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REGENERATION 6 fantastic results for Fatima Over the last number of years we in Fatima have achieved significant outcomes through regeneration, writes Joe Donohue: 1) A fantastic physical plan with mixed housing tenure, private, affordable and public, retail, leisure and sports facilities are now in place. 2) An ambitious sustainable plan that strives to give the community the potential to be self reliant in generating its own economic resource base has been put in place. This includes enterprise space and 12 apartments for rental purposes all of which can continue to support social programmes. 3) A purpose-built high-standard neighbourhood centre with arts studio, IT training rooms, multi-purpose dance hall, education and homework club rooms, a sport’s hall and an outdoor all-weather pitch are now being used by residents from Fatima and the wider area. 4) The employment of local people in real and sustainable jobs, including various apprenticeships, has played a vital role in breaking the cycle of disadvantage. It has enabled young people to feel positive about community living. 5) Estate management - the days of full-scale drug dealing, prostitution and general chaos have long gone. 6) An excellent partnership approach with key stakeholders has developed, particularly with Dublin City Council and the Garda Siochana. The May 2004 signing of the regeneration agreement with Fatima Groups United (FGU) was the culmination of a long struggle to create an environment where children could grow up in safety and with hope. In flat 18J, Fatima Mansions, the FGU offices, champagne was opened for the first time in the group’s history and people spoke of the stresses of the lead-up to and final days of negotiations, as they celebrated. In the end, the regeneration negotiation was completed relatively quickly.

Ballymun regeneration still to deliver for some - Emma Freeman reports

Walking down Shangan Road, Ballymun one evening, I pass a group of young people around fifteen years old, drinking cans of lager. While their mood was apparently light hearted, I sensed that they could turn at any time. Feeling unsettled, I walked up the stairwell - the lift was broken – to meet a resident on the fifth floor, who agreed to talk to me if her identity was kept hidden. The stairwell is dark, drab concrete, covered in graffiti and filled with an overwhelming stench of urine. I knocked at ‘Brenda’s door, which has an iron grill attached to it. She led me through a large,

bright flat to the balcony. Appearing tired and strained, she lit a cigarette, and looked down at the group of youths drinking below. ‘‘When I used to look out of my flat I saw fields and horses, now when I stand on my balcony, I see a different kind of animal,” she said. “I have lived in Ballymun all my life and for the first time I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I have neighbours who have been stabbed, raped and assaulted in the past three months. Only last week a friend of mine was pulled out of her car and beaten up, the scumbags then drove her car into the flats and wrecked it. I am scared to let my kids go out of the house and they are scared living here. The majority of people round here are good, decent people but there is a minority who are making life hell for the rest of us.” Brenda identified empty houses in the area and asked Dublin City Council to move her into one, but they refused. One council official – she said - told her to ‘have another baby’ if she wanted to be given somewhere else to live. Ballymun is one of several regeneration projects with an uncertain future. Rory Hearne, a member of Tenants First and community worker in Dolphin House believes the State should adopt a Community Development approach to regeneration, saying it would be far more cost effective than allowing problems to escalate. NOTE: Emma Freeman formerly worked for CAP CDP in Ballymun. She writes here in a personal capacity.

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Limerick Regeneration: €1.5b promise An announcement was made in early December through the UL student magazine the ‘Moyross Voice’ (produced in cooperation with CDN Moyross) that over €1.5 billion in private sector investment was on the way to Limerick’s regeneration areas. The news came from Minister Willie O’Dea and details have yet to be released. To date, there have been many homes knocked but none built and people say they have begun to lose faith. The Regeneration Agency CEO was also in the media spotlight recently and admitted to bypassing normal recruitment procedures when staff were initially hired to work for the agency. There was an urgency about getting the agency up and running said CEO Brendan Kenny who defended the fact that his daughter was among those recruited.

1 out of every 2 casualties of war is a civilian caught in crossfire

Profile for CHANGING IRELAND

CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 30/31  

Hot in Issue 30/31: bumper Double Issue Community Development Programme to end after 20 years/ 180 projects: facing wind-up in 2010/ New Pro...

CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 30/31  

Hot in Issue 30/31: bumper Double Issue Community Development Programme to end after 20 years/ 180 projects: facing wind-up in 2010/ New Pro...

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