FRUSTRATION has been expressed at the length of time it takes Limerick City Council to re-let properties after vacant units at Carew Park were vandalised over the weekend.
A boundary wall separating front gardens at Swallow Drive was knocked over by youths on Sunday night while a local man had his car window smashed in around the same time.
According to resident Pat Begley, the houses have been vacant for over a year while it has been “at least six months” since Limerick City Council carried out repairs in advance of re-letting.
“We are always being told there’s 3,500 people waiting for houses in Limerick but the Council is just leaving them there after putting thousands into them. If houses are left there, young fellas will try to get in and they are a magnet for anti-social behaviour,” commented Mr Begley.
“Limerick City Council has to start showing some responsibility. They always say they are the housing authority and it’s time for them to start acting like one. They can’t blame Regeneration now because Regeneration are gone. The residents of the area want those houses given out to families before something happens to them.”
Community officer with the local estate management group Patricia Boylan said that while making background checks on potential tenants took time, residents wanted the Council to move quicker to re-let properties.
“One of those houses is vacant for a year and we have been at pains to get City Hall to house people there. We do have a huge issue with the length of time it can take to bring houses up to standard and re-let. Obviously the council has procedures to go through, including vetting by the gardai, and that is something we absolutely support because we have had problems in the past with people being let into houses without the proper checks.
“Still, with the new management of regeneration areas we hope they can speed this up where possible,” Ms Boylan said.
Ms Boylan said she had reported the vandalism at Swallow Drive to the Council first thing on Monday morning and that contractors had come to remove the rubble within a couple of hours.
She believes local children and teenagers are responsible. “It is children belonging to people in the area who are doing the damage and parents need to start taking more responsibility for what they are up to,” Ms Boylan said.
A number of calls were made to Limerick City Council, which had not responded at the time of going to press.