As I walked into town on Thursday morning 2-weeks ago I noticed something strange as I passed the Tait Factory site on Lord Edward St. – there was a flurry of activity from men in hard hats and yellow jackets. This was unusual because there hasn't been any activity there since last July.
Although, I suppose it isn't really all that surprising when you consider that the project history of this proposed development has been start-stall-stop since its announcement by Limerick Regeneration in 2011 and its approval in 2012 when it was granted planning permission.
As I returned home from town I got answer to the reason for all the activity. I spotted Alan Kelly TD, the Labour Party’s Minister for Environment, crossing the street. Of course, they must be making another announcement and what could be a better time to do that then the run up to an election.
You can view the history of the development here: cisireland. The new finish date is 15/08/2017; the original finish date (which was announced in 2013) was 16/03/2015.
The plans is to build 79 housing units, 58 of which will be houses and apartments for the elderly, a retail commercial unit and a community facility with a function room, exhibition area, meeting areas and other facilities and at this stage I’ll believe it when I see it
Kelly nodded at me as he crossed the road and I nodded back; he looked dejected and down trodden, I almost felt sorry for him until I remembered our last encounter.
I met him in town in 2010 when he was an MEP; he had taken Kathy Sinnott’s seat in the European Parliament and as a consequence on the EU Petitions Committee. I had been trying to contact him since his election in 2009; I had emailed him and left messages with his office, but I had got no reply.
Kathy had helped me to successfully petition the EU on issues of an environmental and public health concern and I was hoping that Kelly would pick up where she had left off. He apologised for not getting back to me and said that if I emailed him again with the details that he would look in to it and get back to me. I did just that, several times, I never even got an acknowledgement.
Now I didn't go chasing after him with my phone recording and shouting abuse (I’ll leave that carry on to the nut-jobs) but I did take a picture of his car, which must have cost a bit to get done.
Limerick’s Jan O’Sullivan TD is Labours incumbent; she is the outgoing Minister for Education and prior to that she was Minister for State for Housing. O’Sullivan was first elected to the Dáil in 1997 in a by-election that was held following the death of Labour colleague and mentor, Jim Kemmy TD.
O’Sullivan has been re-elected to the Dáil in the 3 general elections since then. However, she has never been elected by exceeding the quota; on each occasion she took the last seat without reaching the quota because all the other candidates had been eliminated and it is more than likely that she will be eliminated this time round and deservedly so.
As Minister for Education, O’Sullivan has been unremarkable, but as the Minister of State for Housing she was disastrous. When her appointment was announced I was over the moon – a Limerick TD in charge of housing could only mean great things for regeneration, I thought to myself.
You see, for the first few months of the Fine Gael / Labour governments’ existence I had actually believed all their talk about looking out for communities and all the reforms that would make things more inclusive, but it was all bullshit.
And if I need more confirmation that it was bullshit, O’Sullivan launched the Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan (LRFIP) to invited guests in the Thomond Suite at Thomond Park on 27th September 2013. Very few residents were invited to attend the launch, although all of the speakers stressed how much community involvement and "collaboration" there was with residents in developing it.
This plan green-lined much of the land for private development in the long-term and red-lined many occupied homes for demolition without the agreement of the residents and those of us that were invited had to embarrass the invitations out of O’Sullivan. The whole affair was little more than a PR stunt for O’Sullivan.
I think I’ll give her my No. 9
The Community Centre where I live has a Labour billboard ad featuring Joan Burton.
Now, if I’m harder on Labour than I am on Fine Gael it is because I expected more from them. They claim to care about the working-class, the poor and the disadvantaged and then they screw us over with water meters and let us down completely when it came to “regeneration”
They want to repeal the 8th amendment and introduce abortion –on-demand like the have in Britain and in recent weeks they have been constantly describing themselves as “progressive”, which is “a term that former liberals co-opted when they discovered that their delusional beliefs didn't fit any recognized definition of the word liberal.” And that is a description that suits them.