Liz O'Donnell: Limerick has been in doldrums for too long – it deserves a chance to sparkle
Those of us who know and have lived there were heartened by the recent designation of Limerick as national city of culture for 2014. Others may have been surprised.
To the outsider, Limerick can appear far from cultural. Negative impressions have lodged in the public mind; criminal feuds, sprawling housing estates, complete with roaming horses and feral youths, have too often characterised the city. Sadly, this was the reality for certain areas, neglected by the planning and policing authorities.
Intergenerational joblessness resulted in a handful of communities doomed to poverty, underachievement and criminality. Despite the best efforts of community workers, priests, teachers and gardai, the statistics were stubborn when it came to social mobility or advancement. These were classic ghettoes.