Westmeath Independent

Published: Wednesday, 7th March, 2012 5:20pm

Demolition order served on owners of fire-damaged premises owners

Profile by Karen Downey

Boxer seeks immediate action in wake of residents' fears

Concerns were raised this week about a vacant building in the Parnell Square/Deerpark area of town as Cllr Kevin 'Boxer' Moran called for the building to be demolished saying it had an asbestos roof and had been set on fire three times.

"It's more dangerous than we think with the fumes in Parnell Square and further afield," said Cllr Moran, who said one resident in the area was afraid to let their children out to play and another man who owned a house had tenants moving out because they were afraid.

"I want to see action before the weekend. I want to see a fence put up. I think to give peace of mind to those people it could be fenced off."

A number of residents from the area were present at Monday evening's council meeting to hear what the council had to say on the matter when it was raised by Cllr Moran. The executive informed the council that a notice had been issued to the owners under the Sanitary Services Act 1962 directing that the building be demolished.

Cllr Moran asked for a timeframe and asked if nothing was done with the building when the council could act.

He was supported by Cllrs Gabrielle McFadden, Paul Hogan, Aengus O'Rourke and Mark Cooney.

Cllr Hogan asked why the notice had been issued under the Sanitary Services Act rather than the Derelict Sites Act and Cllr Cooney asked if there was any procedure where a building was deemed so dangerous that the council could act ahead of the owner.

Director of Services Barry Kehoe said a notice had been served some time ago and had now been served on other people who were joint owners.

He said the council was now confident that the notice had been served on all people it needed to be served on and the council could now act on it.

He said there were actions that could be taken as part of the Act and the council would normally fence it off rather than demolish it.

He said now that the council could act, it would look at the building within a couple of days.

Cllr O'Rourke asked what it would cost to demolish the building and asked how the council would get the money back.

Mr Kehoe said the cost to demolish it wouldn't be enormous and the council could do it this year and could then recover the money through the courts.

He added that he couldn't give Cllr Moran a guarantee that the building would be fenced off in the next couple of days but said it would be looked at.

Town Engineer Alan Kelly if a gate there was secured it would help matters and he said this could be done by the weekend.

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