Limerick councillors withdraw derelict sites motion

Limerick Sinn Féin councillor PJ Carey.

LIMERICK local authority members this week were asked to withdraw a motion calling on the Housing Minister to review the Derelict Sites Act.

Three representatives from the Cappamore/Kilmallock Municipal District, PJ Carey (SF), Eddie Ryan (IND) and Gerald Mitchell (FG), proposed that the Council call on Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to review the Derelict Sites Act with respect to property rights.

Cllr Carey told the council executive that he had “moral issues” with the Act and urged the local authority to make every effort to contact property owners before taking the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) route.

He suggested that taking the legal path creates conflict and said he would prefer to see more “empathy” from management in dealing with individual cases.

Cllr Gerald Mitchell called for transparency and accountability and said he had received a number of complaints from people on the matter.

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Fine Gael councillor Olivia O’Sullivan said she would not be supporting the motion and felt it was more an issue of communication that was at the heart of it.

Cllr Liam Galvin (FG) said he was surprised to see the proposal on the agenda and took the view that the Council’s handling of dereliction across the city and county was the one thing they were getting right.

“I can’t support this motion. The scheme is working. Nobody wants to see anybody treated unfairly. If a house is CPO’d, people are given every opportunity to play ball,” he added.

“This is the one good thing the local authority are doing and getting right. It is very unfair and I urge you to withdraw the motion.”

Independent councillor Eddie Ryan said that people are really hurting because of the Act.

“You are taking the roof from over people’s heads. It is not right. We need a review of it,” Cllr Ryan declared.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan was of the view that the motion could drag the Council into “a legal minefield” and asked for it to be withdrawn.

Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Collins said he was very uncomfortable with the motion and also called for it to be withdrawn.

Sinn Féin councillor PJ Carey told council members that they would withdraw the motion and take on board councillors’ comments.

Cllr Eddie Ryan added that the motion was brought before the Council out of sheer frustration.

Cllr Gerald Mitchell explained that they had been acting on behalf of constituents when they tabled the motion.