THE second phase of a housing development which has “made a huge difference to the lives of residents” has been officially opened in Croom by Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan TD.
Phase two of the Towerfield development which cost in the region of €600,000 is specifically designed for single persons aged 40 to 60. It consists of eight, one-bed apartments.
Paying tribute to the work of Croom Voluntary Housing Association in bringing the project to fruition, Minister O’Sullivan said: “Croom Housing Association has demonstrated tremendous vision and determination since it was formed in 1999.”
The first scheme of the development built in 2005 cost approximately €1.9 million and consists of 17 houses - one three bed house and 16 two-bed houses for the elderly.
“The first scheme, specifically for elderly people, has made a huge difference to the lives of local residents and importantly allows elderly people to remain in the heart of the community they love and to continue to contribute to the vibrancy of the community. It also caters for a significant number of returning emigrants,” said Minister O’Sullivan.
According to the Labour minister, voluntary and co-operative housing associations have a key role to play in social housing provision in the coming years.
“The sector will undergo significant change to meet changing circumstances and I am confident that the sector will rise to those challenges and continue to develop and manage much needed developments such as Towerfield.”
“My Department will provide €800,000 in funding to support this project and the work of Limerick County Council in backing this development should also be recognised,” she continued of the new Towerfield development.
Croom Voluntary Housing Association was formed in 1999.
The association initially raised approximately £30,000 which they used as seed capital in order to get the work under-way until such time as they were able to access public funding from the Department of the Environment via Limerick County Council.
“The initial £30,000 would have come from local people in Croom providing money by way of interest free loans or donations,” explained Michael Walsh, secretary and treasurer of Croom Voluntary Housing Association.
The initiative was led by a local committee spearheaded by local GP, Dr Michael Lucey and assisted over the years by the efforts of a succession of officials at Limerick County Council including Kieran Lehane, Jimmy Feane, Mary Fogarty, Noreen Fahy and Mary Kiely.
“We have to sit down now and talk to the local authority and the HSE to establish what other categories of need there are there and if it is possible to do anything in the future for other groups in society who are in need,” added Mr Walsh.