Social Regeneration is the only way forward

In 2007, the Fitzgerald Report stated that regeneration would be completed within 5 years. In 2008, the 'Master' Plans declared that it would take 10 years. Now the Limerick Regeneration Agencies say it will take 15 years. This is because the implementation of the 'Master' Plans is totally dependent on the property boom that recently imploded. Most economists believe that we won't see a similar boom for a least 20 years. This is not acceptable.

Already an opportunity to revolutionise community policing has been squandered and too much time and money has been spent on displacing people to clear the land for developers to build what would become ghost estates in the current economic climate.

It is our view that taxpayers money would be better spent on social regeneration. Our Communities are more than just bricks and mortar and we deserve better.

Since the publication of the Fitzgerald Report in April 2007, Limerick City Council has spent millions of Euro acquiring peoples homes for as little as €20,000 in exchange for rented accommodation in other estates.

Acceptance of the councils offer is conveniently interpreted as 'wanting to leave' and people lose their right to a new house in the newly regenerated area. Council tenants are also being re-located. Most of the people that have moved out are law-abiding and decent. But it should be acknowledged that in its rush to depopulate, Limerick City Council has also displaced some troubled families, denying them the opportunity of social regeneration.

This policy may not be illegal, but it is immoral. Simply put, it is taking advantage of the disadvantaged.The ongoing depopulation by Limerick City Council is undermining the hope and goodwill that residents initially had towards regeneration.

Perfectly good houses are being boarded up as people vacate and areas that used to look normal now look run-down and frightening. This degeneration process must stop.

We propose that, having first gotten the consent of nearby residents, Limerick City Council repopulate these houses with people already living in the area. This would enable people to stay in the area as they wait for their new homes to be built while freeing up houses for demolition.

Presently, Limerick City Council proposes to spend €2.8 million of taxpayers money to rent private houses in other estates and sublet them to people from regeneration areas.

However, our depopulation / repopulation approach would save millions in taxpayers money while at the same time revitalising parts of regeneration areas and raising the communities spirit.