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REGENERATION

Fatima seeks to dodge Bord Snip bullet Joe Donohue reports

“The Fatima project has now become a flagship project for other disadvantaged areas who are waiting to be regenerated and it’s critically important that it continues to thrive,” says Joe Donohue of Fatima Groups United (FRC). He fears the Bord Snip report – if implemented in full – would have “catastrophic” implications for Fatima, after all that has been achieved. Joe writes: On November 3rd, President Mary McAleese for her third and probably her last visit came to mark the completion of the physical plan and launch Fatima’s new community and enterprise facilities. She commented, “it is ironic that while eleven years ago Fatima longed to be like the more affluent and achieving communities around the city, the transformation of Fatima has made this the place we now look to for inspirational example as we try to find a safe way through

Iceland has no military and no military expenditure

the current economic storms. Fatima has demonstrated that almost anything is possible, if you are solid in your resolve, unstinting in your pursuit of it and if people work generously together for the common good of all”.

communities their chance too. While Fatima enjoyed some luck along the way, ultimately our hard work, determination and getting the power balance right were key to our regeneration.

Three Keys To Success

Fergus Finlay, Barnardos CEO recently wrote of his visit to Fatima “Dublin City council, Government Ministers, State agencies, private developers – all have played significant roles in the new village President McAleese will see tomorrow. But what has been built in Fatima, astonishing as it is, owes everything in the final analysis to the leadership shown by a community that had nothing”.

As a practitioner I have consistently stated that the regeneration of communities will only work if there are three core elements in place. Best practice demands: 1. A physical development plan driven by standards of excellence, both in housing and community facilities 2. A social regeneration plan with dedicated resources for tackling poverty and social exclusion 3. An economic and sustainable strategy that puts enterprise and economic self reliance at its core. These elements should be built into the process from the outset and continue beyond its completion. Good policy and practice within local authorities alone will not guarantee this – what is required is a strong legislative basis that recognises and deals with power and equality issues and critically recognises the need to have communities at the heart of the decision-making process.

Trust And Respect Won The Day

As shown in Fatima, trust, respect and equality of relationships have played a major part in our success. Things would have collapsed without them. Our experience has much to offer. We can only hope that those in authority who will rightly promote the success of our project, will give other

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Fergus Finlay

Looking Back To The ‘80s

Looking back, in the 1980’s, the Fatima refurbishment programmed failed because of the economic reality that the country faced. Today the Government is in the process of making a four billion euro economic adjustment/cuts. The An Bord Snip Nua report makes recommendations to Government, which included the discontinuation of the Family Support Agency, The Jobs Initiative and changes in the payment of C. E. participants. If the report is implemented in full, it will have a catastrophic effect on the Fatima project. It is critical that common sense prevails regarding potential cuts that could see the whole Fatima project seriously damaged and undermined. The Fatima project has now become a flagship project for other disadvantaged areas who are waiting to be regenerated and its critically important that it continues to thrive.

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