PATRICK Kiely looks out over the gate of his house, where he has lived for 27 years, and shakes his head as trucks come and go with new materials for the construction side nearby.
It is the first phase of construction under the Limerick Regeneration plan, and after five years and millions of euro of investment, the new build is far from complete.
“We’re not happy, not happy at all. That’s not progress, it’s a hindrance,” said his wife Peg, of Dalgaish Park, Moyross.
“It was the quietest little park in the whole of Moyross and all the kids used to play there.”
Her husband Patrick, 73, said it was a “beautiful green area” before construction began. “I’m not cribbing about it but it’s a bit big. They’re making out that it’s like something out of New York. But look at the colour of it. As one man said to me, it’s like the John Street flats.”
Patrick and Peg don’t want to complain, nor does Linda Wallace across the road, who has lived there for 37 years. Regeneration is meant to be about progress and building something better for the future. They just can’t see that happening yet.
“I have to be optimistic about it, and hope they’re going to get decent tenants in there, but we’re not happy about it. Where are all the local jobs that were promised?”
Her son Gerard points out that in an estate of 1,000 houses and countless tradesmen local people could have been employed, but they don’t know anyone from Moyross working on the site.
This new housing development, sandwiched between Dalgaish and Cliona Park, is the first building project to commence under the remit of the agencies since they were established in late 2007.
The 33 unit development comprises 13 houses and a courtyard style sheltered development for the elderly of 20 one and two bedroom apartments. It is the first of 26 projects, with an investment total of €337m, which will be delivered under Phase One of the programme over the next four and a half years.
The remit of the agencies has since expired and responsibility for the future of the regeneration plan has been passed to the local authority.
Speaking to residents about their concerns for the future of the area, Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea said he believes the new authority “can’t do any worse” than the instigators of the plan: “Now that the City Council are back in control I have a lot more confidence in the situation.”
Deputy O’Dea said the “danger is that history could repeat” itself with the project, as he described the new units as “cramped” and being unfit for the elderly, who he believes would not want to move to Moyross or live in a multi-storey block of apartments.
“Why are they building houses on top of other houses in an already congested estate when there are acres of green space here? There’s no way they’re actually going to get elderly people to come to Moyross.
“They seem to look nice from the outside but they’re very small, very cramped and I think the density is too high. The big drawback is they are built on top of an existing estate when there’s so much land going a-begging.”
“This has been going on for so long. There’s no foreseeable end to it [regeneration],” he said.