Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Ballymun Regeneration Clarification
I wanted to give an update on the funding situation regarding the Ballymun Regeneration programme in light of some reports in the past few days stating that that funding to Ballymun Regeneration Limited (BRL) for 2012 has been cut by 40%. These figurers originated from a local Councillor's misrepresentation of the situation and I would like to point out what the situation really is.
Firstly, there is no "cut" of €40m. BRL are not getting all the money they want, but that's a consequence of the severe financial situation we find ourselves in. Funding remains on a par with last year’s spend and it is the case that housing provision is being reprioritised.
There was also a statement saying that there are 279 families with a housing need whereas the real figure is 227. While this is still far too high, the priority now is to focus on the provision of housing to meet their needs.
It is true that we don’t have the money to do all that we'd like right now and that we may not be able to deliver every detail of the original vision for Ballymun before 2014. But there is life after that, and some projects will have to wait longer. I believe we must prioritise the elements of the scheme that are most important right now, and that's homes for the families that need them.
Other things like some road and park projects may have to wait longer, but make no mistake, there will be no corners cut in Ballymun. Just because one local representative states that this amounts to a ‘full downgrade’ of the project and that this ‘spells the end’ of these projects, does not mean it is the case. The government is determined that there is a proper completion strategy and that everyone who has a housing need in the area will be properly housed.
I made this point to the Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan when I raised the completion of Ballymun in the Dáil in January and the Minister reaffirmed to me her commitment to the completion of Ballymun. Minister O’Sullivan also accepted my invitation to visit Ballymun to see first-hand the progress that has been made to date and as a Ballymunner,I look forward to showing her around with pride.
It's up to us all: local representatives and the community to make sure that we stand by Ballymun and demand the best for it. Headline grabbing comments about families waiting for their homes serve no one’s interest only the person misrepresenting the situation. The people of Ballymun deserve honesty, not misleading statements intended for political gain.