Sinn Féin TD for Limerick, Maurice Quinlivan, has called on the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, to reverse his decision to cease funding the Economic and Social Intervention Fund (ESIF) in Limerick.
Deputy Quinlivan made the comments following confirmation from the Department of Housing and Local Government that the funding will conclude in 2023.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“Earlier this month, I asked the Minister for Housing and Local Government, via a Parliamentary Question, if the Economic and Social Intervention Fund (ESIF) would continue to be funded by central government.
“Unfortunately, the response I received confirmed funding will cease at the end of this year, and added that the Minister has asked Limerick Council to develop a strategy for future funding for the initiatives that this fund previously supported.
“The Limerick Regeneration Framework Implementation Plan (LRFIP) set out a programme of physical, social, and economic interventions over a ten-year period from 2014-2023.
“The Department of Housing and Local Government provided funding for social regeneration activities, through the ESIF, for the duration of each regeneration project. The ESIF has financially supported 180 social, economic and community development projects across Limerick’s four regeneration areas.
“Despite the Minister’s response acknowledging that the ESIF is an integral part of the overall approach to regeneration, it is regrettable that he has made the decision to discontinue the funding.
“I am requesting that the Minister reverse this decision as a cut to this fund will have a negative impact on the regeneration areas of Ballinacurra Weston, Moyross, Southill, St Mary’s Park.
“The ESIF has had a positive impact on many people, families and projects across the whole of Limerick City. Such projects include the Bedford Row Family Project, Limerick Youth Service and Limerick Island Community Partners serving the King’s Island area.
“It supports Our Lady of Lourdes Community centre, Southill Area Hub and Moyross groups like Extern Ireland and the community enterprise centre. It has also benefited St Munchin’s Community Enterprise Centre.
“Even if funding is sourced by Limerick Council, it will not be anywhere near sufficient to support the huge number of projects that depend on this funding. While Limerick Council works with KPMG on a Status Update for Limerick Regeneration, I am calling on the Minister to reverse the short-sighted decision to cut ESIF Funding.
“Limerick Council should not be expected to replace this funding – this would be a near impossible challenge for any local authority.
“This funding should not cease. I am asking that this decision be reversed immediately, and funding be allocated for 2024 and beyond.
“So many communities depend on this funding, and it is too important to be lost.”