadly, I will target key streets with preferential rates, direct capital funding and a campaign to secure central government funding, so that the city and town centres in Limerick receive the investment and support they desperately need. 

Clean Energy Hub

As Mayor a key priority of mine will be to develop Limerick as a Clean Energy Hub. The Midwest region already has huge potential to develop offshore wind, solar power, and bioenergy. These technologies will be essential for our future energy needs, and here in Limerick we offer a prime location for new businesses to set up and develop. My ambition is that Limerick will become the go-to place for education and training in green skills, with our universities and education institutes offering top quality training and upskilling for this highly skilled jobs market. 

Supporting green business and green jobs has the potential to provide great benefits for the people of Limerick. 

Many of these technologies go hand in hand with many of our existing businesses in the agriculture, industry and manufacturing sectors. As Mayor, I will bring together key stakeholders to ensure Limerick becomes one of Ireland’s strategic Clean Energy Hubs.

Sports & Recreation

As Mayor, I will make the delivery of civic, multi-sport, all-weather facilities across our county and city a priority.

Limerick’s sporting tradition is second to none - whether that be in GAA, rugby, soccer, athletics, triathlon, rowing, and much more. Sport is also proven as a positive influence for young people and provides a focus for youth at an age when they face so many influences, good and bad. For older generations sport and exercise helps us stay physically and mentally healthy. 

There are over one hundred sports clubs across Limerick but these are more than just clubs. They are tight knit, committed communities of volunteers, parents, supporters and, of course, athletes. Our clubs often have a long and proud heritage where memberships transcend generations of families and they are part of the fabric of our society. Sport, therefore, means more to many of us than simply competition. Many of us dedicate much of our lives to these clubs and communities and they have shaped who we are. We are proud of our successes, but equally proud of our involvement and our efforts to succeed. The sports clubs of County Limerick provide immense value beyond what we witness on the field or the track. The benefits to society are truly vast, in the form of health and wellbeing and in the way sport teaches and reinforces in our young people important values. For these reasons our sports clubs must be supported and nurtured. 

Much more revenues of the Council must be directed towards sport, and as Mayor I will commit to forming a unit to drive investment in this area. There are local regional funds for sport and recreation but there are considerably more at national level. 

If we pursue these funds proactively, in a planned manner, and with the support of communities and businesses, I believe we can drive the delivery of facilities such as multi-sport pitches as civic amenities for every major village and town across our county.

The community spirit shown in so many fundraising efforts by local sports clubs across our county is amazing. However, this reactive approach to funding often means the most capable clubs and communities make the most successful grant applications whereby those with less resources are less successful. This simply exacerbates the gap in amenities and means those areas most in need of intervention receive less resources. 

This is where a proactive city and county council should come in. We will map the localities and communities struggling with anti-social behaviour and a lack of alternative activities for youths and we will target and support those areas in the pursuit of both local and national sports and youth capital funding.

Again, it is this shift to a proactive city and county council outlook to supporting our communities that I see as being a practical change arising from there being a directly elected Mayor at the helm. 

Anti-social behaviour

There are many communities across our county and in our city who are constantly affected by anti-social behaviour. It affects people's sense of safety, it affects children and teenagers being able to play and socialise safely in their neighbourhood, it enables vandalism, and has a demoralising effect on our community spirit. It affects businesses too, due to vandalism and intimidation of customers.

The COVID lockdown period seems to have increased the level of anti-social behaviour on our streets and it has been allowed to become the norm ever since. We should not accept this - we need to be proactive in both responding to anti-social behaviour, and also to providing alternatives and interventions that offer alternative outlets. As directly elected Mayor I will demand a step-change in community gardaí numbers, their visibility and their actual intervention and application of the law for those disrupting our communities.

I will also pledge to drive the delivery of civic sports facilities that young adults can access and participate in, whether they be communal pitches, basketball courts, boxing clubs or indoor youth clubs. 

The key to anti-social behaviour is to be proactive, to not accept the gradual decline of public spaces and the loss of community spirit it causes. I see a direct link between this issue and the promotion of a healthier environment. 

We will select target areas across the city and county and will seek to prove that local government can be the solution to this problem plaguing many of our communities at present. 

A multicultural society

As Mayor, I will drive a strategy that means we get creative, proactive and innovative in ensuring we successfully integrate and accommodate the immigration that comes with being an open and thriving European country.

A multicultural, diverse, and tolerant Ireland is a good thing, and something we need to embrace so that the essential integration of people coming to Ireland to live is a success.

Our economy is thriving, employment is high, and funds for the critical investments we need, such as housing, schools and better transport, are now available to us. This strong economic performance is because we have an open economy where multinationals know they can access great talent and attract more talent from abroad. That inward migration and labour is also helping us deliver the key health services and infrastructure workers critical to our continued growth. 

