Spirited residents pitch in to make their neighbourhood complete
LESS than 10 years ago, construction began on a new housing estate in a small community less than 10 minutes' drive from Limerick city.
Yesterday children enjoying their summer holidays were playing freely in the Clarina Village estate while landscapers -- hired by residents -- mowed the greens.
The estate, which compromises four courtyards -- one incomplete -- is like hundreds of Celtic Tiger neighbourhoods that sprung up nationwide.
Construction work stopped several years ago and secure fencing now prevents access to a small number homes which were never completed.
Nevertheless, those living in the completed courtyards say a real community spirit exists in Clarina Village.
Patricia and John O'Mahony live in the estate with their daughters, Katie (5) and Molly (3). "We couldn't be happier," Patricia said.
"There is a big green area right in front of the house for the children to play in and they have a lot of friends here."
"The neighbours are brilliant -- everyone knows each other's kids. People look out for each other," she said.
Her husband John said a lot of work had been done in the estate recently thanks to the good work of a residents' committee. "Obviously there is a lot more work to be done, but some of the residents here are very good and have done some great work for our estate," John said.
Their views were echoed by their neighbours Tony and Dympna O'Carroll who have three children, Jenny (20), Emma (14) and Tom (9).
"As you can see everyone can see the green and where the kids are from inside their homes," Dympna said.
"The residents organised for the grass to be cut and the place kept well."
But Tony said the local authority must complete the unfinished homes. "There has to be something done there -- it cannot be left like this," he said.
Local councillor James Collins said Limerick County Council had a lot more work to do for the residents of Clarina Village.
"The sewage in the estates is on a pumping system and the council really had to be pushed to take over the maintenance of the pump," he said.
"The only public money spent here really has been on health and safety -- putting up fencing where work was not completed."
"However, the residents deserve better than this -- the local authority has a responsibility to them," he added.