Monday 10 September 2007

Limerick planning and regeneration

ON the first anniversary of a firebomb attack in Limerick, which left a young brother and sister badly injured, two regeneration agencies set up in the wake of the horrific incident will open their doors for the first time today.

Millie Murray, 6, and her brother Gavin, 4, sustained extensive burn injuries when a firebomb was thrown into the car in which they were sitting in Moyross in September 2006. Two 17-year-olds later pleaded guilty to their role in the arson attack.

The incident caused uproar nationwide and as a result the Government commissioned former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald to report on how to tackle the economic and social problems in Moyross.

Mr Fitzgerald recommended that two separate regeneration agencies be set up in the northside and southside of Limerick to drive social and economic regeneration and that 100 extra gardaĆ­ be recruited to tackle crime.

The two state regeneration agencies were set up in Moyross and Southill in June with Mr Fitzgerald as joint chairman and former Dublin city manager Brendan Kenny as chief executive of both agencies. Over the summer, 14 full-time staff were recruited and today they open for business.

“We have no grand master plans, we want to develop them in a bottom-up consultation approach with the local communities in Southill and Moyross,” said Mr Kenny.

Regeneration committees will be set up in both areas with representatives from the local residents, all the community groups, public representatives and representatives from relevant state agencies.

“We will ask them for ideas on what kind of community they want to live in 10 years from now and what kind of a life they want for their children in the future,” said Mr Kenny.

He said no surprises would be imposed on the people of Moyross or Southill.

“We will not bring in highly paid professional consultants to produce a master plan — we want this to be produced from the bottom up.

“We want to get a vision of how the people who have been through this mess want their areas to develop,” said Mr Kenny.

It is hoped that the Vision for the Future for both areas will be produced by Christmas. This will be given to consultants to produce master plans for physical, social and economic regeneration by June 2008.

Among the measures being considered is demolition, something which Mr Kenny said he favoured for both areas. “We will ask the people what they think of that — everyone will get a modern state-of-the-art home,” he added.

“The private purchase of houses will be encouraged — we want a better mix of houses with dozens of smaller estates with shops and facilities around them.”

He said they would have costed master plans by June 2008 and they hoped to have the first houses built by June 2009.

Irish Examiner

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