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He Made Us An Offer That We Refused!!

category limerick | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Thursday November 01, 2007 20:43author by Cathal McCarthy - Weston Gardens Residents Associationauthor phone 0872929676 Report this post to the editors

On 1 October 2007, the Weston Gardens Residents' Association, of which I am Cathaoirleach, sent a letter by registered post to Brendan Kenny (CEO Limerick Regeneration Agencies). When Mr. Kenny did not respond after 3 weeks, we decided to go public. On 24 October 2007, we bought a full page in the Limerick Leader and published a shortened version . The reaction of Mr. Kenny & co. was predictable; spin and deny.

"Everything was one on one, Paulie hated conferences; he didn't want anybody hearing what he said and he didn't want anybody listening to what he was being told." (Martin Scorsose's Goodfellas)

We can expect a fictional mafia boss to be less than democratic in his dealings, but we should expect more from Brendan Kenny and the Southside Regeneration Agency in its consultation with the beleaguered residents of our troubled estates.

Contrary to what was reported by some media outlets, the residents of Weston Gardens Rosbrien are in favour of a "facelift". We are, however, opposed to the demolition of our historic homes.

I do not "believe" that the residents of Weston Gardens Rosbrien are being excluded from a residents committee that will discuss and make plans concerning our homes, I know it.

I know because that's what Mr. Kenny told me at one of our one on one meetings.

Nor do I believe his reason for our exclusion; that residents from Ballinacurra Weston would object to us because we are a private estate and now apparently, neither does Mr. Kenny.

Indeed, a question I would like to ask one to one is: how can a residents' committee for Ballinacurra Weston be fairly established without informing the residents beforehand or without holding a public meeting, as was done in Keyes Park and O'Malley Park?

At an earlier one to one in July, Mr. Kenny assured me that people who had sold their homes back to the council would be contacted and offered "secure, good quality, housing within the regenerated areas". He agreed that the council had failed to make this guarantee and that this was counter-productive to the regeneration process and would be stopped. This hasn't happened.

The daily reality of living with criminal and anti-social behaviour makes law-abiding people desperate to get away from it and live normal lives. Limerick City Council continues to 'buy' their homes back for as little as €20,000, boarding them up as they vacate.

Such degeneration does little to restore "confidence and stability" and in the context of the Fitzgerald Report it makes no sense at all, as the very people that are supposed to benefit from regeneration are being scattered to the four corners of the city and housed in communities that are suspicious of them. After a year of renting from the council, these people have the option to buy their new homes using the €20,000 as a deposit. Without those promised "intensive policing arrangements" this displacement will continue.

Mr. Kenny also assured me, one to one, that I would see a "highly visible Garda presence" based in our troubled estates by Christmas. He then asked me to join a residents committee and to furnish him with a list of like-minded people in the area.

By September Mr. Kenny had obviously changed his mind and I was glad that I hadn't given him that list. When I returned with news of our exclusion the Weston Gardens Residents' Association sent another representative to meet with him. When that proved fruitless we sent him a letter by registered post on 1st October. We had agreed to wait 3 weeks for a response.When we received none we decided to publish a shortened version of our letter.

I didn't write that letter; it was a collective effort. Mr. Kenny's public response was predictable; it is often the case that reasoned debate is replaced by personalised attacks when a credible answer is lacking.

The 'consultation' that was offered to us was the opportunity to look at plans after they were drafted. We rejected this offer. We had little recourse left but to go public.

Our open letter to Mr. Kenny may well have "horrified" and "peeved" some, but oh, what a tangled web they weave. Visit to read our open letter

Cathal McCarthy,
Weston Gardens Residents Association,

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