We are writing to
you to express our disappointment with the decision of the Board
of the Southside Regeneration Agency to wilfully exclude our
residents from membership of a residents' committee that will
discuss and make proposals concerning the regeneration of our
The grounds for our
exclusion, that people in the neighbouring estate of Ballinacurra
Weston would object to the involvement of people from Weston
Gardens, Rosbrien, because we are a private estate, are not
substantiated and we find difficult to believe.
The areas earmarked
for regeneration in our vicinity are Clarina Park, Clarina Avenue,
Crecora Avenue and Beechgrove Avenue in Ballinacurra Weston
and our own area of Weston Gardens, Rosbrien.
As the only established
and long-standing residents association that exists in the aforementioned
areas it is perplexing that we should be excluded from participating
in this residents' committee. We have a long history of dealing
with Limerick City Council and the Gardaí; our residents
have a wealth of "knowledge and experience".
Even more perplexing
is the fact that earlier this year you met with a representative
of our association, invited them to join this committee and
requested a list of like-minded people in the area.
We suspect that our
exclusion from this committee is not because of alleged objections
from unnamed residents in Ballinacurra Weston, but stems more
from the fact that we favour the refurbishment and restoration
of our small estate to the demolition of our historic homes,
most of which have stood for over 100 years.
We do not recognise
this committee as representing our best interests nor is it
acceptable that such a committee should be mandated to discuss
or propose anything concerning our homes while demanding our
Initially, we were
concerned at being included in the regeneration process. Long
awaited plans by Limerick City Council to refurbish our area
were suspended, pending publication of the Fitzgerald Report
and our Council officials refused to discuss the matter with
us. We had spent six years negotiating with City Hall, we had
secured funding from central government and while we were not
entirely happy with the Councils proposals, it was certainly
better than nothing.
eventually met with a representative of our association to discuss
the Fitzgerald Report, insisting that our area was part of it
because it mentions Ballinacurra Weston.
Weston Gardens is
no more part of Ballinacurra Weston than Weston Villas on the
Rosbrien road. However, we applauded the recommendations of
the Fitzgerald Report and sought to ensure we were part of it.
In the past, Limerick City Council had refused to discuss the
troubles endured by the residents of the neighbouring estate,
insisting that it was really none of our business. Now we would
be part of something that would benefit the whole of our city.
of the Fitzgerald Report clearly states that there are three
strands to dealing with the problems in our troubled estates,
which must be progressed together:
- Dealing with
the issue of criminality. This will be fundamental to creating
the conditions for other interventions to be successful, and
for restoring the confidence of local communities.
- Economic and
infrastructural regeneration, to create employment, unlock
value, improve access, and create a better commercial and
co-ordinated responses to social and educational problems,
in order to break the cycle of disadvantage.
The first recommendation
of the Fitzgerald Report is to "Put in place intensive
policing arrangements:...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."
The Report concludes:
"The interventions recommended in this report across
all three strands can be put in place very quickly, allowing
implementation to begin within a number of months."
Despite your previous
personal assurances to our representative, there is not "a
highly visible Garda presence at all times in these estates".
Gardaí that have been assigned to Limerick in recent
months cannot be deployed as recommended as they have merely
restored Garda levels to what they were in 1995.
Your most recent
assertion to our representative that you are happy with progress
and that issues concerning policing "are a matter for
the Gardaí" does not suggest the level of co-operation
between regeneration and policing outlined in the Fitzgerald
Report and does not inspire confidence in our community.
In the absence of
promised protection from the state, intimidation, violence and
fear will prevail. Recent calls for people in Southill not to
vacate their homes and to have faith and trust in the Southside
Regeneration Agency seem disingenuous.
Our association continues
to support the recommendations of the Fitzgerald Report and
lament the fact that these recommendations seem to have become
the most we should hope for, instead of being, the least we
We have no faith,
trust or confidence in the Southside Regeneration Agency and
do not wish to be included in its remit.