Understanding Limerick is an edited collection featuring contributions from leading Irish scholars in the fields of Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology and Urban Geography. Limerick city has some of the most severely disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the Republic of Ireland. The city has also experienced a range of problems in relation to organized crime, gangland feuding and community violence. This collection seeks to explore how profound social exclusion and poverty-related criminality emerged in Limerick city. The success of criminal justice, child protection and Regeneration based responses in tackling these problems is examined. Contributors assess what lessons can be learned from Limerick in terms of broader debates about social exclusion, crime and inequality in Irish society. In 2007, following the publication of the Fitzgerald Report, the Irish government launched a multi-million euro project for the regeneration of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Limerick.
The establishment of this project, though greeted with public acclaim, was in many ways, an acknowledgement of the failure of successive public policies to tackle the complex set of housing, poverty and crime-related problems which had emerged in Limerick. Understanding Limerick: Social Exclusion and Change gathers together recent innovative scholarly research on crime and social exclusion in Limerick city to explain the context for regeneration. In a five chapter study on fear and feuding in Limerick, Niamh Hourigan explores the distinctive contours of organized crime, gangland feuding and community violence which have gained the city its notorious reputation in the national and international media. The success of policing, child protection and regeneration based measures in tackling these problems between 2007 and 2010 is evaluated. Finally, contributors with expertise in gender studies, urban deprivation, media analysis and housing explore how the social exclusion evident in Limerick is linked to political and socio-economic inequalities which exist across Irish society.
By piecing together these expert perspectives, it is argued that the severely deprived in Limerick have experienced a range of different forms of social exclusion which have intersected in an almost unique way to create sharp social divisions within the city. This edited collection attempts to establish how lessons learned from understanding social exclusion in Limerick can contribute to policy change at national and international levels.