Concerned Residents Alliance
Open Letter to City and County Managers
17 January 2008
We are writing to
you on behalf of the newly formed Concerned Residents' Alliance
(CRA). Our Alliance was formed arising from an emergency meeting
of Limerick Residents' Associations, which was held to discuss
the lack of Community facilities, the increasing problem of
anti-social behaviour and the devaluation of property.
To date we are representative
of Residents' Associations and Committees from the following
City and County areas: Ballinacurra, Caherdavin, Castletroy,
Corbally, Dooradoyle, Patrickswell, Raheen, Rosbrien.
It is our view that
our local authorities are failing to fulfil their constitutional
obligations to local communities. We refer to Article 28A.1
of Bunreacht Na hÉireann, which states:
recognises the role of local government in providing a forum
for the democratic representation of local communities, in
exercising and performing at local level powers and functions
conferred by law and in promoting by its initiatives the interests
of such communities."
are most concerned about the failure of local government to
promote "by its initiatives the interests of such communities."
Our key areas of
- Garda Presence
- Local Amenities
- Council Liaison
- Estate Management
To begin with, it is important that we make the following points
- We welcome the
opportunity that the various regeneration initiatives present
for the improvement of our most neglected estates.
- We fully support
the Open Letter proposal from the various Community and
Voluntary organisations for the regeneration of St. Mary's
- We applaud the
recommendations of the Fitzgerald Report for the regeneration
of Moyross, Southill and Ballinacurra Weston and support
its undiluted implementation.
In relation to the
Fitzgerald Report it is regrettable to note that thus far, the
role of our local authorities has been counter-productive to
its successful implementation and to the interests of the Communities
The first recommendation
of the Fitzgerald Report is to "Put in place intensive
there needs to be a highly visible
Garda presence at all times in these estates in order to restore
confidence and stability in the communities." This is not
The daily reality
of living with criminal and anti-social behaviour makes law-abiding
people desperate to get away from it and live normal lives.
Our local authorities are currently taking advantage of this
situation and 'buying' their homes for as little as €20,000,
boarding them up as they vacate and turning homeowners back
makes no sense at all, as the very people that are supposed
to benefit from regeneration are being scattered to the four
corners of the city and placed into Communities that are suspicious
of them; forfeiting the right to a new home in the newly regenerated
exploitative policy of displacement is undermining the confidence
and stability of other Communities and is counterproductive
to the aims and objectives of the Fitzgerald Report. The policy
of purchasing houses in private estates to re-house people is
having a negative affect.
While we accept that
most of those who are re-located are law-abiding, some families
that might be described as 'marginal' or 'at risk' are causing
problems and disrupting once peaceful estates. Displacing the
problem has devalued property.
have been abandoned. It would seem that the present priority
of both the local authorities and the newly established regeneration
agencies is to pave the way for developers by clearing the land
- Garda Presence.
While we accept
that you have no direct power to implement Garda policy or
provide the necessary resources and manpower, you can demand
As manger, as a member of the Joint Committee on Policing
and as a member of the Limerick Regeneration Board, you are
in a position of influence that cannot be ignored.
We believe that better Community Policing can be achieved
through decentralisation of existing Garda structures with
the establishment of local bases that employ civilian staff
for general office needs. Due to the significant population
increase of recent years and despite the recent assignment
of additional Gardaí to the Limerick Division, current
levels of cover are by no means satisfactory.
- Local Amenities.
There is an urgent need to address the lack of
public amenities and Community centres in many of our estates.
This issue is of particular concern with regard to existing
tenants from areas targeted for regeneration. We fear that
marginal or at risk families would not have access to the
community services that they are accustomed to because they
are not available in other parts of the city and county.
- Council Liaison
We presume that the role of the liaison officer
is meant to be one of consultation and communication. However,
we feel that they have simply become an effective barrier
that prohibits the free flow of information.
- Estate Management.
There needs to be more co-operation between Residents
Associations and Local Authorities so that services may be
tailored to suit the needs of individual areas.
There is an ongoing problem with Landlords renting to tenants
that engage in anti-social behaviour. The remit of the Tenants
Enforcement office should be extended to deal with problem and
give legal support to local residents.
The subletting of property by Limerick city and county councils
through private landlords means that in effect these tenants
are no longer under the remit of the Tenants Enforcements office.
We would argue that these people are still in effect council
tenants and should be subject to the same rules as those renting
directly from the council. Defining these tenants as anything
other than council tenants is merely abdicating responsibility
on the grounds of a technicality and effectively undermining
confidence of the wider community in the council's commitment
to the area.
In conclusion we
see the Regeneration as an excellent opportunity to remedy existing
problems and make Limerick a positive example to the rest of
the country rather than a cautionary tale. We would hope that
what is put in place is not a stop-gap measure but a permanent
solution to the ills of the city.
We would like to
meet with you and discuss these issues with a view to finding
A reply within 7
working days would be appreciated.
The Committee Of The Concerned Residents' Alliance