‘World Class Limerick - Dynamic Reflections’ is a unique publication of more than 150 pages of articles by 70 contributors from a diversity of backgrounds. One-fifth of the articles are prepared by Thomond region engineers, who outline their particular experience and insight of working in Limerick. The aim of the book is to promote Limerick as a great place to live, work or visit. The book was compiled by John Garrett, chartered engineer, FIEI, who dug deep into his wealth of experience of living and working as a consulting engineer in the heart of Limerick city. He was inspired in a major way by the Engineers Ireland CPD Accredited Employer Standard, which highlights the importance of knowledge sharing and collaboration. Garrett approached some high-profile and other not-so-high-profile people to contribute to the book. Wise enough to know that any opinion, belief or conviction will only stand up if supported by authentic and well-researched evidence, he set about gathering compelling testimonies that portray Limerick as the world-class place he knows it to be. Garrett also believes that the engineering profession plays a lead, but often understated, role in the development and well-being of all of our communities. With the support of the Thomond region of Engineers Ireland, Garrett saw the opportunity to demonstrate that engineers can and do play a lead role in the development of the cultural life of society. With two books, ‘Be Inspired - Images and Stories of Limerick's True Leaders (Vols 1 and 2)’, already published and his obvious love of Limerick and the mid-west, Garrett had little difficulty in winning the trust of those who by their education or experience could be considered experts worthy of tendering evidence to show to the world that Limerick’s dynamism is well and truly alive.

'No city in Ireland is as fortuitously or scenically located as Limerick'

In a message for world-class Limerick, His Excellency, President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, has this to say: "No city in Ireland is as fortuitously or scenically located as Limerick, surrounded by rich fertile lands and at the mouth of our great national river. Over the centuries this ideal location has attracted Vikings, Normans and countless other guests and invaders. This is a lush region of the country with the river dominating the landscape". In another place the president adds, “while the modern, multicultural city is very different from the Limerick of my childhood, the character of the people and place remain as distinct and noble as ever. World Class Limerick Front cover onlyTo those who know Garrett, it will come as no surprise to find the medallion of the Thomond region chairman's chain of office proudly positioned on the specially commissioned, watercolour painting by local renowned artist Frank Bouchier on the cover of the book. Etched on this golden treasure is an image of Ardnacrusha power station which was commissioned in 1929 and represented a major technological advancement and a new milestone in international co-operation impacting on the cultural and economic life of this country. Through sheer resilience, commitment, determination and dynamism, Limerick now has three world-class third level institutions: the University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College – they are truly seats of learning to be envied. Limerick is home to many leading-edge companies, both multinational and SMEs. One article in the book entitled ‘The future of Engineering in the Mid-West’, written jointly by Paschal Meehan and Maria Kyne, both heads of faculty at Limerick Institute of Technology, refers to Limerick's transition to a knowledge-based economy and the Limerick for Engineering Partnership. This partnership is an industry-led initiative which has the full support of the education and training providers in the region. The primary goal is to increase both the quality and quantity of engineering talent (apprentices, technicians and engineers) available in the region. There are more than 20 companies represented in the partnership including Analog Devices, Cook Medical, Optel Vision, Stryker, Takumi Precision, Vistakon, Modular Automation and Zimmer, all of which have identified immediate opportunities in the manufacturing and services sector. Four pages of the book contain striking images of the Limerick for Engineering Showcase 2015, which was attended by more than 1,200 students, parents and teachers. Here they saw at first hand how the consortium of multinationals, SMEs, educational institutions, government and local agencies together with Engineers Ireland came together to showcase the engineering opportunities and careers that are available in the mid-west. The Limerick for Engineering Partnership is pooling its expertise and resources to develop short, medium and long-term initiatives to create a sustainable pipeline of technicians and engineers in the region and to promote the fantastic career opportunities that already exist and which are expected to grow continually over the coming years.

