Offaly County Council silence on vandalised Portarlington estate

Offaly County Council were unable to comment on the situation regarding the unfinished Riverside Estate in Portarlington.

Offaly County Council were unable to comment on the situation regarding the unfinished Riverside Estate in Portarlington.

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has called on Offaly County Council (OCC) to fulfil their obligations with regard to Riverside Estate in Portarlington which is currently in the hands of a receiver.

“The estate has a multitude of problems including vandalised empty apartment blocks, drainage, structural defects, water problems, dampness, and subsidence.”

The estate received national attention in 2010, when the Government published their first report on unfinished housing estates.

But little has changed for the estates residents in the last two years. At the time, the dozens of unoccupied apartments and houses were suffering at the hands of vandals. Residents who were interviewed on TV reported moisture in the walls of their houses, cracks in the walls and leaks destroying their floors.

Deputy Stanley said the Offaly authority had initially tried to disown its responsibilities to residents.

“When I met with Offaly County Council, along with members of the estate residents group last November, officials questioned whether it was the responsibility of Offaly Council to enforce the building regulations,” said the Sinn Fein TD.

He has raised the issue in the Dáil with Environment Minister, Phil Hogan, who stated that the responsibility for enforcement of the building regulations was the responsibility of the local authority.

“With regard to the completion of the infrastructure in the estate, in accordance with the recommendations of the Department of the Environment’s Advisory Group, Offaly County Council is required to draw up a Site Resolution Plan for the completion of Riverside Estate.

“I asked the council to inform me of what progress has been made by them in this regard but as yet received no reply.

“I also asked the council to inform me what further steps have been taken by the council with regard to the Enforcement Notice issued in January 2011 requiring compliance by October 2011 and again received no response.

“The remaining residents in these apartments are in a terrible predicament as these unresolved problems are causing great stress, have greatly reduced the property values and they are unable to get insurance,” he said

Deputy Stanley called on Offaly County Council “to provide me with an update on these issues and to fulfil their obligations with regards to Riverside Estate, as it has been ignored for far too long.”

Officials in the Housing and Planning Sections of Offaly County Council were unable to comment on their progress in the estate.