THE expansion of Limerick City Council’s social housing programme into previously private suburban estates is set to accelerate to facilitate the regeneration programme in Moyross and Southill.
This year the council has completed just five house purchases in city suburbs and has identified about 50 other suburban houses for purchase. But the Government-backed plan for the regeneration of socially
deprived areas of the city is set to trigger a huge shift in population from places like Moyross and Southill to city suburbs, according to the city council’s director of housing Kieran Lehane.
The plan drawn up by former Dublin City Manager John Fitzgerald for the regeneration of Moyross and Southill and will, according to Mr Lehane, necessitate the transfer of many existing council tenants to houses that will be bought by the council in private estates.
Talks are taking place with the Department of the Environment for the money that will be needed to affect this aspect of the Fitzgerald plan.
All necessary money is expected to be approved as the Fitzgerald plan has full government approval.
Mr Lehane said those who will be moved have proven themselves impeccable council tenants and will be a great addition to the new communities they move to.
He said that antisocial behaviour problems in the suburbs arise in many instances from people housed in rented property outside of the council scheme.
Already, a backlash is emerging to increased social housing in private estates inside the city boundary and in the suburbs that lie in the administrative area of Limerick County Council.
A Limerick auctioneer said yesterday councils that buy houses on the private market should consult with local residents about tenants they are moving into a community.
Geraldine Leddin of GL Auctioneers said there is a concern among residents’ associations in Limerick about the proliferation of council-owned houses in what were privately owned residential areas.
Ms Leddin said: “I think the city council should be more accountable. It is not good enough for the council to go out and buy houses on a broad basis. The council should tell residents what is going on and where the new council tenants are coming from.”
Cllr Patrick O’Donovan, a Fine Gael member of Limerick County Council, said councils would be better off sorting out their housing problems within their own administrative areas.
Mr O’Donovan said: “If there is a house waiting list in Limerick City Council’s administrative area, I can’t understand who they are going outside their own jurisdiction to solve it. I don’t think it is good practice to go into another local authority’s functional area.”
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