Limerick Regeneration must be protected under new authority

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

THE GOVERNMENT are “dragging their feet” on the next stages of the Limerick Regeneration plan, said Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea, who fears “the axe is coming down” on the cost of the project.

THE GOVERNMENT are “dragging their feet” on the next stages of the Limerick Regeneration plan, said Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea, who fears “the axe is coming down” on the cost of the project.

But chief executive Brendan Kenny said all the funding for their next 25 projects are secure. Rather, he said the Government are examining how the work of the Regeneration agencies will be handled by local authorities, when the five-year term of the agencies expires next June.

“We don’t have the detail on that just yet. But the bottom line is Regeneration has to continue, no matter who’s in charge of it. A lot of progress has been made and we can’t allow that focus to be diluted in any way. We have to keep the momentum up as much as possible,” said Mr Kenny.

By contrast, Deputy O’Dea recently asked the Minister for the Environment in the Dail when the Government would reply to the proposals from Limerick City Council concerning alterations to the Regeneration master plan.

“I received a typical civil service vacuous reply from Minister of State Penrose. I got no definite timeline and no specifics in reply to my question, just a lot of waffle. It is obvious that the Government are dragging their feet on this issue to the detriment of the communities concerned,” said the Limerick deputy.

O’Dea said it appears as if the Government plan to “recalibrate and re-define the boundaries” of the massive scheme, and fears the upcoming Budget in December may level another blow to the plan.

“The axe is coming down, but how heavily I don’t know,” he added.

Mr Penrose stated local agencies are finalising and costing the plans under Phase 1, which are “currently being considered in draft form” by his office.

After years of demolition, construction started at the first new housing development in Cliona Park, Moyross, a number of months ago. This development is the first of 26 projects, with an investment total of €337m, which will be delivered under Phase One of the Limerick Regeneration Programme over the next four and a half years. Mr Kenny said he believes these plans are secure, with funding already secured for these projects in the last Budget. A new pitch for St Mary’s Park, costing €500,000, is also in progress, he said.