Stop “sinful” demolition of houses

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rp_boardeduphouses.jpg by Kathy Masterson

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MOYROSS parish priest Fr Tony O’Riordan is calling on the Government to intervene in what he describes as the “ludicrous house demolition policy of Limerick City Council”.

The priest says that the ongoing demolition of houses in Moyross and other areas in Limerick “is madness, sinful and must stop” as hundreds of families in the city and county are in urgent need of housing.

“We are in the midst of a national housing crisis, yet I witnessed today the demolition of two more houses in the Moyross Estate in Limerick. This adds to the over 400 houses demolished in recent times and with close to a hundred more houses boarded, my fear is that this valuable housing stock will be demolished without due consideration of the changed context since this policy was first conceived over seven years ago,” Fr O’Riordan said this week.

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He suggested that “with modest investment” most of the boarded houses “could provide a decent home” for homeless Limerick families.

Fr O’Riordan is calling for an “immediate moratorium on all demolitions” to assess how many houses can be brought back into use.

He pointed out that just 11 family homes have been delivered in the Moyross area, while more than 400 houses have been demolished.

“We are in the midst of a homelessness crisis in this country,” warned Fr O’Riordan.

“Increasingly the lack of social housing is seen as a major contributory factor and the increase of availability of social housing is seen as part of the problem.

“In fact, the Tánaiste has said on a number of occasions that local authority houses that are boarded up or void must be brought back into commission.”

Fr O’Riordan has urged the Tánaiste Joan Burton and Environment Minister Alan Kelly to demand a moratorium on demolition by Limerick City “until a review can be carried out taking account of current levels of homeless families and urgent cases on the housing list in the city”.

He concluded: “Such a review should identify a clear policy of reinstating boarded up houses as homes and demolition should be a policy of the past. The delay in providing new houses needs to be examined also and delays eliminated.”