I thank the Ceann Comhairle for agreeing to take this issue. Since 1999, when I was elected to Dublin City Council, I have been deeply involved in regeneration projects across the south inner city, including locations such as St. Michael's Estate, Fatima Mansions, St. Teresa's Gardens, Dolphin House and many more.
I am concerned that, due to the collapse of public private partnerships, some regeneration did not happen, particularly in St. Michael's Estate where I live. A wonderful job has been done on Fatima Mansions and work has now commenced on St. Teresa's Gardens. In the 1950s, Dublin Corporation built St. Teresa's Gardens with 346 flats in 16 blocks, as well as ten houses and ten shops. At the time it was heralded as the greatest place to live. I know many people who grew up there over the years and they would still say the same thing today.
Since those years, however, many problems have occurred within the flat complex, including dampness, mould and sewerage. The area has fallen into a poor state of repair. These problems are at times compounded by serious anti-social behaviour, criminal activity and drug dealing. The situation has become a nightmare for the 120 residents living there.
The regeneration board was established in 2005 and spent several years working on a masterplan for redeveloping the flats complex. The project was to be completed through a public private partnership. In 2009, however, the plan was abandoned as that regeneration project and four others in the city fell victim to the recession and the demise of the developer Mr. Bernard McNamara who was supposed to complete the projects at that time. It was devastating news for the residents, public representatives and the wider community.
Since then, the remaining residents of St. Teresa's Gardens have been left in limbo. The council has been unable to proceed due to lack of funding, as the Minister knows. Conditions have worsened and the tenanting process has come to a halt. This is because the city council is finding it difficult to re-house the other 120 residents.
Last October, Dublin City Council started to demolish two of the housing blocks, and that work has now been completed. In recent months, residents have been called to meetings about the rebuilding of St. Teresa's Gardens. They have been asked to consider the refurbishment of three of the blocks there - which did not go down very well at one of the meetings - and the development of 57 new units, including 27 houses and 30 apartments. This is still not progress because no masterplan has been produced for the people living there.
Can the Minister clarify whether this project will proceed in future and, if so, how will his Department support it? Rumour has it that the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government will supply funding to develop 57 housing units, which are included in a plan shown to local residents. Because of the time that has elapsed since 2009, people feel that answers are required. I look forward to the Minister's reply in this regard.