The proposed scaling back of the regeneration plan for Limerick city has provoked an angry response from opposition parties.
“[People] were led to believe that the regeneration process would deliver real improvements in their physical and social environments. Instead what [they] are experiencing is a deterioration of the environment they are living in,” said Labour's Limerick East TD Jan O’Sullivan.
A revised redevelopment programme drawn up by the Limerick Regeneration Agencies proposes for an investment of €924 million, instead of the €1.6 billion originally proposed.
It also extends the period of implementation by five years to a total of 15 years.
Limerick East Fine Gael deputy Kieran O’Donnell, also voiced dissatisfaction with the changes. “The thousands of people who live in the regeneration areas of Limerick woke up this morning to yet another change of plan that has implications for their lives. What they want is certainty, action and real regeneration.”
“All we have seen from Fianna Fáil since the regeneration process was launched three years ago is backtracking and broken promises. Residents feel let down and are rapidly losing belief,” he added.
The scheme was reformulated due to a lack of Exchequer and private sector funding following the economic downturn. This has resulted in a number of the more ambitious proposals, including a new train station and town centre in the Moyross estate, being omitted.
The demolition of 3,000 homes and their replacement with 2,400 new units may also be revised as the draft proposal suggests that existing properties may be refurbished instead.
Limerick Regeneration Agencies, who put forward the new proposal, claim phase one will create 4,500 jobs and could provide €109.2 million of employment revenue.
The new draft proposal is made up of three stages. The first runs between July 2010 to December 2014 and is made up of 24 projects including the building of two roads in Moyross and Southill estates and a number of housing schemes.
Phase two, which includes the construction of a Garda station and sports centre, will commence in 2015 and run for five years.
The final stage of the development aims to attract private funding and will run until 2020.