Doubts over Limerick funding

DOUBTS over €1.8 billion funding for the proposed regeneration of Limerick’s crime-ridden council estates were raised yesterday.

With the Government determined to seek cuts in public expenditure, Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan claimed there was no allocation of money in the present estimates for regeneration.

He called on the Minister for Local Government John Gormley to spell out where the money is for the massive regeneration programme, officially launched by President Mary McAleese.

Mr Noonan said: “There was great publicity surrounding the new regeneration for Limerick city. Northside and southside agencies were to change the face of the city and enormous sums of money were committed.

“I have searched the 2009 estimates and the only vote I can find related to this matter is Vote 25. Under subhead H3, it stated that a sum of €20,153,000 was allocated for urban regeneration in 2008, principally in Dublin.”

Mr Noonan said the allocation for 2009 has decreased to €1 million, which represents a reduction of about 95%.

“This being the case, I now want to know from Minister Gormley if the Limerick Regeneration Programme is to be stopped or is it to be funded in some other fashion that is not transparent in the estimates,” he said.

“Is there some kind of block grant being allocated to the local authorities? We need to know and see where the money is. There is certainly no money in the regeneration vote in the budget and there is no statement that corresponds to the promises made,” Mr Noonan said.

“Minister Gormley needs to spell it out in clear terms and answer the question,” he added.

Meanwhile, the northside regeneration agency yesterday denied it had closed down its Moyross headquarters after threats to staff during a protest about stray horses on Tuesday.

The agency denied saying the office would remain closed until an investigation is carried out.


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