Limerick councillors call for human approach to dereliction

The former CIE Social Club at Carey's Road.

LIMERICK councillors were given an insight into the human aspect of dereliction following the tragic discovery of a man’s body at a derelict house in County Cork.

Fine Gael councillor Adam Teskey told the January meeting of Limerick City and County Council that the body may have been in a derelict house in Mallow for more than two decades. The cottage had been derelict and boarded up for a number of years.

Cllr Teskey expressed his sadness on hearing this story and pointed out that, in a news clip, a dereliction notice was evident on the door of the property. He called for vigilance and for people to report anything out of the ordinary around vacant properties.

“This could be happening at the moment,” he told council members.

Cllr Sarah Kiely called for everyone to be treated equally in matters of dereliction. She said that the CIE Club on Carey’s Road has been derelict for years and urged the local authority to “level the playing field”.

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“Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Pursue everyone equally,” she said.

Cllr Martin Ryan (FF) called for a more personable approach and for face-to-face contact to be made with property owners before starting down the statutory process with vacant buildings. This, he felt, would be a “form of fair play”.

Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary pointed out to the council executive that without the knowledge of local councillors they were “disadvantaged at local level”.

He also suggested that those looking to refurbish old and vacant sites should have to divulge how they plan to refurbish the property and finance the transaction.

“Two properties in Rathkeale sold for 100 per cent more than what they were worth,” Cllr Keary claimed, adding that they were sold to “outsiders” from Killarney.

Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan advised Cllr Keary to be careful with the information he was giving in a public forum.

Council chief executive Pat Daly pointed out that the purpose of the Derelict Sites Levy is to alleviate dereliction. He also told council members that each case is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

“We take a carrot and stick approach,” he explained.

Director of Service Gordon Daly said that the Council wanted to see more derelict sites back in use and that, overall, the system was working quite well.