Change in Ballymun 'extraordinary', says Shortall


THE TRANSFORMATION of Ballymun in Dublin has been “extraordinary” and contains examples of good practice in urban regeneration, Róisín Shortall, the Minister of State for Health, said yesterday.

It was the biggest regeneration of a community undertaken in Ireland, and one of the biggest in Europe.

The 15-year project, which began in 1998, is due to be completed within two years, when 17,000 people will have been rehoused and about €1 billion will have been spent.

Speaking at the launch of a social plan for Ballymun, which will seek to consolidate social gains made by the physical transformation of the area, Ms Shortall said Ballymun used to be a byword for underachievement and social deprivation.

She said the disconnect between Ballymun and the rest of Ireland continued as the Celtic Tiger took off, and it was left behind until the transformation began in 1998.

Of the 36 blocks of flats in Ballymun, all but six have been demolished and only three are still occupied.

All but 200 households have been rehoused.

Between 1,800 and 1,900 social-housing units have been built, along with 1,300 private homes.

Ms Shortall said regeneration was not just about the physical transformation but ensuring local people have a good quality of life.

The social plan has several themes: ensuring people have a sense of place, education, community safety, health and wellbeing, child development/family support, arts and culture, recreation and sport.