This is not an issue to be ambiguous about or to pretend is not going to be a challenge. We are a tolerant people and people with a long history of emigration of our own. Moreover, the region that integrates successfully, will capitalise and benefit socially, culturally and economically, and so as Mayor I will give voice to a positive and solution-based response.

Business, Enterprise and Foreign Direct Investment

As Mayor, I can have a meaningful impact on our region's ability to further foreign direct investment in the Midwest. 

The multinational manufacturing sector is worth over €450 billion in exports and 37% of Ireland’s GDP. It drives employment in the Midwest region and attracts enormous investment, as we see currently with the delivery of the new Eli Lilly facility in Raheen. 

My focus as Mayor will be to help sustain this investment in the Midwest by supporting and prioritising the issues that will be key to sustaining FDI investment in our region. The primary issue is housing - it is key to ensuring the cost of employment is competitive and that those employees can be attracted and retained here. 

Water services and a secure and sustainable water supply is becoming an increasingly important aspect of maintaining large industrial activity - Limerick City and County Council is in a position to take a more active and long-term approach to our water infrastructure which can help position the Midwest for greater success in attracting and sustaining foreign direct investment.

Our third levels are another key component to our economic success - we need to invest in third-levels and support the cost of study for students. A little less tangible but also a key factor in attracting investment is the quality of life in our region, the social and cultural aspect to making the Midwest a magnet for further investment from international industry.


As Mayor I will be a strong support for the farming community across our county. Producing high quality, sustainable food is an essential business, and is fundamental to the future success of Limerick’s economy. It is no surprise however that how we farm, and what we farm is changing. Regulations are becoming increasingly complex and there are increasingly challenging environmental targets for this sector coming from national and European policy. 

I believe that sustainable farming practices with nature restoration as central is the only credible future for the farming sector. This means that as well as producing high quality food, we must ensure clean water in our rivers and lakes, protection for hedgerows, and space for nature to thrive. My priority for farming in Limerick is to ensure that all types of farming - both animal and tillage - remains an attractive industry for young people to enter, and provides a sustainable livelihood for our farming families.

Cultural and Natural Heritage

Limerick is rich in both cultural and natural heritage, and as Mayor I will ensure these assets are protected, conserved and restored. Learning from the past and looking after the future has always been important to me. I see our natural and cultural heritage as intrinsically linked.  

As Mayor I will ensure we invest in conserving our built heritage, and introducing more space for nature and biodiversity to thrive. This is important across both our urban and rural environments, and includes among others more trees, clean water and clean air.


Rates are one of the most important revenue streams for any County Council (€64 million in Limerick in 2023, or 26% of total revenues). Rate payers should feel satisfied that in paying the rates they are getting a fair return on investment from the Council in terms of provisions of services and other investments which will directly support the rate payer’s business. 

A part of the commercial rates income could be dedicated towards better waste management. For example, a communal waste collection company could be set up to collect food waste from businesses directly or from designated communal waste collection points. The waste would be transported into a local civic centre with anaerobic digester facility which will convert organic waste into biogas or biomethane, an important renewable energy source.


Limerick’s economy is hugely benefited by the third level institutions in the region - they attract 30,000 students, they employ thousands of people, and are the integral drivers of inward investment and job creation for the Midwest. Yet, there are real problems facing our colleges and our city needs to become much more active in supporting its third-level institutions. 

Many students in the Midwest face exhausting and costly commutes, rip-off rents, couch surfing and even the risk of homelessness. The root of this is a failure in planning and investment but it is also a failure of leadership. As Mayor, I will build a partnership between the city and county council and the three main third level institutions in Limerick - UL, TUS, and Mary I, whereby we will work together to transform the third-level education experience in our region.

I want to see the city and county council and the two major universities, UL and TUS, on the same page when it comes to the collective planning and development of our ‘university’ experience. Whether that is in the planning and location of their expanding campuses, much more student accommodation, the cultural/sporting/nightlife that students will expect from their ‘university town’, or in ensuring the governance and corporate values of these crucial Limerick institutions reflects the expectations of our society.

My commitment is to get active in this space, to leverage the considerable influence the city and county has with higher education in our region, to bring them together and for us to put the Limerick university experience on the table as a truly strategic priority for our region. 

We must also plan for our growing population, and ensure land and planning permission is granted for new schools so that there are enough primary and secondary schools for our young people in the years ahead.


Quality and affordable childcare and early learning services are among the most essential services our community provides. Investment in childcare has always been a Green Party priority and I am proud that at a national level we have reduced childcare costs for families by 25%, and we are working to reduce costs by 50% and more. 

Quality services are not only essential for our young people, but also give parents choice in how they balance working and parenting responsibilities. As Mayor I will welcome crèche, afterschool and early learning services co-locating in Council owned buildings, and will support the development of new community facilities for childcare services. 


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