Thursday 24 April 2008

Limerick regeneration boss denies problems with government funding

THE head of Limerick’s regeneration programme yesterday denied there would be problems in getting funding from various government departments as the vast work in Moyross, Southill, St Mary’s Park and Ballinacurra Weston progresses.

Brendan Kenny was responding to concerns raised about the multi-agency budget requirements raised by Michael Noonan TD, the former Fine Gael leader.

Mr Noonan called on John Fitzgerald, author of the regeneration programme for rundown parts of Limerick, and the government to spell out what funds are available.

Mr Noonan said that while many different State agencies will be involved, such as the Department of Education, Social Welfare, Justice, the Environment and the Health Service Executive, the only budget pledged so far related to the provision of housing.

Mr Noonan claimed this exposed a flaw in the legislation enabling the regeneration programme to proceed, stating: “So while Brendan Kenny has money to knock houses and build houses, he has no money to put in extra services. I think that if it is to be a multi-agency approach then the government has to have a multi-agency budget fund to pay for additional health services, educational services and social services in the regeneration areas.”

Mr Kenny, chief executive of Limerick’s northside and southside regeneration agencies, said they are satisfied with their 2008 budget and, with building work due to being in 2009, a significant sum is expected at that stage.

“If new investment is required, which is very possible, we will look for that. It is unclear at the moment what will be needed.

“We are trying to analyse the current system for problems and gaps because it clearly needs to change. We will look for additional funding when it is needed. Obviously there are already a lot of services in these areas and there is no point just throwing money at them. That is not a solution.

“When it comes to the crunch, we are confident that we will get the funding that is needed,” he said.

The regeneration masterplans are due to be completed by June and Mr Kenny said that the range of cross-agency measures will be much clearer then.

Irish Examiner

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