Fatima Mansions beside the grand canal Rialto in Dublins south west inner city between Dolphins Barn and Inchicore, was built in 1949 and was seen as part of the solution to inner city tenement living. Over time, poverty, exclusion and the drug scourge changed all that. Through the years, residents have had to tackle these issues along with that of demonisation. They have endured some of the worst social and living conditions of any housing estate in the country.
In the 1980s Dublin City Council carried out an extensive refurbishment project costing £6.5million (€50 million in todays terms). Initially this was positive but recession cutbacks in various government departments and limited social investment resulted in Fatima returning to decline.
On Friday May 6th 2004, an agreement was signed for the social and physical regeneration of Fatima Mansions. This was negotiated through the Fatima Regeneration Board. This event marked perhaps the most significant moment in the estates long and turbulent history. This ten page agreement negotiated set out the terms under which Fatima would be demolished and rebuilt. It described two essential elements a physical development plan driven by standards of excellence both in housing and community facilities and most importantly, a social regeneration plan with dedicated resources available for tackling poverty and social exclusion.
Over the years there have been many visits from other communities to see and hear about our regeneration. Today Fatima is physically and socially transformed. It is incredible to think how far the community has travelled from the bleak days of the past. However there are still many challenges including dealing with the fall out from the economic collapse resulting in high numbers of youth unemployment, anti-social behaviour and people falling back into poverty traps. Alongside these realities community projects have endured funding cuts for the past six years which impacts on our ability to respond. As a Family Resource Centre we remain focused on delivering an effective sustainable plan that protects the many gains that have been achieved over the past ten years of Fatimas regeneration.
This webpage on Fatimas regeneration is not about promoting how wonderful we feel about our story, nor is it about promoting one particular model or approach to regeneration. We are not suggesting we have all the answers. One thing is true though we negotiated a very ambitious and excellent regeneration plan for Fatima.
Listed below there are various publications and reports from Fatima Groups United, Fatima Regeneration Board, CAN, various universities, etc.
2005 - ‘8 Great Expectations’
published by the
Fatima Regeneration Board.
In Fatima we have long recognised the importance of producing quality documentation of our experiences. This can be first traced back to our land mark document ‘11 Acres / 10 Steps’, widely acknowledged as the first visionary document produced by a community regarding its future.‘11 Acres / 10 Steps’ set a bench mark for developing a social agenda parallel to the physical development. This goal was fully realised in 2005 when ‘8 Great Expectation’ was published by the Fatima Regeneration Board.
At a National level we have contributed to the debate with other communities through Tenant’s First a city-wide tenant movement established to share experiences and support communities engaged in regeneration. In 2005 Tenant’s First produced the ‘Real Guide to Regeneration’, an important learning document in assisting community’s right across the country.