THE long delay in starting the final phase of refurbishment works at the Watergate Apartments in Limerick City has been questioned by a local councillor.
The work at Tara Court was originally expected to start early last year when the first phase at Mungret Court and St Michaels Court was completed but, according to Sinn Féin councillor Malachy McCreesh, only some of the funding has been approved for the project.
“The residents in Mungret Court and St Michael’s Court have seen the positive improvement the refurbishment has brought to their living conditions so it is important that Tara Court residents can experience the same result, especially with regard to heating in their homes,” the City West representative said.
“The residents have campaigned for years to have maintenance repairs to their homes in order to rectify the issues of dampness and general draughtiness. It has been difficult for families, especially those with young children, to keep these homes warm under the circumstances.”
Cllr McCreesh believes a speedy resolution is now required to allocate the necessary funding to complete the upgrade to each of the 44 homes in Tara Court. He also takes the view that the overall housing maintenance allocation within the Metropolitan District is totally inadequate to support the 3550 Council owned housing units.
He said that maintenance staff are restricted to providing limited responses to the numerous major repair requests on a year-to-year basis.
“General maintenance has not provided the answers to the ongoing problems encountered by the residents of Tara Court. As was outlined in the literature associated with the original upgrade proposal, the Watergate complex has some of the lowest energy rated units across all Council housing units. Phase 1 of the project has resolved these energy issues so Tara Court needs the same attention.
“Council staff work closely with the Residents Association to ensure the community gets all the necessary support. Obtaining the required funding and providing a schedule for the commencement and completion of Phase 2 of this refurbishment project will resolve many of the daily issues highlighted by residents,” he declared.
Senior architect at the Council’s Social Development department, Seamus Hanrahan explained that the deep retrofit of the 100 unit Watergate Flats complex is being delivered on a phased basis.
“This work has significantly enhanced the performance, comfort levels and visual amenity of these buildings. Part-funding has been confirmed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for Phase 2 of the project. Part-funding has also been committed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the Better Energy Communities Programme 2018. It is envisaged that work will commence on Phase 2 this year,” he said.
by Alan Jacques