Thomondgate residents feel abandoned as 12 cars vandalised

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Cost of home insurance escalates as a result

LONG term residents of the New Road, Thomondgate, say they have lost faith in their local politicians and Limerick City Council to honour a promise made to them three years ago.

On Monday morning, the occupiers of a terrace of houses located opposite what is now a fenced off concrete area, awoke to find that their cars (12 in total) had been vandalised.

Speaking to this newspaper, a representative group stressed their feeling of “abandonment” and helplessness, that following the acute disturbance they had to live with for the four years, during which Limerick Main Drainage Scheme machinery was located just outside their front windows, assurances given to them by Limerick City Council were not honoured.

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“We lived with the noise of hydraulic drills and machinery going all day and well into the night, six days a week – our houses were covered in dust and dirt and were darkened by the machinery. We were terrified of leaving our children out because of the danger presented by the heavy machinery and the dust,” local man, Pat Murphy said.

When the Limerick Main Drainage project came to an end, a planning application for social housing was finally rejected on the grounds that it was too dense for the area and would increase the number of children in a locality already populated by a lot of young children, who are without any safe, local play facilities.

Since then, the vacant ground space has been fenced off and there are no current plans to develop it.

“We were told we would be given access to a curved area for our cars, told by the council that they would erect a protective wall with railings on top, which would have allowed us leave children out to play in some safety We were looking forward to this and to painting our houses and [putting up hanging baskets but instead of these improvements, nothing happened, except that people began to throw their litter over the fenced off concrete area opposite our houses and the two way traffic on this narrow road is worse than ever – speeding up and down at all times of the day and night,” Mr Murphy said.

One young mother of a two-year old, whose first car was one of the 12 damaged in an early morning swoop last weekend, said she is unable to leave her toddler outside the house for some fresh air.

“The place is filthy from people dumping their rubbish here when we are asleep at night and we have to clear it ourselves – the cars are constantly tearing up and down and there’s nowhere safe for our kids to play. Its a sin to see that land opposite our houses lying idle and fenced off and providing no facilities for us – even a temporary car parking area”.

One man who has lived in the New Road terrace all his life, said his house insurance had increased from 190 euro to 320 euro.

“When I enquired I was told “you live in a no-go area,” but this was not so – this was, and could be, a lovely place to live in – the people around here are good and decent and we are near to town – a few essential improvements would do a lot for our quality of life here,” he said.

Local opinion favours the construction of a community centre on the vacant land and a number of houses for the elderly.

“I’m very disappointed that our councillors for the northside of the city seem to have abandoned us on this – there’s been no talk of any plans and meantime, we are left to get on with it,” Mr Murphy observed to the Limerick Post.

When contacted, Cllr Kevin Kiely agreed that the local people had “been badly let down by the council on this.

“They had indeed, been promised railings and gates and footage for their cars – these are very nice and very patient people and I will immediately go about setting up a meeting with the council’s director of services to ask him to take a fresh look at this.

“There is a long-term plan to build a bridge at the site in question, to link it up with a newly developed St Mary’s Park, Corbally and the Dublin Road (under the Regeneration Programme), but that will be years away, and meantime, the council could landscape the site and develop a river walk there (there is an existing river bank in place).

“They could also erect protective railings and take a look at changing the road to one-way traffic – one way or another, something must be done for these people who are being made victims in this case – I will be in contact with them without delay”.