The Limerick Leader - Saturday, 28 August 2010.

Locals criticise Limerick City Council for rejecting plan to clean up estate

By Nick Rabbitts

A NEW residents' group in Ballinacurra Weston has criticised Limerick City Council for not allowing them to clean up derelict houses in the estate.

Ballinacurra Weston Residents' Alliance (BWRA), which met this week, approached the local authority to clean up empty in the estate, as well as the areas around them.

However, they were told there would be issues around insurance to enter derelict houses, as well as various other health and safety issues

But the alliance now says it will go ahead with a clean-up, with or without the Council's agreement.

The director of southside regeneration, Brendan Hayden, has issued a "come and get me" plea to the residents, saying funding may be available to allow them clean up the houses.

Alliance chairman Matt Collins said the Council's refusal to allow the group to enter houses and clean them "beggared belief".

He is concerned that children in the estate may be injured because the Council had yet to secure the properties.

"It's because of health and safety issues that we wanted to clean up the properties in the first place. We've asked the Council to secure these properties. It's only a matter of time before a child gets injured, or, worse, killed. I've witnessed kids from outside the area running along the roofs throwing stones at property and passers-by," he said.

Former local election candidate Cathal McCarthy, the alliance's PRO, added: "Residents need to see practical improvements now, not in 20 years' time when the market has recovered. Most of the money that is earmarked for regeneration is for roads and other infrastructural works. This begs the question: whose benefit is regeneration for - the developers or the residents? It's about time that Limerick City Council and the Regeneration Agency started to listen to residents and engage with our alliance in a meaningful and honest way."

Contacted by the Limerick Leader, Mr Hayden said the regeneration agency would be willing to facilitate a community clean-up of littered homes in Ballinacurra Weston.

"It is our aim to keep the areas as clean as possible. Generally, if there is a request made to the agency for a clean-up, we will do it, or organise a group to go in and do it. We would have no difficulty in organising something in Ballinacurra Weston. We could organise Southill House to do the same (provide the equipment) on a one-off basis until the group is equipped and covered. It's a great way of getting the community involved, and have them taking ownership of their own areas," he said.