Rehousing turned areas of Limerick into ‘war zones’

Community activist hopes case will lead to rights-based legislation on regeneration

A model, dating from 2010, showing a proposed new development in Moyross, Limerick as part of the Limerick Regeneration Plan.

A model, dating from 2010, showing a proposed new development in Moyross, Limerick as part of the Limerick Regeneration Plan.

 

The act of depopulating parts of Limerick earmarked for regeneration transformed certain areas into “war zones”, according to local community activist Cathal McCarthy.

The father of three, who was heavily involved in the Collective Complaint process in Limerick, lives in one of the city’s four regeneration communities.

He is hoping the result of the action being taken in Europe will lead to the introduction of rights-based legislation governing how regeneration is carried out by local authorities.

“What’s different about Limerick is while there would have been problems with some of the housing quality before regeneration came, regeneration made it worse because it had a policy of depopulation.”

The process of moving tenants and boarding up houses resulted in antisocial behaviour and difficult living conditions for remaining residents, according to Mr McCarthy. He lives in Weston Gardens with his partner, Cindy, and their sons, Ogie (12), Ruairi (11) and Daithi (5).

Looting for copper

“The vast majority of people in Weston were proud of their homes . . . but in the space of two years the place transformed into something like a war zone because of the depopulation and the boarded-up houses . . . the looting for copper and the burning out of houses.”

In 2001, six weeks after buying his home in Weston Gardens – one of nine terrace houses over 120 years old – Mr McCarthy recalled how the first of three houses in the terrace was burned out. Refurbishments on the burned houses commenced last August.

Mr McCarthy is PRO for the Weston Gardens Residents Association, which is affiliated to Limerick Regeneration Watch.