Irish Times - Saturday, February 6, 2010
cannot deliver €1.7bn for Limerick regeneration - O'Dea
SMYTH, Social Affairs Correspondent
THE GOVERNMENT will
not be able to deliver the €1.7 billion it promised for
the regeneration of Limerick, Minister for Defence Willie ODea
The Government announced
its €3 billion regeneration plan for Limerick in 2007.
It had planned to invest €1.7 billion between 2009 and
2018, with private investors investing the rest.
The State agency
tasked with developing the project, Limerick Regeneration, held
talks with officials at the Department of Environment this week
aimed at agreeing incentive schemes to attract private investment.
Brendan Kenny, chief
executive of Limerick Regeneration, said tax breaks for developers
were under consideration, although these may require EU approval.
Another possibility was for private investors to build social
housing, which could then be leased back to the State.
However, he said
the reality was it would be very difficult to attract private-sector
Mr ODea, who
is a local TD, warned yesterday that there was growing public
disenchantment in Limerick due to the lack of progress
on the project.
let the thing grind to a halt because we cant afford to
put more than €25 million in in a year, lets attract
money in from the private sector and see some action,
said Mr ODea, who added he had been approached by investors
eager to get involved.
give their identity, but they are local builders, people who
have been involved in the building trade for a long time . .
. they are solid guys, said Mr ODea, who estimated
they had a couple of hundred million euro to invest.
The master plan aims
to regenerate four estates Moyross, Ballinacurra Weston,
Southill and St Marys Park. It envisages demolishing up
to 2,500 houses, creating two new town centres and breaking
the cycle of disadvantage in the city.
Mr Kenny said the
regeneration project would now be delayed and may not be completed
for 15 years due to funding problems.
will put forward new proposals to Government next month aimed
at starting a building programme to reassure local people the
regeneration will go ahead. However, significant changes are
expected to the original plan, with more houses on the estates
being refurbished rather than demolished and rebuilt.
Mr Kenny said his
big fear was that good families would leave the estates if there
was a long delay in redevelopment.
houses are gone from Moyross and we are losing the best families,
the ones we want to be in the new communities, he said.