Blanaid McKinney (second right) the new Enniskillen Town Centre Manager, is pictured being welcomed by Mr. Malcolm Sloan, Chairman of Enniskillen Town Centre Management Board. Looking on are (from left) Ita Phillips, community representative; Bryan Graham, vice-chairman and Frank Britton, representing Fermanagh District Councillors.

Blanaid hasn’t lived in Fermanagh for years and she’s amazed at just how much Enniskillen has changed. “I liked going to school here, but being a teenager and being a schoolgirl here is different from coming back and being the Town Manager,” she says.

“When I went to school it didn’t seem particularly vibrant. Coming back, I’m impressed there’s a massive shopping centre, a huge big Safeway, a very modern thriving retail sector. It’s very busy and bustling.”

Blanaid started her post as the new Town Manager on Monday and plans to spend the first few weeks getting to know everyone - “tramping the heather, working the beat”.

She says plans will remain a bit up in the air until she starts to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and find out what people want.

Born and bred in Lisnaskea, she attended Mount Lourdes Grammar School and then studied politics at Queen’s. She went on to study in London before working on economic development in Aberdeenshire, followed by a five-year stint as town manager in Greenwich, south London.

The area is up there with the Taj Mahal as a World Heritage Site, thanks to the famous meridian.

As a district of a huge city, Greenwich contrasts enormously with Enniskillen but many of the concerns are exactly the same. “There are many of the same strategies that are applicable anywhere, whether in part of a large city or a market town,” Blanaid says.