State agencies ‘abandoned’ St Mary’s Park, says  former Limerick mayor

An outspoken former Limerick mayor claims the people of St Mary’s Park — named in a Pobal deprivation index as the most disadvantaged area of the country — were “abandoned” by state development agencies over decades.

Reacting to the index’s findings, showing St Mary’s Park has an unemployment rate at just under 70% for males, and at 40% for females, Cllr John Gilligan launched a stinging attack on IDA Ireland, as well as the former Shannon Development, which handed over its remit of developing the Limerick region, to the IDA, in 2014.

“Nobody, and I mean nobody — Shannon Development or the IDA — ever lifted their finger to try and replace [traditional industries] in the inner city for places like St Mary’s Park. They did absolutely nothing for them. The people of St Mary’s Park were simply left abandoned,” he said.

The estate, with a recorded population of 759, was built “prior to the Second World War” he said.

“I’m very sad and disappointed, but not surprised [by the findings]... Shannon Development, and the IDA — the people who were paid to put jobs in [the area] — never came next or near the place.”

He added: “I’ve been shouting about this for years, but, like a lot of places, we are just the forgotten people on the Island.”

The ex mayor said a “€20m” flood defence wall is currently under construction around St Mary’s Park. However, despite the investment in flood barriers around the Island, Cllr Gilligan complained: “I’ve yet to see anybody from St Mary’s Park employed on it.”

He also criticised the local authority’s handling of the regeneration of four of Limerick’s most disadvantaged areas, which includes St Mary’s Park. Over the past decade, not a single new house has been built in St Mary’s Park, and just over 100 existing homes have been refurbished in the estate, he said.

He further claims that the local authority “never acted upon” an idea put forward to it by councillors and locals to train local people in refurbishing and retrofitting houses in the estate.

“The last thing you want to do is have people from St Mary’s Park inside [in their homes] looking out their windows, watching [outsiders] regenerating the area. We are putting millions of euros into redeveloping an area, and not tackling the single most important problem that we have, which is a lack of jobs.


More in this Section

Irish businessmen lose Vat-avoidance case

Tánaiste under fire: Fitzgerald humiliated as Government makes fifth U-turn on McCabe

Mother tells inquest she ‘sensed’ tragic drowning

Tánaiste under fire: Annoyed Varadkar indicates this is one can he isn’t prepared to carry


Breaking Stories

Political donors in Northern Ireland set to be named

Former Unionist politician denies being racist after tweet about Leo Varadkar

Mum talks of 'immense' heartbreak of stillborn baby Asha's loss; medical misadventure verdict given

Man paid €20 to put pipe bomb under prison officer's car gets five years in jail

Lifestyle

Having fled the Nazis Elizabeth Friedlander designed covers for Penguin books before moving to Kinsale

The 40-year-old charity that ensures no-one dies alone and poor

Equal treatment is at the heart of a healthy society

Pussy Riot perform in Ireland five years after making headlines

More From The Irish Examiner