Stand Off in Limerick, but the Council are Bluntly Stating that being a Fianna Fail Backbencher at present, means Sweet Fuck all, Tough on the Decent people of Limerick, including Willie?

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Limerick residents protest demolition of two houses as local homeless numbers increase

22nd June 2022

A STANDOFF ENSUED between Gardai, demolition crews, and residents of Moyross today as locals protested the demolition of two Council-owned houses.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea said it was “inept” to demolish houses as the city battled the worst housing crisis in recent history.

The two joined three-bedroom homes in Pineview Gardens, that had previously been upgraded and left vacant, were demolished after Gardai ordered protestors away from the properties, for their own safety.

Local resident and protestor Alan Daly, said the demolition works were “meant to be put on hold” until there had been further consultation with residents.

“There are people homeless all over Limerick, and not just in Limerick, we are in the middle of a homeless crisis and they are knocking two perfectly good houses,” said Daly.

“I know of four or five different families who said they have applied for these houses, they are cramped into the houses they are in, there are nine people living in one house, there are 13 living in another house.”

Last November it emerged that over 600 houses in the estate had been scheduled for demolition and that over €7m had already been spent demolishing 381 units, amidst ongoing concerns about major levels of family overcrowding.

Some of those living in cramped conditions said they had found it “impossible” to socially distance during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Limerick City and County Council stated that the plans to demolish the houses, 1 and 2 Pineview Gardens were approved by the Moyross Residents Forum.

“The demolition of 1 & 2 Pineview Gardens, which were former Barnardos Offices that have been vacant for 5 plus years, and not housing, was originally scheduled for 30 May 2022.”

“It came as a surprise to the Council that there was any opposition to the demolition of these buildings however, a decision to postpone the demolition was taken in response to concerns raised by a small number of residents.

“Following the postponement Moyross Residents Forum did another door to door consultation exercise in Pineview. It was established that there was not significant opposition to the demolition and as such the Council proceeded to demolish the buildings today.”

On 1 June, local Sinn Fein TD, Maurice Quinlivan, said homelessness in Limerick had “spiraled to new and concerning levels, never seen so bad” with the “latest figures for adult homeless telling us that there are 283 adults homeless in Limerick”.

This was an increase of 61 people from April 2021, one year before the most recent data available.

Deputy Quinlivan said the actual number of homeless people was “much more as many are couch-surfing, others living in very poor conditions often in extremely overcrowded homes and many of these are on no lists”.

He described as “shameful that the mid-west has 109 homeless children, the bulk of them in Limerick City” and he warned “we are facing a tsunami of evictions in Limerick” due to people not being able to afford any type of housing due to the sharply rise in the cost of living.

There were more than 2,200 people on Limerick’s local authority housing waiting list at the start of this month.

Willie O’Dea said he had been assured by representatives from Limerick City and County Council last May that the houses in Pineview “wouldn’t be demolished without further consultation with the residents, and I’m surprised that this action has been taken in view of the fact that nothing had been resolved”.

“It’s the worst possible time to do this, the demolition of houses is the last thing you’d expect to see in view of the magnitude of the housing crisis.”

“It seems to be inept, to say the least of it, to be demolishing houses on one hand and building houses on the other hand,” O’Dea exclaimed.

A local group representing Moyross residents has submitted plans for 100 new houses to be built in the estate.

Member of the group, Paddy Flannery, who also runs a local community enterprise centre in the estate, said residents in Pineview were consulted about local housing plans, including plans to demolish houses in Pineview.

Flannery said he understood people’s concerns but that in his opinion further houses would have to be knocked as part of the ongoing regeneration of the area.

Limerick’s Mayor Daniel Butler, said last September that Limerick Regeneration, which was launched to fanfare 14 years ago, had “failed” the communities it was tasked to help.

Over 1,287 homes have been demolished and around 300 homes have been newly built as part of Regeneration’s total €400m spend.

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