LABOUR councillor Tom Shortt says he is “shocked” at the conditions the Limerick Youth Service operates in on the northside.
Cllr Shortt joined Mayor Gerry McLoughlin for a walk around the youth service’s three centres.
The facilities in Moyross and Ballynanty are expected to be accommodated in a brand new state-of-the-art youth centre near Thomond Park.
But the plan is to be appealed to An Bord Pleanala by local residents.
Even if it clears this hurdle, councillors will have to vote to allow the youth service use the land.
With this in mind, the youth service is to invite all councillors to view the facilities they currently have on the northside - at the Family Support project in Moyross, the Watch House Cross Youth Cafe, and the Ballynanty Garda Youth Diversion Project.
Cllrs Shortt and McLoughlin spent a number of hours exploring the facilities: “We wanted to see what their plans are in full, so we can judge the situation properly. This is our way of getting outside our own area, and familiarising ourselves with the situation,” Mayor McLoughlin said.
He praised the “attention and care” the youth service puts into its projects.
But he declined to state whether he would back the youth service’s plan to build in Ballynanty.
However, he said: “Having all the facilities under one roof would be the proper way to govern this, and get the best value for money. Every area needs youth facilities, but the residents have strong arguments.”
One person who has backed the plan from the start is Cllr Shortt, who singled out the support project for criticism. “None of the buildings were designed for the services now using them. The Family Support project in Moyross has the worst conditions, where three council bungalows were knocked together to make one building, connected up by a narrow corridor and that the result is a warren of tiny dark rooms,” he said.
Conditions at the Ballynanty Garda diversion project are such that youth service staff have to pass through the offices of other organisations.
“There is pressure on space shared with other organisations limiting the amount of time that young people can use the service to stay in contact with youth workers,” he added.