Monday 14 May 2007

Over 80pc of residents in city flat complex rely on social welfare

OVER 80pc of the working-age population of a Dublin city flats complex relies on social welfare to make ends meet.

And despite our booming economy and emphasis on further education, less than 1pc of residents living in St Teresa's Gardens attends college, compared to over 50pc in nearby Ranelagh.

A major study commissioned as part of a planned regeneration project has found that eight of every 10 people living in the 1950s complex are unhappy with their current living conditions and want new homes.

Chairman of the St Teresa's Gardens Regeneration Board, Dr Sean Daly, said yesterday the 324 flats currently occupied were too old and too small, and that a group of private developers had been shortlisted to undertake a multi-million euro regeneration project under a public-private partnership.

The study 'Growing Our Future Together' also found:

* Over 70pc of the 835-strong population is below 35 years of age, but just 0.5pc attend third level education.

* Unemployment rates are 'disturbingly high' with over 80pc of the working-age population without work compared to the national average of 4pc.

* Almost half of residents (43pc) are in receipt of social welfare.

"People want change. They're not happy with the conditions they have but they want to stay in the area and in the St Teresa's Gardens community," Dr Daly, the former Master of the Coombe Hospital, said yesterday. "In fairness to Dublin City Council, St Teresa's Gardens was neglected for many years, but in the last 10 years the council have engaged with the local community and now have a presence there."

Asked if they were happy with current facilities and social environment, a staggering 81pc of residents said they were not. In return for providing 300 new homes, the developer chosen to undertake the PPP will be allowed to build housing units for sale on the open market.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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