Taxpayer on the hook for €1 million in development costs

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Gerald Mitchell, Fine Gael. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

TAXPAYERS could be facing a bill of more than €1 million to complete Limerick housing estates that were left unfinished by developers.

Last year alone, more than €70,000 was spent taking charge of estates in Limerick, a freedom of information (FOI) request from the Limerick Post has revealed.

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However, council members were told at a recent meeting of the local authority that some estates are costing €100,000 or more to put right and the FOI revealed that there are 104 unfinished estates in Limerick still needing work to allow the council to take them in charge.

The reply from Limerick City and County Council stated that up to October 31 of this year, the local authority paid €73, 731 to take charge of unfinished estates after the bond paid by developers had lapsed or expired.

In other cases, the bond had not yet run out but the local authority struggled with banks to release the money they were holding on behalf of developers.

A total of 12 private estates were taken charge in the last year with 104 estates awaiting assistance across the city and county.

Basic works, such as sewerage, lighting and footpaths are on the list of works which the council must carry out if a developer has left the scene.

Fine Gael Councillor Gerald Mitchell said there needs to be a “radical overhaul” in the way the local authority conducts business.

“It is presently not fit for purpose. There are a lot of unanswered questions and just vague replies. This has to be immediately scrutinised along with proper more transparent action.

“Substantial and appropriate bonds should be held in security to offset costs in case of not completing development and not fulfilling their obligations in relation to contracts and ongoing inspections must be carried out by the local authority”

“They should find the necessary resources to counteract the said position now and going forward. It is a shambles and must be tackled without any further delay,” Cllr Mitchell added.