was one on one, Paulie hated conferences; he didn't want
anybody hearing what he said and he didn't want anybody
listening to what he was being told." (Martin
We can expect
a fictional mafia boss to be less than democratic in his
dealings, but we should expect more from Brendan Kenny and
the Southside Regeneration Agency in its consultation with
the beleaguered residents of our troubled estates.
Contrary to what
was reported by some media outlets, the residents of Weston
Gardens Rosbrien are in favour of a "facelift".
We are, however, opposed to the demolition of our historic
I do not "believe"
that the residents of Weston Gardens Rosbrien are being
excluded from a residents committee that will discuss and
make plans concerning our homes, I know it.
I know because
that's what Mr. Kenny told me at one of our one on one meetings.
Nor do I believe
his reason for our exclusion; that residents from Ballinacurra
Weston would object to us because we are a private estate
and now apparently, neither does Mr. Kenny.
Indeed, a question
I would like to ask one to one is: how can a residents'
committee for Ballinacurra Weston be fairly established
without informing the residents beforehand or without holding
a public meeting, as was done in Keyes Park and O'Malley
At an earlier
one to one in July, Mr. Kenny assured me that people who
had sold their homes back to the council would be contacted
and offered "secure, good quality, housing within
the regenerated areas". He agreed that the council
had failed to make this guarantee and that this was counter-productive
to the regeneration process and would be stopped. This hasn't
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. Limerick City Council continues to 'buy' their
homes back for as little as €20,000, boarding them
up as they vacate.
does little to restore "confidence and stability"
and in the context of the Fitzgerald Report it 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 housed in communities that are suspicious
of them. After a year of renting from the council, these
people have the option to buy their new homes using the
€20,000 as a deposit. Without those promised "intensive
policing arrangements" this displacement will continue.
Mr. Kenny also
assured me, one to one, that I would see a "highly
visible Garda presence" based in our troubled estates
by Christmas. He then asked me to join a residents committee
and to furnish him with a list of like-minded people in
Mr. Kenny had obviously changed his mind and I was glad
that I hadn't given him that list. When I returned with
news of our exclusion the Weston Gardens Residents' Association
sent another representative to meet with him. When that
proved fruitless we sent him a letter by registered post
on 1st October. We had agreed to wait 3 weeks for a response.When
we received none we decided to publish a shortened version
of our letter.
I didn't write
that letter; it was a collective effort. Mr. Kenny's public
response was predictable; it is often the case that reasoned
debate is replaced by personalised attacks when a credible
answer is lacking.
that was offered to us was the opportunity to look at plans
after they were drafted. We rejected this offer. We had
little recourse left but to go public.
Our open letter
to Mr. Kenny may well have "horrified"
and "peeved" some, but oh, what a tangled
web they weave.