31 July 1997 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

People power forces flats demolition

Cork Corporation councilors under the watchful eyes of over fifty residents and community activists voted on Monday night to reject a developer's plan for the Blackpool flats and instead to write to the Minister for the Environment calling for their demolition. The campaign for the flats demolition has been ongoing for a number of years and has cropped up as an election issue numerous times. Promises have been made but never kept.

On Monday night supporters of the developer's plan, realising they were on a loser, tried in vain to defer a decision to allow further negotiations. The charge was led by Fine Gael's Liam Burke and backed by Tim Brosnan of Fianna Fail. However the presence of many angry residents left those thinking of reneging on promises in no doubt but that this was a defining moment in voter terms. Councillors who had no trouble in backpedalling on service charges and screwing Cork house holders suddenly spoke eloquently of the wishes of the people needing to be respected. Liam Burke's motion fell despite a plea from the City Manager, who was very offended that anyone should doubt his wisdom.

The motion having died a death, the proposal to demolish was passed unopposed. Sinn Féin in Cork has consistently backed the residents and made an issue of the demolition in every election fought over the past number of years.

Don O'Leary of Cork Sinn Féin has welcomed the decision by the Corporation to apply to the Minister for the Environment for funding to demolish Blackpool Flats. Don O'Leary said:

``Finally we seem to be reaching an end to this long sorry saga. It's a compliment to the people of Blackpool who have campaigned so resolutely for this for many years. People power has won out. This is an example for other communities in the city that through self organisation and commitment the will of the people can be upheld.''

``The minister must act with haste now to ensure that the flats are demolished and made simply a bad memory.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1