Limerick City Council looking at ‘house for a house’ possibilities

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

COUNCILLOR Maurice Quinlivan has raised concerns over homeowners in the regeneration estates not getting ‘a house for a house’.

COUNCILLOR Maurice Quinlivan has raised concerns over homeowners in the regeneration estates not getting ‘a house for a house’.

When homeowners transfer from old homes in the estate to new build properties, there are fears that they will revert to being tenants of the council - or they might not get a home of an equivalent value.

And with the new housing project for the elderly in Cliona Park ready to open, there are fears this could happen.

But Oliver O’Loughlin, the council official responsible for the project, said the prevention of this is being looked at.

“Whether or not it was written down, a commitment was definitely made [by former regeneration boss Brendan Kenny],” Cllr Quinlivan said.

He also called on the council to refurbish the homes of people living in the estates - rather than just homes which become vacant.

Meanwhile, Jim Prior, who sits as a sectoral interest on the housing committee called for the creation of apprenticeships for youngsters living in the regeneration estates.

Mr Prior, who works for the Southill Family Resource Centre, told the meeting that many people were told that if they took a course, they would get a job on a building site under regeneration.

But because the process has stalled in recent years, this never came to pass.

Another sectoral interest, Mike McNamara, president of the Limerick Trades Council, said local employment must be the end goal.

“Local employment must be the goal. There may be qualified people who cannot get a job and mortgage. Making more apprenticeships available but having no jobs at the end of it is a waste of funding,” he said.

Mr O’Loughlin confirmed €35m is to be spent on regeneration this year, with a blueprint set to go to government shortly.

The new scheme will be more focused on refurbishment and retrofitting of homes.

Asked by councillor Michael Hourigan of a renewed timeframe for the works, Mr O’Loughlin said: “We need to get the plans agreed. The sequence can go on from there. Unless we have plans agreed initially, it makes it very difficult. If we show what we can do, it will generate more income in the long run.”

Labour councillor Joe Leddin welcomed the allocation of funding for regeneration, saying: “A lot of large urban centres would like to get their hands on this money, so we must be very grateful for this boost.”