Looking towards 2030

Another article entitled ‘Looking towards 2030’ by Tom Enright, the present county manager of Wexford County Council, reflects on the work of the Limerick Reorganisation Implementation Committee, which was set up by the government in 2011 to oversee the amalgamation of the two Limerick local authorities. At that time, Enright, himself a civil engineer who also holds an MBA from Dublin City University, was seconded to work with the group which was chaired by Denis Brosnan, founder and former CEO and chairman of the Kerry Group, to work with the reorganisation committee for a 12-month period during 2011 and 2012. In this article, he recounts his role in leading the preparation of Limerick 2030 - An Economic and Spatial Plan for Limerick which provides the blueprint for the revitalisation of the Limerick economy and the €250 million redevelopment of Limerick city centre. Enright also emphasises the importance of arts and culture in building upon what was already good about Limerick and which formed the basis for Limerick being designated as Ireland’s first National City of Culture in 2014. He refers on the wealth of culture in Limerick, and states that “developing and marketing Limerick’s cultural offerings is key to attracting and retaining tourists”. Of course he didn’t forget to mention the Limerick College of Art and Design and Thomond Park often referred to as “the home of rugby”. Garrett sees Limerick as a place trying to be the best it can possibly be for the world rather than a place trying to be the best in the world. It is a place that wants to contribute and has talents in abundance, not only in engineering but also in arts, culture, fashion, sport and academia to maximise the contribution it can and is making. Limerick is a place that has learned from its own difficulties in recent decades. It has adapted and is now growing like never before. It is seen as an attractive place in which to invest and come to work, live and enjoy the many cultural and sporting activities that Limerick has to offer. The presence of Shannon international airport within a 20-minute drive of the city centre is a key attribute. Garrett is particularly proud of the fact that some of the most successful humanitarian organisations in the world are, or have been, led by Limerick natives: Fathers Aengus (RIP) and Jack Finucane, Concern Worldwide; Peter Ireton, founder and former chief executive of Bóthar and Sr Dr Miriam Duggan, who has been referred to as the Mother Teresa of Africa, are just three of the people that Garrett has had the pleasure of meeting and been inspired by. With a population of 192,000, the people of Limerick city and county have definitely punched above their weight in making a difference throughout the world. Many of our young engineers and other professionals have travelled to troubled hotspots, as they have from other regions, in gratitude for the opportunities afforded them, given freely of themselves and their talents in the early years after graduation. In producing this book Garrett’s hope is that ‘World Class Limerick’ will act as an exemplar for other regions and sectors of Engineers Ireland to reflect on their own history, heritage, strengths and achievements, so that they too will learn, adapt and grow by focusing on the contribution they can make to society at home and abroad. [caption id="attachment_25546" align="alignright" width="300"]Emma McKendrick, chairperson, Thomond Region, Engineers Ireland with Cllr Jerry O'Dea, Mayor of Limerick, John Garrett who compiled the book and Cathy Halloran, RTE Mid-West correspondent Emma McKendrick, chairperson, Thomond Region, Engineers Ireland with Cllr Jerry O'Dea, Mayor of Limerick, John Garrett who compiled the book and Cathy Halloran, RTE Mid-West correspondent[/caption] John Garrett is director of John T Garrett & Associates, consulting engineers, a former recipient of Engineers Ireland President's Award and an Alumnus Achievement Award from University College Cork for his work in relation to Third World development. He is a former chairman and current vice-chair of the Thomond region of Engineers Ireland. ‘World Class Limerick – Dynamic Reflections (Volume 1)’ was published by KPM Printing and Publishing, Ireland, and can be purchased from O’Mahony’s Booksellers www.omahonys.ie or directly from John Garrett who would be delighted to provide signed copies with personalised messages. He can be contacted at info@johntgarrett.ie. Price €20 plus P&P where applicable. All profits from the sales of this book will be donated to Milford Care Centre and Pieta House.