RESIDENTS and businesses in Thomondgate in Limerick city are said to be “terrified” by the granting of planning permission for a new social housing project which Deputy Willie O’Dea claims will “complete the ghettoisation” of the area.
Members of the new Thomondgate Residents Rights Group have condemned the Mirth Development Project, which will consist of 18 one-bedroom apartments for people with long-term accommodation needs, located at Brown’s Quay.
Brenda Raels, who is a member of the group, said: “There are local residents here who are absolutely terrified including businesses in the area.”
She added that locals have witnessed “enough anti-social behaviour and fighting” in the Thomondgate area.
Last Wednesday, the council granted permission to Associated Charities Trust Ltd, which operates Thomond House emergency accommodation and Altamira long-term social housing in Thomondgate.
Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea said that this will “complete the ghettoisation of Thomondgate”.
He added that the community has “its fair share of social housing”, saying that there has been a “proliferation” of social housing in Thomondgate.
“People’s lives have become much more difficult with activities from Thomond House, and this is going to exacerbate those difficulties.
“A derelict site is not a very desirable thing to have in your area, but a derelict site is preferable to a site that is going to be occupied by a whole lot of people who are going to double the amount of problems caused in the area by Thomond House.”
Associated Charities Trust chairperson Brian Cronin said that he personally challenged Deputy O’Dea’s comments, which he claimed to be “all misinformation” and “incorrect”.
“I am certainly surprised that an elected representative would describe this development as such, or something that would ‘ghettoise’ the area of Thomondgate,” he told the Limerick Leader.
He said the Mirth housing project will target people with long-term housing needs, and will “definitely not” accommodate the type of clientele in Thomond House, who he said “would not be suitable”, due to the clients’ drug, alcohol and addiction problems.