THE REGENERATION of one of the State’s oldest housing estates got under way in Limerick yesterday when workers moved in to demolish houses in the St Mary’s Park estate.
It is one of four housing estates in Limerick city included in the €3.1 billion regeneration project which, since 2007, has led to the demolition of 250 homes in Moyross, Southill and Weston areas.
The demolition of 1 Columcille Street in St Mary’s Park began at 9am yesterday. Up to 20 houses in the area could be knocked by the end of the year to facilitate the building of new houses in 2010.
Built in 1935, St Mary’s Park is one of the oldest housing estates in the State and is located in a historic part of the city close to King John’s Castle that is known as the “island field”.
The estate comprises in the region of 465 houses and was the State’s first major public housing initiative in Limerick.
The last resident at the property which was demolished yesterday was Geraldine Long, who now lives in Corbally, but was there when workers began the demolition.
“I’m a bit sad because we had lovely neighbours and it was a lovely place to live and we had happy times in the house, so it is sad to see it being knocked,” Ms Long said.
Jason Murphy of the housing department at Limerick City Council said yesterday marked an important step for the regeneration of Limerick.
“This is a milestone for St Mary’s Park in terms of regeneration, but it is a milestone for the city as well, given the community that’s here and the strong community in St Mary’s Park,” Mr Murphy said.
“It’s a big step for the residents and we are delighted we have had huge support from them. We have identified six to eight houses but by the end of the year, we may have 15 houses taken down.”
Mayor of Limerick John Gilligan has welcomed the beginning of the demolition.
It is believed that €725 million is needed for the regeneration of St Mary’s Park.