Local businessman brings new hope to Southill

Fitzgeralds Business Park, Rathbane North, Limerick Charlie Fitzgerald. Picture: Keith Wiseman
Charlie Fitzgerald of Fitzgeralds Business Park, Rathbane North, Limerick

Picture: Keith Wiseman

by Aoife McLoughlin

[email protected]

A LOCAL businessman who bought ten abandoned industrial units near Southill is planning to create job opportunities for the youngsters who vandalised them.

Charlie Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Waste Management purchased the former Shannon Development units to improve the appearance of the area and create local employment. He hopes that some of the jobs will be taken up by the young people who have been using the property as a haven for anti-social behaviour.

The units beside Mount St. Oliver Cemetery originally formed part of the Killmallock Road Enterprise Centre and had been occupied by various organisations and businesses including the Paul Partnership, Redpemtorists, Southill Outreach and Limerick Printing.

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Mr Fitzgerald told the Limerick Post he was “sick to death” looking at the overgrown site and abandoned units that were stripped of their copper piping and electricity meters.

“The buildings have been vacant for years and have had negative affect on the look of  area and the people living locally. Funeral processions regularly pass them and they are an eyesore”, he explained.

He said his goal is to get the local teens into training and employment and to give jobs to local people.

“I didn’t even view it when I bought it. When I opened the doors, I saw there was hundreds of thousands of euro worth of damage. It was so overgrown you couldn’t see the road into it.

“It has been a haven for youngsters to hang out. They broke into all ten and went through double insulated brick walls with sledge hammers. They broke railing, gates and locks to get into the buildings and steal the copper piping and the meters to sell for scrap. I am willing to get those same guys back into this place and give them a job.”

The extensive damage will mean the units will require rewiring, plumbing throughout and debris cleared to make them fit for purpose as ‘Fitzgerald’s Retail Park.”

“Since I put up the new sign of ownership, I have been inundated with Facebook requests, text messages and people calling to the yard asking about jobs. A lot of these kids would be well known to the gardaí, early school leavers, some may have criminal records and people may not want to hire them. I believe a good days work will change any man.”

The 29-year-old entrepreneur said that “there are a number of business ideas on the table” but final decisions will be based on what is in the interest of the locality and of business.

“The park will cater for the service industry. I said I would go to my last penny to get my hands on this property because I feel I am the only person who will do what needs to be done with it. I want to create jobs locally. The hard work is done. We bought it and we financed it, the next thing now is jobs.”