Residents oppose social housing plans for Limerick estate


Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts


Residents oppose social housing plans for Limerick estate

Deputy Willie O'Dea spoke at Monday's meeting

DOZENS of residents are set to attend a meeting at City Hall, where a controversial application set for Rhebogue will be discussed.

Silvergrove Developments is seeking to build 21 houses on the last remaining greenspace in Drominbeg in a mix of two four-bedroom, three two-bedroom and 16 three-bedrooms in the area.

It is widely expected it will be managed by the National Association of Building Co-Operatives, a voluntary group which will source its tenants from Limerick City and County Council’s housing list.

In a bid to gain more information on the scheme, Fianna Fail councillor Vivienne Crowley is to broach the subject with council management at the next metropolitan district meeting set for Monday week, 9.45am.

And at a public meeting on Monday night in Richmond Rugby Club, the proposals – which have been largely opposed by residents – people were encouraged to attend, with Willie O’Dea telling the 100 present it will show there is “people power” against the project.

Local resident Liam Kirby urged residents who are opposed to the development to make an objection.

He said: “It will show the planning officer we mean business. That we are passionate about blocking this development.”

He gave a presentation outlining several grounds on which the scheme could be opposed, including the fact no local amenities have been provided for Rhebogue, despite this being a priority in the City Development Plan.

He also pointed out that there is not a sufficient level of parking, and any new social housing developments must be within 500m of a public transport route. Drominbeg, Mr Kirby argued, is not.

Concerns were also raised as the development would allegedly be in a flood risk area – and is close to a special area of conservation at the Park Canal.

Resident David France said: “Social housing comes in many different formats. But in terms of voluntary housing associations, when it comes down to it, their tenants are usually the renter of last resort . They are usually the tenants the council or HSE cannot home for various different reasons. We won’t know for sure what is going in there, so we have to assume it is the worst case.”

After it was revealed that the Drominbeg estate had been pushed up a priority list of areas for social housing, Mr Kirby said: “I think there is a feeling that people in Rhebogue are a soft touch, so it will be easy for [the developer] to shoehorn this in, and we will keep quiet. But if we keep quiet, this will happen.”

Alongside Mr O’Dea and Cllr Crowley and Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon, a number of other public representatives were also in attendance, and spoke out against the development.

Senator Kieran O’Donnell said: “I am not aware of an application where you would go in and build a large unit of social housing in a settled estate.”

Cllr John Costelloe, Sinn Fein, added: “This is an idea out of Alice in Wonderland. We are being bullied here – this is being foisted on the community.” Independent member John Gilligan was also present.