Sunday, 13 December 2009

Government endorses Limerick Regeneration Programme

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr John Gormley TD and the Minister for Housing and Local Services, Mr. Michael Finneran, TD have announced that the Government has endorsed the overall vision for a ten-year transformation of the Limerick Regeneration areas set out in the Limerick Regeneration Programme.

The Ministers have also requested the relevant Departments and Agencies to complete the remaining work required to finalise the Programme by the end of the first quarter of 2010, for final consideration by the Government at that stage.

“The vision set out in the Programme prepared by the Limerick Regeneration Agencies has the full support of Government,” said Minister Gormley. “Work will now advance on a range of issues - particularly in relation to the detailed costings and phasing of the implementation of the Programme and the mechanisms to leverage essential private investment in the areas, in order to deliver, in a sustainable manner, the much needed integrated physical, social and economic regeneration of the combined Regeneration areas of Moyross, Southill, St. Mary’s Park Estate and Ballinacurra Weston.”

There are many strands to the Programme, which will be drawn together in the period to the end of Q1 2010. These include -

* mechanisms for channelling funding from other Government Departments/Agencies, from within their overall budgets, to support, in particular, the social and economic regeneration programme - a consultative cross-Departmental/Agency process, led by the DEHLG, is being initiated for this purpose;
* leveraging the essential - but scarce - private investment required to underpin the overall success of the regeneration programme - an inter-departmental review of the options in this regard will be carried out - and
* determining the appropriate phasing of the Programme, the intended mix of demolition, refurbishment and new build and the projected costs - having regard to the better value now available in the economy generally. The next steps involved will be set out in an implementation plan for the physical regeneration works.

Minister Finneran, commenting on the Government decision, said - “the main focus now is to develop a structured prioritised programme of works to be included in phase one of the regeneration programme, with a view to going back to Government with a support framework and proposed associated funding arrangements.

"My Department, the Regeneration Agencies, the relevant local authorities and the wider range of Government Departments and State Agencies involved will be working intensively on this over the next few months.”

Both Ministers highlighted the investment already made in the Regeneration areas over the last two years and the Government’s continued commitment to the Regeneration Programme.

“Since mid-2007, funding of some €55m has been provided to support a range of early interventions in the Limerick Regeneration Areas. This investment has supported the necessary demolition and relocation process, the advancement of the physical planning process and the promotion of social inclusion measures, which have already begun to yield results in terms of the stabilisation and improved living conditions in the areas and will be sustained by further investment in the future,” said Minister Finneran.

Looking to the future, Minister Gormley referred to the challenges presented by the changed economic climate and the much more constrained Government fiscal position and indicated that “notwithstanding these difficulties, I will be continuing to prioritise the requirements of Regeneration programmes, such as in Limerick, within the overall pool of resources available to my Department’s Housing Programme and this will be evident again when it comes to making funding allocations for 2010.

"One of the crucial pieces of work now to be taken forward is to establish mechanisms for channelling funding from the wider range of relevant investment programmes in support of the Regeneration initiative. I look forward to the completion of this and other outstanding work over the course of the first quarter of next year, so that Government can finalise its consideration of the issues involved.”

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