Ballinacurra Weston Residents' Alliance (BWRA) in association
with Limerick Regeneration Watch launched 'Residents
First- towards real community participation in regeneration
areas' at a 3-day conference in the University of
Limerick on 'Renewing Local Democracy Through Civic
ON IMAGE TO READ
This summer school,
organised by UL's Department of Politics and Public Administration,
ran from 13th - 15th June and was well attended by over 100
participants. Many of the lectures and workshops were about
The purpose of the
School was to allow time for dialogue, debate and indeed disagreement
about the merits and mechanics of local democracy in Ireland.
Thus, the majority of sessions were highly participatory in
nature and focused on combining the expertise of invited speakers
with the experience of participants in the summer school. Participants
were invited to bring along material for display to highlight
their own initiatives and activities.
"I was originally
invited to participate in the Community Circle on day-three
of the school; 'Listening and Hearing - Experiences of Community
Engagement', and had hoped to bring attention to our new
publication, Residents First" said Cathal McCarthy,
Chairperson of Limerick Regeneration Watch.
"But then an
invitation was issued to all members of Our Lady of Lourdes
Umbrella Group to attend the school and quite a few of us jumped
at the chance" added Mr. McCarthy, who is treasurer of
the Umbrella Group.
"We had originally
intended to launch Residents First on the 25th of June
to coincide with the 4th anniversary of Brendan Kenny's appointment
as CEO of the Limerick Regeneration Agencies but the summer
school was the perfect venue, especially with the Minister for
Environment, Phil Hogan, opening the school. The Ministers opening
address gave me hope that things will be different under his
watch, that change is in the air and we might finally be listened
to." said Matt Collins, Chairperson of the BWRA.
The theme of Day
2 was 'Public Participation and Planning' and the opening
lecture by Ciaran Lynch of the Tipperary Institute, whose topic
of 'Public Participation in Planning in Ireland' was
fascinating and insightful, detailing the various types of community
participation from 'best practice' to the 'fraudulent'.
This was followed by a Workshop - Planning for Community
and Area Regeneration, with presentations from Mike Scannell
of Tralee Town Council - 'Urban Regeneration in Tralee'
and Declan Blackett of the Limerick Regeneration Agencies -
'Participation in Limerick Regeneration'
in approach of Tralee Town Council to regeneration and their
treatment of residents when compared to their counterparts in
Limerick was a real eye-opener. I had to refer back to that
mornings lecture and described the Limerick approach to community
participation as fraudulent." said Mr. McCarthy
if you're a homeowner and they want to knock your home, they
move you into rented accommodation and they pay the rent for
you. When your new house is built they move you back in as a
homeowner, its deeds for deeds in Tralee. Here in Limerick you're
given €35,000 for your home and turned into a tenant, never
to return", said Mr. Collins "And in Tralee, residents
were also given the option of refurbishment and this was done
in some areas. Here in Limerick the decisions are being made
for us without even consulting properly with residents"
is being sent to all Limerick City Councillors and TD's, all
members of the Cabinet and leading members of the opposition.
It is hoped that it will act as a catalyst for change in the
way that the Limerick Regeneration Agencies does business and
engages with the communities under their remit.
"We didn't get
a chance to meet Phil Hogan at the Summer School, but we did
present a copy of Residents First to Willie Penrose,
Minister fir Housing, when he visited Our Lady of Lourdes Action
Centre recently, he said he'd take the time to read it, hopefully
so will his colleagues". said Mr. McCarthy.
For further information
Cathal McCarthy (Limerick Regeneration Watch)
M: 087 78 45 070 E: email@example.com
Matt Collins (Ballinacurra
Weston Residents' Alliance)
M: 087 65 77 063 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Us on YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/RegenerationWatch
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