SOLIDARITY Councillor Cian Prendiville has urged the Council to write to government officials asking them to allocate money in the upcoming budget for a ‘Regeneration Programme’ targeting 651 vacant properties in Limerick city centre.
Such a programme would aim to bring vacant units into public ownership and to develop them as public housing to rent or buy at social and affordable rates.
“Latest Census figures show that there are 651 vacant properties in Limerick city centre, meaning that the level of vacancy is around 20 percent,” explained the Limerick city north Cllr.
He suggested that this is an “obvious opportunity for a regeneration-style programme” and estimated a figure of “between 53 and 54 million” to do up the properties.
He proposed that the project would “provide both social and affordable accommodation”, “breathe new life into the city centre” and would “improve dereliction” and “protect local heritage”.
“This project has multiple benefits and is a logical way to provide housing,” he claimed.
Commenting on the issue, Deputy Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick Fianna Fail Cllr Vivienne Crowley stressed the importance of “provisional housing for young, single men” who could benefit from this project.
“They are vulnerable, discriminated against and denied places on the housing list. We are not doing enough to protect them,” claimed the Limerick City North Cllr, while Fine Gael Cllr Elenora Hogan added: “It is not just single men, but men going through marriage separation as well.”
Speaking about the current Regeneration project, Sinn Fein Cllr Séighin O’Ceallaigh said:
“We need to say that we got it wrong in 2007 and ask Minister Eoghan Murphy for money to do it right this time. We don’t need to look into different avenues when we have one right in front of us.”
In response, Cllr Prendiville encouraged the Council to “step up” to protect heritage, stop dereliction and provide housing to those who are in desperate need of a home in Limerick city.