Limerick social housing plan will lead to ‘stigmatisation’

The construction of 16 social houses in the “middle” of an existing private estate will lead to new council tenants being “stigmatised”, according to a former Fianna Fáil mayor of Limerick.

Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon described the decision to put council homes in the middle of private estates as “bad planning” and feared it could lead to a backlash.

At present there are 3,289 applicants on Limerick City and County Councils housing list.

“I came from social housing and was reared in social housing, but a decision by the city and county council to put these houses in the middle of a private estate is bad planning,” said Cllr O’Hanlon. “The people who will be given these houses will be stigmatised as everybody will know they are living in social housing. It will not work for the new council tenants.”

He said that by not providing proper amenities, the council had ignored the quality of life of people in this area for years. One resident said “there is nothing in Rhebogue, but houses upon houses”.

“The council has tenants in the estate in existing houses which the council has purchased and now rent. This is working as nobody knows who is in a council-owned house or a privately-owned house. The mix should be done without making it so obvious; this will not happen if this plan goes ahead,” said Cllr O’Hanlon.

A company has been given permission to build 16 two and three-bedroom social housing units at the Drominbeg estate in Rhebogue.

Up to 100 existing residents in the privately-owned houses in Drominbeg have flagged their intention to object to the new social housing plan to An Bord Pleanála.

Residents say there is already a quota of social housing in the estate and more would lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour and result in a potential drop in the value of houses.

Cllr O’Hanlon said planners held no consultation with councillors: “I am fully supporting the residents. I am strongly opposed to the idea of putting blocks of social housing right in the middle of private housing estates.”

Residents maintain social housing in one corner of the estate would promote social exclusion.

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