by Alan Jacques
GARRYOWEN could become a “ghetto” if immediate action is not taken to properly resource the area.
This is the opinion of Garryowen resident Andrew Reale who believes the estate has been long overlooked for important structural funding, simply because it was not designated as a ‘RAPID’ area.
Speaking to the Limerick Post this week, the local activist deemed the city’s Regeneration project “a huge failure and waste of money” that has not achieved any of the goals promised.
“We were not included in the Regeneration masterplan from 2005 even though the area was identified as a very disadvantaged area by Paul Partnership and Limerick City Council. For years we have welcomed tenants from Regeneration areas and we are still been targeted as a relocation destination for the Regeneration agency,” the Garryowen man explained.
“As things stand, Garryowen and its surrounding areas has more children, teens and elderly people than most places in the city but we don’t have any of the resources found in other areas,” he added.
Mr Reale maintains that agencies involved in urban planning and community development for Limerick City have a duty of care to ensure that none of its policies adversely affect local communities. They must now, he insists be made accountable for ignoring the needs of Garryowen and its surrounding areas.
“It’s my opinion that if immediate action is not taken to properly resource our area the city will have its fifth ghetto. It seems no lessons were learned from the mistakes of the past. Our local Community Development Project (CDP) has waited in vain for three years for access to the infamous Branigans Pub to no avail. We were promised access to the Markets Field by two Limerick Government Ministers, but my contacts on the CDP committee say they are being ignored by the LEDP,” he claimed.
Mr Reale is now calling on Ministers Michael Noonan and Jan O’Sullivan to start an independent investigation into the management and spending of Limerick’s Regeneration process.
“It’s time to face facts the city’s Regeneration project has been a huge failure and waste of money and has not achieved any of the goals promised. I feel it wastefully directs funding to areas where resident numbers have drastically reduced due to a high amount of houses being demolished. Common sense dictates that it’s better to house people where they have access to needed resources not move them to an already overpopulated area without basic resources.”
A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council said it is fully committed to the physical, social and economic development of Limerick, including Garryowen.
“The Council has traditionally housed families in Garryowen and is committed to the ongoing sustainability of the area as evidenced by the Pike Road housing development and support of the Markets Field redevelopment, which was officially opened last month. The redevelopment of the Markets Field is an integral part of the overall physical, social and economic infrastructure of Garryowen and the wider city centre area.”