Limerick councillor calls for action on ‘mixed bag’ Approved Housing Bodies

Cllr Sarah Kiely

FINE Gael councillor Sarah Kiely wants to see Limerick City and County Council complete outstanding maintenance and repairs on a development for older persons in Southill.

Speaking on her motion at the recent Metropolitan District meeting, Cllr Kiely hit out that when it comes to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), Limerick is a “mixed bag”.

She said that Clann, a dedicated age-friendly housing service responsible for the Colivet Court development in Southill, were working hard before pointing out that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

Colivet Court, a sheltered housing development for over 55s, won the best housing category in 2014 at the Irish Architecture Awards.

“When it was built, it was very sought after and still is – however it has big problems,” Cllr Kiely claimed this week.

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“This development seems to have fallen between two stools and the suffering of the residents is being ignored for years now – by the local authority and by the AHB.

“When it comes to AHBs, we really have a mixed bag — some good, some bad, and some atrocious, especially when it comes to maintenance.”

The City East representative claimed that there is a long list of problems at the 35-unit development.

“It has one lift, it was supposed to have two, no timeline on this. It is a problem for elderly and vulnerable residents, one of whom is trapped on the upper floor now because of this,” Cllr Kiely insisted.

“I believe there were efforts to put in a stairlift, however, it wasn’t done and maybe there is a reason why, so let’s hear it.”

The development, consisting of 14 one-bed apartments and 21 two-bedroom apartments, was built by Clancy Construction at a cost of €5.6m.

According to Cllr Kiely, the management was to have a master key system, but claims that too hasn’t come to fruition.

This, she believes, is a vital safety feature promised to residents to ensure that if they need help in an emergency, accessing the property wouldn’t be an issue.

“There was an incident  recently where a resident was on the floor for hours. The paramedics couldn’t gain access to the development as the voice activation system doesn’t work either.

“Get the work done or allow the AHB to do it. We need a firm commitment and timescale. It is owned by Limerick City and County Council and ran by the AHB. This isn’t working, so can we come to an arrangement that does work please?”

In response, Director of Service for Regeneration, Joe Delaney, said that the council will engage with relevant stakeholders, including the AHB and the residents, in terms of assessing any outstanding necessary repairs or works.