2006, former Dublin City Manager, John Fitzgerald, was
appointed by our Government to lead an initiative to address
issues of social exclusion and crime and disorder in Moyross
and our other troubled estates.
was prompted by a horrendous attack on two children in
Moyross in September 2006 that shocked the nation. Six-year-old
Millie and her four-year-old brother Gavin Murray are
lucky to be alive after they became human fireballs when
their mother's car was doused with petrol and set alight
while they were inside. The attack took place because
their mother had refused to give someone a lift to the
courthouse 10 minutes earlier. Three teenagers were later
charged and convicted.
On 3rd April
2007, John Fitzgerald issued his report to our government's
Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion, which stated:
and as a matter of high priority, early intervention
is required to deal with the problem of serious criminal
activity. This problem needs to be dealt with as a matter
of urgency so that a stable environment is created
where other initiatives can take effect. Failure to do
so is likely to lead to the frustration of other efforts
to address social and economic problems."
Report made a total of 9 recommendation. Indeed, the first
recommendation of the Fitzgerald Report was to:
in place intensive policing arrangements: As a result
of my consultations it has become clear that, although
policing on its own cannot solve the problems in the long
term, intensive policing intervention is required in the
short to medium term to allow the other interventions
an opportunity to work. This cannot happen against
the continuing backdrop of crime and intimidation...there
needs to be a highly visible Garda presence at all times
in these estates in order to restore confidence and stability
in the communities. A policing structure, headed by
a Superintendent, should be established that is exclusively
dedicated to the policing of these areas. This will
involve a minimum of 100 additional Gardaí,
with appropriate management structures, whose sole
function will be the policing of these areas."
happened. While it is true to say that 100 additional
Gardaí were assigned to the Limerick Division (which
covers Limerick City & County and parts of Co. Clare)
in the year-and-a-half that followed the publication of
the Fitzgerald Report, these Gardaí were
not exclusively dedicated to the policing of regeneration
areas. They weren't part of a "policing structure,
headed by a superintendent" because a superintendent
was never appointed. In short, there was no real attempt
to implement this first and vital recommendation.
recommendation of the Fitzgerald Report was to "Establish
Structures for regeneration" involving the establishment
of two regeneration agencies, one for the Northside and
one for the Southside. The Limerick Northside and Southside
were established by Ministerial Order in June 2007 and
were staffed and ready for business by September 2007.
The Ministerial Order will lapse on 14th June 2012.
The third recommendation
was to "Establish dedicated teams under the auspices
of the Development Agencies to address Social and Family
problems in the designated areas, including issues of
educational disadvantage" There is no real evidence
to suggest that this ever happened. Likewise for recommendation
8, "Address the drugs problem".
Agencies focused most of it's efforts on producing numerous
documents in the lead up to the 'Master' Plans for regeneration
, while financing the depopulation and demolition of the
estates through the auspices of Limerick City Council.
Clearing the land for developers and displacing people.
Alas, the only
part of the Fitzgerald Report that seems to be
getting any attention is to "...unlock the value
of lands, all of which are within short distance of the
city centre...", and which is heavily dependent on
a booming property market for success.