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in good condition goes under-reported by the media. However, Mr. Murray is not shy to highlight the issues. He spoke on the Late Late Show recently about a Limerick resident he knew of who had a house valued at €80,000. He decided to sell, a crime-gang offered him €16,000, the owner refused and was burnt out. He ended up broke and homeless. Reports circulate about gangs who bully

people into selling their houses at low-prices (as a way of laundering money, for instance) and it is known the Criminal Assets Bureau keeps an eye on what is happening. The best way to take on the gangs, according to Mr. Murray, has been through community-backed initiatives: "One of the big pluses for Limerick is that it is small enough for residents groups, community reps and Gardai to resist the criminal gangs. But it doesn’t happen easily, it takes a lot of work and collaboration." While unhappy with Limerick City Council over O’Malley Park, Mr. Murray feels strongly that people "should not be forced to see the value of their house decrease because of intimidation by criminal gangs."

CDP volunteer slams “decades of neglect” A CDP volunteer of many years’ experience in community development and who lives in one of Limerick’s disadvantaged areas felt s/he could only talk openly on housing by being anonymous. S/he said drug-gangs often buy people’s houses in disadvantaged parts of the city and it was not wise to be seen talking openly about their activities. Here are the points s/he makes: - "There have been decades of neglect, prior to the upsurge in gang-violence. St. Mary’s Park, for example, was built

Ahern’s hopes for Southill and beyond

in the 1930s and forgotten about. Poverty has been ingrained in people’s minds over four generations. - "It is no surprise St. Mary’s has the lowest level of electoral turnout in the entire state. In the past, people didn’t even think they were entitled to have a voice. The CDPs do represent the main voice of the community, though you have to be careful how you represent the community. - "Moyross and Southill, 30 years ago, were fantastic places to go to, but the €5,000 tenant purchase scheme finished all that. - "At the moment, there are certain

Pic © Derek Speirs.

MINISTER of State, Noel Ahern, is responsible for Housing and Urban Renewal, with the Department of the Environment and Local Government. In the long-term, O’Malley Park and the wider area of Southill in Limerick, as well as numerous other disadvantaged areas throughout the country, are to benefit from a refit or from entire regeneration programmes. Minister Ahern visited Limerick last year to announce details of the five-year plan for Southill. The overall refurbishment of the 600 houses (including O’Malley Park) will cost around €80 million. Som e houses will be knocked, some new ones built, and a €1 million community centre constructed. On the national stage, for the first time ever, housing was included in the National Development Plan (2000 -2006) with £6 billion changing ireland

earmarked for social and affordable housing. That’s €6,000,000. During Mr. Ahern’s tenure, the number of houses built has reached an all-time high, though affordability was obviously another issue. Despite a slow start, €1.6bn was spent on social and affordable housing in 2004, providing homes for more than 12,000 households. This year saw Minister Ahern spend a total of €922 million (which was a record increase of 19.3% on 2004). It went on the following programmes:Provision of local authority housing = €841 million; Provision of traveller accommodation and support = €45 million; Remedial works to local authority dwellings =


families from one estate who are being moved by the city council to another estate where a family they fighting with live. Everyone knows these two families don’t mix. - "The authorities need to clampdown on drug-dealing. It is spreading into more and more estates. But the Gardai are doing absolutely nothing as far as I can see. They are probably so peed off bring criminals to court and the judges letting them off. The judges should be made live in one of our estates for a week. - "My neighbour had a window shot in by mistake. All because she lived next door to someone who was a target." homeless people have died of cold on our streets



Hot in Issue 16: - MAIN STORY: TAOISEACH STARTLED – HOUSES FOR SALE €30,000 - ALSO: - CDP proves you can fight class discrimination by secon...


Hot in Issue 16: - MAIN STORY: TAOISEACH STARTLED – HOUSES FOR SALE €30,000 - ALSO: - CDP proves you can fight class discrimination by secon...