THE first steps towards setting up a community council in Mungret have been taken. On Monday night, dozens of people attended a meeting in the Mungret soccer clubhouse to discuss the initiative and a steering committee has now been put in place.
“This is an historic event as, up until the establishment of the Mungret Community Alert ten months ago, the village and surrounding town-lands had no unified voice, power or direction,” said Nigel Mercier who is chair of Mungret Community Alert and now also a member of the steering committee and who chaired Monday’s meeting.
Invited guests were James O’Neill from Muintir na Tire and Paul Moriarty of the Limerick Volunteer Centre, both of whom gave practical advice and tips on setting up a community council.
A community council is essential for any community in order to avail of grants from the local authority, from Europe or from the Leader programme, Mr O’Neill told the gathering. And it was his experience that communities changed for the better as a result of having an effective community council. In ten years’ time, residents will clearly see the changes in Mungret, he said encouragingly.
The necessary first steps were outlined: to establish a steering committee who will define the Mungret boundaries and then to oversee the election of the first Mungret Community Council.
The steering committee members are Nigel Mercier, Gerry O’Dwyer, Jim Williams, Noel Scully, Anne Fitzgibbon, Donal Fitzgibbon, Vidette Molyneaux, Cam O’Donoghue and Kieran Cusack.
The absence of a united voice or council in Mungret has meant that the village has been ignored and overlooked by Limerick County Council over the past 20 years, Mr Mercier told the Limerick Leader. As a result, footpaths, pedestrian crossings, bus shelters, landscaping and other items have never materialised.
The long-awaited multi-euro sewage scheme is now being installed, the first major project undertaken in many years. But the community is concerned that after suffering severe disruption, noise and dirt for many months, the village will simply be restored to its 20th century state – with no improvements.
“With the Mungret sewerage scheme, there is some development and now would be a good time to start looking at the Mungret area and to start spending some money to improve the public realm and provide pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes and footpaths,” Cllr James Collins told the Limerick Leader earlier this year.
Under the local area plan for the Southern Environs, lands had been zoned for new schools and a neighbourhood park.
“We need to follow that up,” Cllr Collins said. There was a need for a more detailed plan for the village itself, he argued, even though councillors had been told there were no funds for some of the work needed in Mungret. “Let’s have the plan ready if we do get funds.”