We are a united group
of Community and Voluntary organizations working in King's Island,
and are representative of the Community of St. Mary's Park and
the wider King's Island / St. Mary's Parish. We wish to express
to you our collective view on the Regeneration Project currently
under way in relation to St. Mary's Park, and for which Limerick
City Council are responsible under your management.
At the outset, we wish
to make the following points entirely clear:
- We welcome and applaud
the Regeneration Project initiative.
- Regeneration should
not be construed as other than a positive and refreshing approach
to the persistent social and environmental problems which beset
our Community here in King's Island and in the wider community
of Limerick City as a consequence.
- We do not wish to
place any unreasonable obstacles in the way of the Project's
Having said this, the
Community now both wants and needs a clear expression of POLICY
from Limerick City Council which sets down the following basis
for achieving our mutual goal of a safe, pleasant, and stimulating
environment for working and living on King's Island and in St.
Mary's Park in particular.
- Recognition by Limerick
City Council of the strong and rooted sense of COMMUNITY existing
in this place, and all of the formal and informal networks and
organizations which that entails.
- A clear, transparent,
and accepted process for Consultation with the Community must
form the primary CONSENT with which the Council can proceed
with the Project.
- A clear statement
from the Council that the existing residents have RIGHTS which
must be respected from the outset.
It is our considered
view that the conduct and management of the Project to date has
been seriously deficient in the following areas:
- The Consultation
process has bypassed Community representatives and has been
minimal and selective in its scope.
- The Consultation
process has not given sufficient ongoing feedback to Residents
and Community Groups.
- The marketing and
media reporting of the Project has not been managed well leading
to alarming and ill-informed speculation as to the eventual
As a consequence of
the above there is a deep unease within the Community which has
created ill-informed rumours and the suspicion that there is a
secret other agenda at play, which seeks to displace the existing
residents and condemn them to an uncertain future in another location.
We call on you to give a clear and unambiguous message to us and
to the wider Community that such an agenda does not exist, and
such rumours have absolutely no foundation in fact.
That said, and to counter
any perception of negativity on our part, we wish to outline now
what we have gleaned from our contacts within the Community as
its principal wants and needs in relation to the project and call
on you to adopt these as the primary generators of change within
the context of the Regeneration Project:
- Housing - A Key
for a Key:
It has been established by us that a substantial majority of
the existing residents are fearful of losing their homes and
their place in this Community and, to ease their fears in this
regard, they must be given the following options in any scheme
- If they are
Limerick City Council tenants:
- They must
be offered a home in St. Mary's Park or a home in another
location acceptable to them, under the same terms of
- If this
involves temporary displacement, you must conclude
a legal agreement with them assuring them of a home
in St. Mary's Park, within an acceptable and reasonable
time, if this is their wish.
- If they are
- They must
be offered a home in St. Mary's Park in exchange for
their existing house, without penalty. OR
- They may
choose to relocate, and if so, they must be given the
means to secure such a home by the Council (or other
parties) purchasing their home at a market value which
reflects the value of a new house within the redeveloped
St. Mary's Park.
- It is recognized
that any such scheme must not allow compensation to
house owners for more than one house, that is, their
- An Integrated
Community: The Community recognizes that for its long term
social health there is a need for new people to come to the
area. The Regeneration plans must envisage a cohesive social
mix by integrating private and public housing within the context
of the overall development of King's Island as a whole. It further
recognizes that the Regeneration Project should facilitate this
expansion of population in the King's Island area and welcomes
all and any new arrivals.
- A Safe Community:
The Community requires that any proposals for Regeneration must
address the issue of crime to rid the area of those criminal
elements which have wrought such devastation upon the Community
through violence, drug abuse, and intimidation. The Community
calls upon Limerick City Council to ensure a comprehensive Garda
plan for addressing the crime issue to be integrated to and
become an ongoing part of the Regeneration Project plans, and
that this should include the provision of a CCTV system within
the whole area of King's Island
- Improved Infrastructure:
The provision of a "Village Centre" to serve the expanded
- Shopping and
other retail services
- Health Centre
- Community Centre
and other family oriented facilities for children and young
- Education -
improve existing primary school and Adult Education facilities
- Sport and Leisure
facilities - the Community recognizes particularly the role
of sporting facilities and the support of sporting clubs
in addressing the alienation of young people in our society.
- Enterprise and
Employment: The Community recognizes that the stimulation
of enterprise and resultant local employment will serve to stabilize
and develop confidence within the Community and calls on the
Regeneration Project to consult with local and national business
and enterprise development agencies to facilitate such development.
The Community recognizes, and is intensely proud of, its physical
heritage and its associated historical resonance. As the original
location of one of Ireland's oldest urban communities dating
back to Viking times, the physical heritage of King's Island
is unsurpassed in Irish terms. However the Community also recognizes
that it has not realized its considerable tourism potential
due in part to the social and economic condition of its host
community. Any improvement in the environmental and social infrastructure
of King's Island is bound to lead to tourism development and
associated employment and business opportunity. This potential
must be recognized in the development of the Regeneration Project.
- Waterfront and
Water Based Amenity: The beautiful physical setting of King's
Island and St. Mary's Park has potential for the development
of a strong waterfront based amenity. The Community wishes that
this potential be developed for the benefit of all residents
and to attract visitors. Any such development should also respect
the environmental integrity of the Abbey and Shannon rivers
and their associated flora and fauna.
- Links: The
Community recognizes that one of the ongoing difficulties with
St. Mary's Park is one of physical isolation from other communities
in the City.The establishment of physical links to Moyross/Thomondgate
and to Corbally (and its railway line) are seen as vital to
future integration of St. Mary's Park to the wider City community.
Other less tangible links, such as that to UL and LIT through
educational and sporting links, are possibilities which should
be explored in the context of Regeneration.
The Community considers that the adequacy of proposals for the
ongoing management of the area -community liaison, waste disposal,
estate management, environmental protection, Garda presence,
etc, -are the cornerstone of any successful implementation of
Regeneration. Consultation and agreement on these issues must
form part of any final plan for the area.
Community Development: Lastly, the Community calls on Limerick
City Council to ensure that existing Community structures and
organizations are respected and developed in any proposals so
that the historic integrity of "The Parish" community
is reinforced and built upon for the benefit of both our Community
and that of the wider City.
We trust that this
will be taken in the same spirit in which it is given, one of
positive and proactive challenge to you to respond to the Community's
expressed and united wish for an agreed vision for our area and
the Community looks forward to your early and equally positive