Extra €20m sought for Ballymun scheme


URBAN RENEWAL:THE STATE company behind the redevelopment of Ballymun in north Dublin is seeking an additional €20 million from the Government to complete the regeneration project.

Ballymun Regeneration Ltd (BRL) managing director Philip Maguire said the money was needed to complete the road and drainage infrastructure so that newly built homes could be fully connected to Ballymun centre and the wider locality.

Some €900 million of public money has already been spent on the regeneration of the 1960s high-rise estate. The project began in 1997 and is due for completion in 2014, by which time all of the residents of the old flats will be rehoused.

However while tenants, some of whom have lived for more than 40 years in increasingly dilapidated and inadequate accommodation, will have high-quality new homes, they will not be living in properly integrated and accessible estates unless the €20 million is forthcoming from the Government.

The money would be used to fund the construction of just four roads at Hampton Woods, Sillogue Avenue, Balcurris Road and Gateway Crescent.

Some of it would also be used to replace an underground surface water mains.

Mr Maguire, who is also assistant Dublin city manager, acknowledged the additional funding requirement seemed high, but he said it was “comparatively small” in the context of the overall cost of the project and the size of Ballymun.

“At just under 18,000, Ballymun would have a bigger population than most county towns, certainly bigger than Longford, Cavan, Roscommon or Castlebar. These are the sort of facilities you would expect to find in a town of that size.”

The new roads would mean that the communities in Ballymun were fully integrated and not cut off from one another. Crucially, they would give people better access to the main street in Ballymun.

This was particularly important, Mr Maguire said, because of the need of these communities to have good access to public transport.

“The buses mostly go up and down the main street. Going for a bus to get to school or get to work you don’t want to have a choice of cutting across grassland or going around the long way.”

Despite the economic constraints, Mr Maguire said he was confident of a positive response from Government which he said had always been very supportive of the project.

“In current financial terms it is a significant amount of money but in comparison with the overall cost of the scheme where we’ve spent €900 million of public funds, and a further €400 to €500 million of private funds has been spent in Ballymun, it is a comparatively small sum of money.”

A spokesman for the Minister of State for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan, said she was absolutely committed to the completion of the Ballymun project and had committed funding to build all the remaining housing needed.

However he said in relation to the additional funds sought by Mr Maguire “it is not possible to accede to this request at this time”.