Mystery over Athy ghost estate funding

Questions have been raised as to whether or not Athy Town Council has applied for monies from a E5 million safety fund for ghost estates.

Questions have been raised as to whether or not Athy Town Council has applied for monies from a E5 million safety fund for ghost estates.

This is despite 14 housing estates in the south Kildare town listed as ghost estates.

The funding available is E12,000 for each housing estate listed or E160,000 in total. The council is currently investigating whether or not a claim has been made on behalf of Athy Town Council.

Back in February, the Housing Minister announced a E5 million safety fund for ghost estates whereby local authorities can apply for the funding. Among the problems identified in ghost estates are unfinished roads, vacant houses, sewerage works, uncovered manholes, open pits and potentially unstable buildings that could pose a public safety hazard.

At an Athy Town Council meeting last week, Cllr James Mahon asked for confirmation if the Council had applied for funding for all 14 estates in the town. “Did Athy Town Council apply? If not why not?” he asked. “It amounts to E160,000.”

The Department of Environment lists 14 Athy estates as ghost estates - these are Ardrew Meadows, Prusselstown Green, Gallowshill, Holland Park, The Grove, Convent View Crescent, two in Conoyboro, Dun Brinn, Glebelands, Cluain Bearu, two in The Harbour and Shanrath. Currently two estates are in NAMA.

“If we didn’t apply we have missed the boat,” said Cllr Mahon, who is convinced that only Coneyboro has an application in.

Cllr Aoife Breslin said she would be “disappointed” to hear if Athy Town Council had not applied for the funding.

Cllr Mark Wall said unfinished estates is one of the biggest issues facing the council. “Why has the Building Control Section of Kildare County Council not made the application?” he asked. “E12,000 would help on small issues in these estates.

“Is it the case that Kildare County Council applied for category four [worst category] only?”

A clarification is currently being sought to confirm if the council applied for all four categories funding.

In total there are 25 ghost estates in Kildare.