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Ballinacurra Weston Residents' Alliance
Weston Gardens Residents' Association


The Weston Gardens Residents' Association (WGRA) was the only independent residents' group in the designated Southside regeneration area when regeneration first came to town in 2007.

The WGRA had secured funding from central government for the regeneration of our small estate in 2006 and plans were advertised in 2007, but were suspended pending publication of the Fitzgerald Report.

The WGRA had negotiated for six years with Limerick City Council to regenerate our area, and while we were not entirely happy with the Plans it was a 'take it or leave it' situation.

Our Cathaoirleach (chairman), Cathal McCarthy, spoke to John Fitzgerald in March 2007 and was told that Weston Gardens was not part of his report. Despite this and despite not being mentioned in the Fitzgerald Report, Limerick City Council insisted that we were to be included.

We welcomed the publication of the Fitzgerald Report and supported most of it's recommendations.

Our Cathaoirleach had several meetings with the CEO of the Regeneration Agencies, Brendan Kenny, from June 2007 to September 2007 and made it clear that we were opposed to the demolition of our homes. We were assured that this was not a problem and were asked to help set up a committee for the general area.

In September 2007 we were told that there were objections from residents in Ballinacurra Weston to our participation. We didn't believe this and decided to write to Mr. Kenny. If we hadn't received a reply within 3 weeks we would publish the letter.

On Wednesday, October 24th, 2007 we took out a full page ad in the Limerick Leader: We Won't Play Your Regeneration Game!

While we adopted a hard-line in the letter;"We have no faith, trust or confidence in the Southside Regeneration Agency and do not wish to be included in its remit.", we hoped that this would act as a catalyst to kick-start formal negotiations.

We were successful and a series of meetings were held between the WGRA and the Southside Regeneration Agency (SRA).

We negotiated directly with SRA CEO Brendan Kenny and SRA Director of Regeneration Brendan Hayden.

In November 2007 we were told what was possible for our estate through regeneration without demolition. We were also told that we could expect between €200,000 - €150,000 for our homes should we decide to sell. This was conditional on every household agreeing to sell. We explained that we weren't interested in selling for that price as most of our residents are mortgage free and want to stay.

In December 2007 we presented Mr. Kenny with formal proposals for the regeneration of our area, entitled Renewal, Integration, Regeneration, our proposals were based on what we were told was possible


To say the least, Mr. Kenny was not pleased and ultimately refused to acknowledge that the Agency had received proposals from our association in their Vision Document, which was to be published in January 2008.

We were given an opportunity to read a draft of the Vision Document and asked to submit changes. When we asked that Agency simply acknowledge reciept of our proposals we were told that it had already gone to print.

We contacted the printers, whose details were on the draft, and found out that it wouldn't go to print for another week!

When it was published, the Agency's Vision Document stated that "The agency will work closely with the residents of Weston Gardens, adjacent to Clarina/Crecora in development of solutions to the serious problems that they have over the years". That never happened.

In March 2008, the Agency disengaged with us because of our refusal to participate in the local residents forum without representation on the Southside Regeneration Committee. We also had concerns that pressure would be put on us to agree to the demolition of our homes and that when we wouldn't, we would be blamed for 'holding up regeneration'.

Once again, we found ourselves negotiating in public. Mr. Kenny started by making an announcement on 3rd June at a public meeting that our area was not under the remit of the SRA and that our homes "would not be touched" as they were "privately owned".

We responded by issuing a press release, which was reported and severely edited by the Limerick Leader; the article quoted Brendan Hayden as saying that the Agency is waiting for us to make up our minds and would welcome any proposals or suggestions we might have, but neglected to say that the Agency had received proposals from us in December 2007.

We took out another full-page ad in the Limerick leader, publishing an abridged version of our proposals:


Brendan Kenny responded by requesting 'one on one' meetings. This time we were offered between €150,000 and €100,000 for our homes, we were told that the price had lowered because of the downturn in the market. Once again we refused.

We were then told that the SRA was handing us back to the Council, which no longer had the money to regenerate our area. We informed Mr. Kenny that we would be seeking a Judicial Review of his decision and we were quickly reinstated, with the promise that we could write our own piece for the 'Master' Plans.

This wasn't to be, instead we were to edit the Agency's version. This proved to be an ordeal and as a result there are two different versions in the public domain.

The printed version states "...Weston Gardens should be included in the southside regeneration process...", whereas the online .pdf version states "...Weston Gardens will be included in the southside regeneration process..."

Although we had submitted our changes before the 'deadline', again we were told that they had already gone to print!

The online version reads as follows:

Weston Gardens

Weston Gardens is a private housing estate consisting of nine terrace houses three of which (no.1-3) were burnt out in 2001. Limerick City Council acquired these derelict/empty houses in 2005. This small estate has endured problems with illegal dumping, criminal and anti-social behaviour. There are also problems with access to and exit from Lord Edward Street i.e. narrowness of road and no turning point, and as a result refuse collection lorries cannot enter the estate.

As a result of all this Weston Gardens will be included in the southside regeneration process and further discussions and negotiations will be held with owners/residents in order to seek agreement on a long-term solution. Inclusion in the regeneration process will not require demolition.

We have written to Mr. Kenny and the SRA several times since in an attempt to discuss matters further. Our correspondence continues to be ignored.