A Report entitled “Viable Management Structures for Housing Estates in Regeneration Areas: Options for Community Based Structures to Facilitate Enhanced Community Participation, Involvement and Partnership with Statutory Organisations” is gathering dust in City Hall since December 2011 waiting to be signed off on.
The Report was commissioned by PAUL Partnership and the Limerick Regeneration Agency, in consultation with Limerick City Council in 2011 and the research was conducted by Brian Dillon of Nexus. Research for the Nexus Report only involved Statutory and Community groups participating in the Regeneration and Estate Management process at present, ordinary residents and independent community groups were not consulted. Nevertheless, the Nexus Report gives a critical analysis of the current structures for community involvement , highlighting their many failings and making recommendations to make them inclusive and meaningful.
Director of Regeneration , Oliver O'Loughlin, stated last September that the current structures for community participation would remain unchanged until recommendations were made by the Supporting Social Inclusion and Regeneration in Limerick (SSIRL) initiative, which is being co-funded by Limerick City Council, Atlantic Philanthropies and the University of Limerick. Residents groups are unhappy with this response.
“I am now even more convinced that the Councils excuse that they have to wait for the SSIRL report before they can change the structures for community participation is little more than a stalling tactic” said Cathal McCarthy, Chairperson of the Weston Gardens Residents Association, “there is no reason why the Nexus Report couldn't be implemented while we await the SSIRL Report, which could take a year or two to complete” said Cathal.
"We've been told that we have to write and ask to join the residents forum. Our association wrote to Limerick City Council in October and requested the Terms of Reference for the Regeneration Committee, along with the names and contact details of its members and we asked how they were selected. We also wanted to know where, when and how often this Regeneration Committee meets. Our request was ignored" said Cathal
"In Ballinacurra Weston most of us left the residents forum because it only gave us the right to be ignored, we had no say in what was being done to our estate. These committees are not mandated by the residents and are not representing our views" said Matt Collins, Chairperson of the Ballinacurra Weston Residents' Alliance, "residents are also being excluded from running of the Community Centre because the Limited Company running it, the CSG, have a selective inclusion policy; membership of their Board of Directors and Local Estate Management is by invitation only" said Matt.
In 2010, an internal report commissioned by Our Lady of Lourdes Coommunity Service Group Ltd. recommended that they change their invitation-only policy in order to end their closed shop syndrome, which has resulted in the Community Centre being run mostly by non-residents.
Pat Begley, Chairperson of the Kincora & Carew Park Concerned Residents Action Group said that things were much the same in Southill, "Estate Management was never meant to be about paid workers calling the shots, it was meant to be about residents coming together to elect a committee and get on with the job, it's the residents that should be deciding what happens".
"I contacted Paul Partnership last October and was told that the Nexus Report would be published when Oliver O'Loughlin had read it, but now I'm being told that the report will not be published at all because people might confuse the recommendations with actual decisions. It's a disgrace". said Pat
"Residents are not happy with the lack of information coming from Estate Management, it's a closed shop; they recently held an AGM an elected a committee without bothering to inform residents that it was having an AGM" said Robinson, PRO with the Action Group, "Residents want the right to hold an open AGM and elect a representative committee" he added.
Chairperson of the Moyross Residents' Alliance (MRA), Tommy Daly, said that the Nexus Reporthad the potential to end the exclusion of residents that want to contribute: "This report is a step in the right direction and it could change things for the better. The MRA was delighted with our recent invitation to join the Moyross Partners and we were happy to accept it, but we need to have more inclusive and accountable structures when it comes to Regeneration and Estate Management. It's only right that residents should have a say in how things are run. Afterall, we're the ones that have to live with the consequences of the decisions".
All four residents groups are calling on Limerick City Council to sign-off on and publish the Nexus Report and for the inclusion of all residents groups in the "development and application of an agreed charter" as recommended by the report. The are also calling on the Council to stop funding of local Estate Management workers while they continue to operate an invitation-only policy.
2011 Nexus Report
OLOLCSG Ltd Report
Paul Partnership Nexus Response
BWRA Letter to City & County Manager
Reply on behalf of City & County Manager
For Further Information Contact:
Cathal McCarthy: 087 784 50 07
Limerick Regeneration Watch: www.limerickregeneration.org
Tommy Daly: 086 305 80 49
Moyross Residents Alliance: www.mralimerick.com
Matt Collins: 087 65 77 063
Ballinacurra Weston Residents Alliance: www.bwra.blogspot.com
Pat Begley: 087 978 38 48
Kincora & Carew Park Concerned Residents Action Group
Watch Us on YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/RegenerationWatch
FRIENDLY VERSION |