A NUMBER of Southill residents who have erected road safety signage and are organising a community spring clean say they have had to take matters into their own hands after being “ignored” by the local Council-funded estate management group.
Concerned Residents of Carew and Kincora Park organised a coffee morning at the Maldron Hotel on Tuesday - the first of what they say will be regular monthly meetings where locals will try and do something about anti-social behaviour and intimidation, speeding, litter and other environmental issues affecting the community.
But the local KCK estate management group hit back on Tuesday at criticisms it wasn’t doing enough to clean up the area, saying they employ one man who works four days a week to clean up green areas and two FAS workers also litter-pick on the estates twice a week.
Patricia Boylan, community officer with the KCK, said litter problems in the area had got worse since one of the members of Concerned Residents of Carew and Kincora Park, local businessman Mark Heffernan, started selling takeaway food from his shop at Carew Park.
Mr Heffernan was recently at the centre of a high-profile trial at the Special Criminal Court that saw five associates of the Dundon-McCarthy criminal gang receive lengthy prison terms. The court heard that Mr Heffernan had been subjected to a campaign of intimidation over a business venture that went sour and he is now living under armed Garda protection for giving evidence that helped convict the gang members.
Mr Heffernan now runs a shop in his native Carew Park and says he is backing the Concerned Residents because the area was unrecognisable from the community he grew up in.
“When I grew up in Carew Park, it was a different neighbourhood to what it is now, totally different. The area is being neglected with nothing for kids to do. When I grew up, there used to be rounders, football, tennis – at the moment there is very little,” he said.
“You have the boarded-up houses, I counted more than nine last night. But I can see the problem will be where you have one blocked-up house, a neighbour will move out. It builds from that and we could end up like O’Malley (Park) and the neighbourhood could be gone.”
Estate management, Limerick City Council and Limerick Regeneration were not doing enough to keep the green areas maintained and grass was one-foot high before it was cut, Mr Heffernan said.
Residents were now taking matters into their own hands and a spring clean has been organised for next Tuesday, April 12. Mr Heffernan appealed for volunteers to assist in this effort to help pick litter, clean graffiti or remove white goods for the elderly.