FRESH calls have been made on the council to accelerate its programme of taking estates in charge.
At this week’s metropolitan area meeting, Labour’s city east councillor Elena Secas called for Curragh Birin and Caislean Na HAbhann in Castletroy, and Rathlinn in Castleconnell to be taken under the council’s control.
This would mean it is the local authority who would be responsible for services in the estate, including street lighting, the condition of roads and grass lawns.
Her call, made in a notice of motion, was met with appeals from councillors to take all city estates in charge.
Many residents in private estates face huge problems when getting works done, with Cllr Joe Leddin revealing that 90% of the Mungret Woods estate is in darkness.
Cllr Secas, who lives in Curragh Birin, said residents have been appealing for their estate to be taken in charge for over five years.
“Residents submitted a request to have their estate taken in charge back in 2009. Since then, nothing has been done. They are not getting any services. It has taken years for the public lighting to be fixed, and this only happened a couple of weeks ago after lots of representation to the council. People are paying lots of taxes, and they expect something in return, but they are not getting anything. I think people have been patient enough,” she said.
The Labour councillor said it is the same story with Caislean Na HAbhann, which has only recently seen its lights fixed.
Fianna Fail councillor Kieran O’Hanlon said the council must adopt a policy of taking all estates in charge.
He said motions on individual estates like these are useless.
“If we put down motions for single estates, we might as well send them to the parish priest because nothing is going to happen,” he claimed.
Sinn Fein councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh said by paying the property tax, and then having to pay management fees to companies to get services in estates, they are being “double taxed”.
“Residents are now paying for these services which they are not receiving, through the Property Tax, and have to pay for them out of their own pocket.
“Even simple tasks such as grass cutting which has been a major issue over the summer months, is being left to the local residents to sort out. This is what the government told homeowners, the property tax was going to fund, but we can see now with only a portion of the Property Tax fund going into local services, that this was a lie,” he said.
Fine Gael councillor Michael Hourigan called for a list of the estates on which votes have taken place among the residents to decide whether to come under council control.
And Fianna Fail’s Cllr James Collins believes the current taking in charge policy is “outdated” and “belongs to an era prior to the Property Tax”.
It is council to policy to take in charge all private estates over the next five years.
Senior planner Gerry Sheeran said the council has recently taken in charge an “unprecedented” 27 estates.
“There is a big cost to the local authority. But notwithstanding this, we are committed to this,” he said.