A mother of four has said she will barricade herself in her home of 24 years to stop the bulldozers demolishing it.
Una Kelly of St. Patrick’s Park is angry with Kildare County Council’s plans to knock down 44 homes to make way for the E6.9m redevelopment of 22 new homes at the Rathangan estate.
“I will chain myself to the door if they try to move me to somewhere else. I am here 24 years and I have raised my four children here and I don’t want to move. My house is not just a house, it’s a home,” declared Una.
Since the project was first mooted, some of the residents said they were happy to move from the estate permanently. Others are agreeable to move temporarily and then return to the new houses, although some fear they won’t get back in once the work is completed. There are also some residents who do not want to move at all.
Resident Eamon Broughan believes the majority of the householders want to stay but were afraid of voicing their concerns to the council during the information day and the one to one meetings. He wants to know if the council are going to force people out of their homes.
He said that people who own their homes are being asked to sell up to the county council, while sitting tenants will be asked to move either permanently or temporarily. He also pointed out that some homeowners who were renting out their properties to private tenants have sold up to the council and their tenants had to leave. Mr. Broughan is calling for a public meeting to deal with the matter. He said he has got legal advice which states the homeowner has the same rights as a tenant.
His wife Sheila pointed out they have been living in St. Patrick’s Park for 25 years.
“People are in limbo. They don’t know whether to do up their house or give it a paint because there is no point if it is going to be knocked down.
“When we ask for information we are told nothing is written in stone and the plans have not been drawn up yet, but something will have to be written in stone soon,” she said.
Una, Eamon, Sheila, and fellow residents Ollie Hurley, her son Alan and Tom and Dolores Lucitt pointed out that not one local councillor had called personally to their houses to discuss the project. They said they felt let down by the local politicians.
“They should be representing us but they are representing Kildare County Council,” said Eamon. He criticised Cllr. Fiona O’Loughlin and Cllr. Spike Nolan for putting across the view that the majority of the residents were in favour of the redevelopment.
The residents stressed there was no anti-social behaviour in the estate now. They say the council has informed them the new houses will have no ranges or solid fuel fires and no back entrances. The residents say they don’t want wood pellet burners, and are worried about the expense of running it.
Ollie Hurley is living in the estate 28 years and is just up the street from her son Alan. “I can walk up to see Alan and I feel safe,” said the lady who is in her seventies. Alan explained he is delighted to have his mother nearby so he can keep an eye on her and bring her to the doctors and other appointments.
Eamon points out that the families that have already left the estate decided to go because they were going back to their native towns, and not because they didn’t like living there.
Tom and Dolores, who have lived in the estate for 18 years, point out there are lots of people looking for houses in Rathangan and the council were blocking up perfectly good houses and knocking them down.
“We are happy here. I love living here,” said Tom.
The residents feel the council should demolish the derelict buildings, do up the existing homes where people want to stay, and build houses on the vacant sites.
“This makes much more financial sense. In these times of recession, they wouldn’t have to spend E6.9m,” stressed Eamon.
Una emphasised; “This is a good community. We all look out for one another.” Eamon urged any resident who wants to stay in St. Patrick’s Park to contact Sinn Fein’s Mark Lynch on 085 1283023.