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Minister seeks estate report from county council

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 29th February, 2012 5:30pm

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has told Westmeath County Council to prepare a report into unfinished Glenatore estate in Coosan, Athlone, where young Liam Keogh was drowned last week.

Minister Hogan was asked about the incident when he attended an event in Kilkenny on Friday last.

"He expressed his sympathy to the family of the young boy and he has asked Westmeath County Council to furnish him with a report on the matter," said a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment.

Last Thursday's tragedy has heightened concerns about the safety of unfinished housing estates throughout the country.

Westmeath County Council issued a statement on Friday in which it conveyed its deepest sympathy to the family of the deceased.

The council confirmed that the Glenatore housing estate was unfinished and said it was classified as a category three development.

This is a development "where the developer is in place but there is no on-site activity and the developer is responsible for managing the site from a public safety perspective."

The Glenatore estate is being developed by Athway Construction.

It is one of 79 estates in Westmeath and Roscommon which are exempt from the €100 household tax because of their unfinished condition.

A planning application to retain and complete the housing development was submitted to the local authority late last year.

Athlone Town Council is "currently processing" this application.

Among the many tributes which have been paid to the late Liam Keogh was one from Deputy Nicky McFadden.

The local TD said: "My heart goes out to the young boy's parents and the rest of his family.

It is a terrible tragedy and all of Athlone is in mourning. The community will support the family in every way possible during this sad time."

A minute's silence was held in memory of the young boy ahead of the Ireland-Italy under-20 rugby international at Dubarry Park last Friday. In addition, a number of local soccer clubs also postponed or changed the venue of their fixtures last weekend as a mark of respect to the bereaved family.