Irish Independent - Saturday, March 31, 2007
due soon to tackle city's crime wave
A MINIMUM OF 100
extra gardai and the demolition of 1,000 houses are among recommendations
made to try and tackle crime in some of Limerick's troubled
The report was compiled by former Dublin City Manager John Fitzgerald,
who was appointed last year to head up a new government taskforce
aimed at tackling problems of crime, disorder and social exclusion
in certain parts of Limerick.
Mr Fitzgerald delivered
his report to a cabinet sub-committee earlier this week and
it is not due to be discussed publicly until it goes before
a full cabinet meeting next Tuesday.
of the radical report have been leaked, including a full transcript
of the nine key recommendations.
A native of Galbally
in Co Limerick, Mr Fitzgerald proposes several major changes,
the most radical of which involves demolishing some 1,000 houses
in council estates. "There are approximately 1,100 houses
in Moyross, of which more than a third are not suitable for
"There are also
approximately 1,000 houses in Southill over half of which are
in a similar state. Over all, then, excluding St Mary's Park,
there are approximately 1,000 houses that need serious attention,"
he writes. "Remedial work on social housing costs almost
as much as a complete rebuild," he notes.
According to Mr Fitzgerald,
considerable demolition works will be required as part of any
regeneration programme, particularly in the Southill area.
of the O'Malley Park area will almost certainly involve intensive
demolition, including some of the purchased houses." Other
key recommendations include the appointment of a garda superintendent
and a minimum of 100 extra gardai to specific housing estates
on both the north and south sides of Limerick city.
He also suggests
the establishment of a local CAB operation to target local criminals
as well as the immediate extension of the city boundary on the
northside of the city to incorporate Moyross - currently administered
by Limerick Co Council.
When contacted last
night, both Defence Minister Willie O'Dea and Minister of State
Tim O'Malley said they would not comment on Mr Fitzgerald's
report until after it was presented to the cabinet.
independent councillor John Gilligan welcomed the report.
Mr Gilligan does
not believe the expected bill of between €200m and €300m
is too much to implement the recommendations.
is that we let the place go to hell and I'm not prepared to
do that," he said. "We have to give people in these
estates back confidence. They have to know that a small number
of people attached to drug gangs don't run the place anymore.
It's time we took it back."