President hails Limerick regeneration plan

The regeneration of two of Limerick's most notorious neighbourhoods will transform the lives of residents and allow them to take charge of their future, President Mary McAleese said today.

She was unveiling vision plans for the redevelopment of the troubled Moyross and Southill areas of the city, which will see the demolition of around 2,000 houses and the construction of new amenities and garda stations.

The scheme - the largest in the state's history- contains a number of radical initiatives to combat anti-social behaviour, including making potential residents obtain garda clearance before being allocated a house.

"Today is about communities taking charge of their own destiny," Ms McAleese said.

"Today is about communities saying we're done with the past, we're not doing it again, and the future is going to be very different.

"A huge start is being made today with the launch of these Vision Documents.

"But since what is involved here is a challenge and responsibility, not just for the communities in Moyross and Southill, but for all of us in Irish society, our pledge, society's pledge today, must be to learn from our failures and support these, and other communities, as they turn their vision into full reality," she said.

The regeneration scheme includes plans to totally rebuild Moyross, in the northside of the city, and a significant part of the Southill and Ballincurra Weston estates in the south.

Entitled 'Our Community, Our Vision, Our Future', the vision plans also include a new town centre for Moyross, new neighbourhood centres for Southill and Ballincurra Weston and the development of two new garda stations.

More than 1,000 houses will be demolished in Moyross and 900 in Southill and Ballinacurra.

An additional 400 houses will be redeveloped in the Southill estates of Carew Park and Kincora Park.

The Limerick Regeneration Agencies were also given responsibility by Government before Christmas for the regeneration of St Mary's Park and the rebuilding of 500 more houses.

This will bring to 2,900 the number to be rebuilt or refurbished making it the largest regeneration project undertaken in the state's history.

Both Moyross and Southill have long been plagued with crime and anti-social behaviour, with on-going gangland feuds escalating the violence.

In September 2006, two children in the Moyross estate aged six and four were badly burned after their mother's car was petrol bombed.

Under the new scheme, potential residents must obtain a certificate of eligibility from gardaí before they can be allocated a house.

Meanwhile, families who have been forced from their homes in Southill through harassment and intimidation will get a written commitment from the Southside Regeneration Agency that they will be offered a new home in the redeveloped area.

A radical new approach to policing is to be adopted and all state agencies are to take a heavy hand with those who harass or intimidate residents, including a possible review of welfare payments.

Regeneration Agencies Chief Executive Mr Brendan Kenny said: "This Vision Plan sets out clearly the physical infrastructure required but as we have always said it is the social regeneration aspect which represents the biggest challenge, therefore it gets most attention in the plan."

Both the Northside and Southside Regeneration agencies will contract Master Planning Consultants next month with detailed plans to be produced by June.

Construction on the new homes is expected to start in early 2009.

Southside Regeneration Agency Director Brendan Hayden said: "It is very important that the rules, regulations and the law are strongly enforced by all the agencies mentioned in this Vision Document."

Proposals have also been put forward for the economic transformation of the neighbourhoods, with a new railway service to Moyross recommended along with public transport services to all regeneration areas.

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