THE construction of the first houses under the Limerick Regeneration plan has been further delayed, as the chosen building firm has halted a number of projects and laid off 450 workers.
Hundreds of houses have been demolished in the regeneration areas, Southill, Ballinacurra Weston, Moyross and St Mary’s Park.
But there have been growing concerns in the estates that after more than two years not one single house had been built.
When the plan was launched in November 2008, the €3 billion project was to ultimately see 4,790 new houses built and a further 2,450 replaced.
It was envisaged that the state would invest €1.6bn with a further €1.4bn coming from the private sector.
However, the property crash led to a major review of the plan and most work was concentrated on demolishing derelict and abandoned houses.
Money has also been poured into a wide range of organisations providing various services in the regeneration areas.
The regeneration agency had hoped that the construction of 33 properties in Moyross would help boost confidence among residents who have become increasing concerned at the lack of action on the house building front.
Work on the Moyross estate was due to commence earlier this year.
The construction firm given the contract has halted a number of developments and laid off staff. It says it is owed €5 million by various government departments.
Chief executive of the regeneration agency Brendan Kenny said: “It is very unfortunate this has happened because this is the first building development and this was the one that was going to give people hope. However, it’s a symptom of what’s happening in the construction industry.”
Mr Kenny said that if the preferred contractor cannot produce a bond, they will approach the next preferred company which tendered for the project.
The tender is for the construction of 13 two and three-bedroom houses at Cliona Park, Moyross, and 20 sheltered style apartments for elderly residents in the estate.
Mr Kenny said: “We had been hoping to start the work before this, but we are conscious that there are problems in the industry.”
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