“THEY’RE not apartments or houses, but homes.”
Those were the words of Brian Geaney, of the Regeneration project, as the first units under the scheme were opened this Monday in Moyross.
“Today is one of the most important days in the lives of the residents but also in the life of the regeneration programme,” said the chief executive officer at the Office of Regeneration.
Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan handed over the keys to the 13 houses and 21 apartments to their new owners in an emotional ceremony, in Cliona Park, Moyross. “This really is a momentous moment for the Regeneration process,” said deputy O’Sullivan.
Among those to receive the keys to their new home was 85 year-old Josephine Loughlin O’Farrell, who moved into a two-bed apartment.
“I’ll miss my bath in Dalgaish Park, but that’s all I miss,” she told the Limerick Chronicle. Josephine, who met her late Limerick husband in New York when the Twin Towers were built and later moved to Limerick, said she’s looking forward to having her brothers in Australia come to stay with her during matches at nearby Thomond Park.
Another couple who couldn’t contain their happiness was Kelly Daly and Brendan Harte, who are moving into a three-bed house after 11 years in Dalgaish Park. Their six daughters, aged four months to 13 years, got their first look at their new home on Monday. “I’ve been packed since before Christmas,” laughed Brendan. Like many others, the couple had their bags ready, waiting to go.
After five years on the housing wait list the day they had hoped for had arrived.
One young couple Donna Wallace, 24, and John Duffy, 27, said they were “speechless” after receiving the keys to their new home.
Fr Tony O’Riordan, parish priest in Moyross, said its population has been “decimated” by the council’s relocation programme, falling from 5,000 to around 2,200. “There’s no community in Ireland that can deal with that sort of population decline,” he said.
Mayor of Limerick, Labour councillor Gerry McLoughlin, said he hopes the new residents in this €4.6m development “make them the most wonderful homes God has ever invented.”
Minister O’Sullivan said in the region of €30m was allocated to the Limerick Regeneration scheme last year, and a figure close to that is expected to be announced this week for 2013. Construction in Vizes Court is expected to be completed this year, while the development at Lord Edward Street is at a “detailed design stage”. Approximately 100 new homes will be delivered this year to people under the Regeneration scheme. She said the Regeneration programme “has been pulled back on track” after having its “ups and downs”.