What is your career background?
I worked as a student planner and assistant planner in Sligo, before going to Clare County Council for three years and I’ve been back in Sligo since 2008.
Over the years I have worked in forward planning, enforcement and development management. Up to recently, I focused mainly on assessing planning applications and pre planning consultations but my job has fundamentally changed in the last two to three years.
As our planning section started to focus more on public realm and urban/ rural regeneration projects, I assumed the role of project manager over this aspect of our programme.
What does your role involve?
A few years ago, the Planning Section commissioned a public realm plan for Sligo town. Just as we finalised the Plan, a new urban regeneration funding scheme was announced (URDF) by the Government. Myself and the Senior Planner of Sligo County Council worked on an application to the Fund and in summer 2019, Sligo County Council was awarded funding to work on Phase 1 of the implementation of the Plan. In May 2020, we submitted two further applications for funding and in March 2021, the Government announced €48 million for Sligo to fund two projects – the implementation of the Public Realm Plan and the City Campus project which is an exciting collaboration between Sligo IT, Sligo County Council and the IDA and will include a new County Library for Sligo on a brownfield town centre site.
So, at the moment, I am working almost full time now on driving those projects forward. I am currently working a masterplan for a central part of Sligo town, a wayfinding strategy for Sligo town and a public realm enhancement capital project for a network of town centre streets. I’m also working on rural regeneration projects for the coastal villages of Strandhill and Rosses Point.
What are the most rewarding things about working for a local authority?
I am from Sligo and very passionate about the town and all the County has to offer. I am eager to help the county to reach its potential so I find working for the council very rewarding, particularly in the role I have. It is great to secure funding and then get the projects started and watching them come together is amazing.
I have been very lucky, I’ve had great freedom to explore areas I am interested in, go after projects and drive them forward.
Why should someone consider a career with a local authority?
Working with a local authority, you’re a public servant, so you’re giving back to the community, and working for the common good.
There is scope to move to different sections, gain a variety of experience and work with lots of different people from different backgrounds and disciplines.
There’s the opportunity to move up through the ranks as well and from a planning perspective, you have the chance to work in a lot of different areas and get a lot of varied experience.