THERE were 289 unoccupied new houses and apartments in Co Limerick in 2012, and a total of 16,881 nationally, according to a survey carried out for the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.
The Limerick figure represented one of the lowest rates of unoccupied units in the country, according to senior planning official Gerry Sheerin when he spoke to Newcastle West area councillors last week.
The highest number of unoccupied units, according to the survey, is in Co Cork where the figure stands at 2,146 but Leitrim, with 433 vacant houses, has the highest rate, at 35 empty houses for every 1000 households.
In Co Limerick, the rate is six for every 1000 and in Limerick City, the rate is lower again at two unoccupied new houses per 1000 households.
According to the survey, 1770 developments remain unfinished and the survey reveals that 1100 of these developments or parts of them are in a seriously problematic condition.
In 2012, Limerick County Council carried out work to ensure security and safety at a number of estates in the Newcastle West electoral area, Mr Sheerin told councillors. It also used Development Levy funds to finish off a number of estates.
Referring specifically to the Carraig Desmond estate in Newcastle West, Mr Sheerin said the bank was supposed to be carrying out work there. However, he went on: “We wrote to the bank on November 29 and said if you don’t carry out works we will take legal action.” The bank had 21 days in which to reply, he said.
Cllr Damien Riedy said however that there were only about 20 yards of security fencing in the estate. “There is no problem walking around the back,” he said, adding that there was evidence that people had gone into some of the houses.
“Hoarding should be put up to stop children going in,” Cllr Michael Collins said but Cllr Liam Galvin asked whether it was worth pumping money into an estate where houses may never be completed.