Over 260 inspections of derelict properties made across County Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Mayor Stephen Keary urged council bosses to take urgent action on a vacant property in the village of Shanagolden

Mayor Stephen Keary urged council bosses to take urgent action on a vacant property in the village of Shanagolden

MORE than 260 inspections of derelict properties have taken place since the start of the year, Limerick Council has revealed.

Members of Limerick City and County Council’s housing committee were this week given an overview of the new urban and village renewal department and its policy on vacant premises.

Mayor Stephen Keary urged council bosses to take urgent action on a vacant property in the village of Shanagolden, which lies next door to a petrol filling station.

“It’s been left vacated for several years. The windows have been broken, and it’s been left overgrown and in an unkempt state. The owners and occupiers of the adjacent filling station are extremely concerned there will be a fire there. There are serious concerns it would be set alight by vandals. There’s a huge onus of responsibility on that property,” Mayor Keary said.

Labour councillor Joe Leddin said: “Behind every derelict site is a story of a developer who has gone away, or an owner who doesn’t care any more. I have walked through Byrne Avenue and noticed an increase in boarded up houses. When are we doing to do an audit on these properties? I am happy to walk the area with housing staff.”

Architect Rosie Webb confirmed five staff are dedicated to derelict sites in each municipal district in Limerick, and revealed 266 inspections have taken place so far this year.

Fianna Fail councillor Mike Donegan says it is time for the council to use the “stick” rather than “the carrot”.​

“We have used the carrot for too long now,” he said.

Separately, community projects securing funding under the town and village renewal scheme must be ready to progress to ensure they can benefit from money, Mayor Keary added.

Ms Webb also outlined details of the town and village renewal schemes, which are administered by her own urban and village renewal department.

Around €1.1m has been allocated to 13 towns across Limerick since the scheme began, with projects including works on the public realm at Patrickswell, completion of the town wall path at Kilmallock, and the restoration of Fullers Folly at Newcastle West.

Mayor Keary said to ensure schemes like these can benefit, they need to be effectively “shovel ready”, and warned these need to have planning permission on them before funding applications are made.

The council is waiting for confirmation from council in relation to the 2018/2019 applications.