Cllr Emer Costello has called on Dublin City Council to reverse its decision to terminate the employment of the two`local part-time Regeneration Workers at O’Devaney Gardens and one part time regeneration worker at Croke Villas, Ballybough, Dublin 3 by ceasing funding to the Regeneration Agency Community Technical Aid (CTA).
Speaking at the City Council meeting this evening, Cllr Costello stated that Dublin City Council had treated the workers, the Regeneration Board and the community with contempt. The Regeneration Board had not been consulted in relation to that decision. As Dublin City Council’s own representative on the O’Devaney Gardens Regeneration Board, she was stunned to learn second-hand of the decision to terminate the employment of the Regeneration Workers. Cllr Costello raised the issue at the September Central Area Committee and proposed the motion for the October City Council meeting calling on the City Manager to reverse the decision terminating the employment of the Regeneration Workers.
Cllr Costello stated that the Regeneration Workers provide an invaluable service to the communities. They provide essential linkages between the community and Dublin City Council. Following the collapse of the Public Private Partnership in May 2008, the Regeneration Workers from O’Devaney Gardens played a major role in calming the very volatile situation that existed there at the time. In addition, they worked with the local community to ensure the delivery of a viable new plan. Residents of Croke Villas, who were completely devastated by the collapse of that PPP, were not as fortunate as to have an alternative plan in place. However, Dublin City Council had agreed to develop a Local Area Plan for the area and the services of the Regeneration Officer in the community consultation would be pivotal in developing an inclusive and democratic plan. Over the past six years, the Regeneration Workers have devoted their lives to their communities, and in contrast the City Council’s treatment of them is completely cold and ruthless.
Cllr Costello stated that the figures in relation to costs of the workers produced by the City Manager were inaccurate. It was also very worrying that no effort had been made to negotiate with either CTA or the Workers on the costs involved prior to the decision being made. She called on the City Manager to withdraw the letter terminating the funding and to enter into negotiations with CTA, the Regeneration Board, the workers and the local councillors.
Cllr Costello completely rejected the Manager’s report that the work of the Regeneration Workers in O’Devaney Gardens is now complete as the Masterplan had been developed and a planning application would be sent to An Bord Pleanala in the coming weeks. She argued that the work of the Regeneration Workers at this crucial juncture was need more than ever. It would be crucial that the Regeneration Workers remain in place to guide the residents of O’Devaney Gardens through the public consultation process.
Moreover, the Regeneration Workers in both Croke Villas and O’Devaney Gardens made substantial inputs into the social regeneration necessary for the communities and that this work is still very essential in the communities.
The motion calling on the manager to reverse the decision to terminate the employment of the workers, proposed by Cllr Costello, was adopted overwhelmingly by the City Council. Cllr Costello is now calling for an Emergency Meeting of the O’Devaney Gardens Regeneration Board so that negotiations with the City Council can take place in a meaningful environment.