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Who is John Moran, Limerick’s first directly-elected mayor?

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Once dubbed Ireland’s Mr Austerity, the man who is Limerick’s first directly-elected mayor is the former secretary general of the Department of Finance.

Former Zurich Bank banker John Moran held the role under then finance minister Michael Noonan at a time when Ireland was still grappling with the fallout from the banking crash and Ireland’s descent into the worst recession and depression it had experienced for years.

When he officially left the job in May 2014 after just two years, two months and two days, he said it had only meant to be a short tenure and he had only wanted to do his bit to help guide Ireland’s recovery.

He grew up in Limerick, where his parents moved when he was aged four.

Originally hailing from West Limerick and East Kerry themselves, they had returned from Birmingham to their farm near Patrickswell.

He later recalled: “I watched first-hand the struggles of my parents dealing with economic forces beyond their control.

“Nonetheless, my strongest memories are of a vibrant and enjoyable Limerick childhood filled with school, friends, activities and family.” 

Election poster for John Moran. Picture: Brendan Gleeson

He worked alongside his father on building sites while both his parents also worked on the family’s farm but also on his uncle’s farm in nearby Athea.

The first in his family to ever attend university, he studied law in UCD before being awarded a masters from the Wharton Business and Law Schools at the University of Pennsylvania.

He then went on to pass the New York bar exams and spent three years as a lawyer on Wall Street.

He returned to Ireland in 1990 and qualified as an Irish lawyer and duly became an associate of the Institute of Taxation of Ireland.

It was not long before he was back in the US and ran the New York office of top Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald, before spending a decade with Zurich Financial Services.

His career path took an unusual swerve when, in 2004, he moved to Paris where he learned to cook in the world-famous Cordon Bleu culinary school and learned to speak French at the equally renowned Sorbonne University.

Mr Moran has since held many positions, including helping set up the Land Development Agency, along with various management roles in Shannon Airport, and the Limerick Tunnel.

In late 2022, he opened up in a radio interview with Matt Cooper that he was at the time fighting bowel cancer.

It had been diagnosed after an intestinal blockage led to him being rushed to hospital at the start of that year.

Swift action by medics saved his life.

His survival was one of the catalysts for him to return to full-time public service.

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