Community development

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Limerick regeneration

Progress of the Limerick regeneration project continued to attract attention, with an adjournment debate on 9th February (Dail Eireann, Debates, 9th February 2010, 653 – 9).  Michael Noonan (FG, Limerick E) told the Dail that 400 houses had been demolished and not a single brick put in their place. He could not understand how the government could completely turn off the funding tap.  The governance structures of the agencies was very poor, with two agencies, which should be amalgamated, given a stronger legal base and power to negotiate public private partnerships and borrow money.  Jan O’Sullivan (Lab, Limerick E) added that there was a great sense of betrayal in the regeneration communities and a huge sense of despair.  For Kieran O’Donnell (FG, Limerick E), confusion now reigned.  Last week, they had been told that €25m had been allocated but now the Minister for Defence, Willie O’Dea, had said in the papers that the project would be stalled unless non-State funding of €25m could be found.  He added that Limerick had an unemployment rate higher than the national average but it was five times higher, 70%, in the regeneration areas.

Replying for the government, the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Michael Finneran, told them that his department’s annual provision for Limerick regeneration had been increased to €25m to maintain the impetus around the regeneration programme.  The government had asked the Limerick regeneration agencies to prepare detailed costed plans for implementation of the project by the end of the first quarter and they were working intensively to arrive at a prioritized plan.  ‘I extend a guarantee that the government will once again step up to the mark for the regeneration project in Limerick’.

> List of regeneration projects and their status: Dail Eireann, Debates, 21st January 2010, 959-960