Confirmation that there are 27 unfinished housing estates in the Killaloe Municipal District has been described as “shocking”.
Clare County Council has revealed there are 27 estates on its Register of Estates in the Killaloe district, each at various stages of progression, waiting to be taken in charge.
The register includes a claim on IBRC bonds to special liquidators for Power’s Court and Ardmore Estates in Tulla and a schedule of works agreed and funded by NAMA in lieu of IBRC bond at Churchfields, Clonlara.
Councillor Pat Hayes described the list of work to be done as “shocking” at a recent meeting. The Fianna Fáil councillor told the meeting each estate had a different schedule of works to be done, with different costs associated with their deficiencies throughout the district.
He proposed that funding be allocated from the Government to tackle this issue, as he said people are living “in no man’s land” waiting for works to be completed.
“I have seen estates being torn down in Roscommon. We haven’t come to this stage but we are at crisis level for people living in estates who are being left in limbo,” he said.
Councillor Alan O’Callaghan said every estate has its own issues and no two estates are the same, as some are waiting for bonds to be redeemed and others are dealing with a receiver.
Councillor Pat Burke said it is important that the same mistakes are not made that occurred during previous administrations under Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, when unregulated over-development was permitted without a matching need.
This prompted a rebuke from Councillor Tony O’Brien, who declared, “I wasn’t going to mention Aer Lingus here today” in reference to the Government’s support for the sale of the State’s 25.1% share in the national airline.
Councillor Joe Cooney said he was amazed to see so many unfinished estates throughout the district.
Councillor Tony O’Brien stated progress needs to be made to bring unfinished estates up to a proper standard, as householders’ lives are being adversely affected due to a lack of footpaths, public lighting and adequate green areas.
“Dealing with wastewater is another big issue in unfinished estates,” he said.
Councillor O’Brien requested someone from the council executive to brief councillors at a future municipal or county council meeting about the progress of the pilot scheme involving the authority and Irish Water (IW) concerning the taking in charge process for estates.
He said in response to a motion put forward last November that he was informed the authority was devising policies with IW as part of a pilot scheme.
He said councillors need to know if progress is being made with this scheme and, if not, why not. He also emphasised that councillors need to be given an input before the details of these scheme are finalised between the two parties.
Senior executive officer, Michael McNamara said the council is working with Irish Water to see how wastewater treatment plants could be taken over by the council.
Senior executive engineer, Hugh McGrath, said the council face a major job in trying to take all the remaining unfinished estates in charge but had made progress, including taking in charge the Westbury Housing Estate, which is one of the largest in the country.
“I would not like the situation to be misrepresented. There are 27 estates in the Killaloe Municipal District. I suspect that eight or 10 of these estates will never be taken in charge, as they are holiday homes or similar developments.
“There are bleak pictures but there isn’t 27 with a bleak picture. A lot of the estates are not far away from being taken in charge,” he said.
He expressed concern that the time being taken up dealing with one individual on a personal crusade in relation to minor issues meant he had much less time dealing with major issues, such as unfinished estates.
Asked by Councillor Hayes to outline the nature of this issue that was taking so much of his time, Mr McGrath replied he would talk to him about this matter when the meeting was over.
Councillor Michael Begley said that resolving minor issues in estates is leading to delays in the taking in charge process, which could be progressed quicker.
By Dan Danaher