The Irish Examiner - Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Council paid for paint in anti-agency mural

By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

PAINT used on a large house mural, lampooning the agency charged with the regeneration of Limerick’s sprawling council estates, was paid for by Limerick City Council, it was confirmed yesterday.

The mural was painted by community activist, Cathal McCarthy as his way of protesting at the exclusion of his small estate from the regeneration programme.

Limerick City Council has confirmed that the mural, which depicts a Simpsons scene and a wrecking ball, was done with paint paid for by the council.

Mr McCarthy said: "The protest mural has been well received. It shows how we feel about the whole regeneration project."

Mr McCarthy, a painter and decorator, spent two days working on the mural on the gable end of a boarded-up house in Weston Gardens, where he heads the residents’ association.

Mr McCarthy said residents are angered at the news the nine terraced houses in Weston Gardens have not been included in the remit of the Southside Regeneration Agency.

He accused the regeneration agency of showing contempt for his area.

A spokesman for Limerick City Council said it had provided funding to Mr McCarthy to do some paint work to improve the area’s appearance.

He said: "We did not know it would be used to protest at the regeneration agency. We decided to help with the cost of painting. We did not know that it was going to be this mural. It was to improve the appearance of the end of the terrace as it faces into a boundary lane where it accesses Rosbrien Road."

The head of the two regeneration agencies set up in Limerick, Brendan Kenny, has taken the message from Mr McCarthy’s mural in good spirit.

Mr Kenny said: "I don’t think the Simpsons would allow an organisation to bully them into submission and I don’t think the residents in Weston Gardens would allow it either."

Three houses in the estate were acquired by Limerick City Council in 2005 after they were burned out.

But plans to refurbish them were halted in the belief the estate would be rebuilt as part of the regeneration programme.

Mr Kenny has denied claims by residents their estate had been excluded from the regeneration programme as most of the houses are privately owned.