Ambulance needed torch to navigate Kildangan ghost estate

A paramedic had to hang out the window of his ambulance with a torch while dodging up to 40 potholes to reach an emergency in one of Kildare’s worst ghost estates.

A paramedic had to hang out the window of his ambulance with a torch while dodging up to 40 potholes to reach an emergency in one of Kildare’s worst ghost estates.

“The entrance is like a field. There are no street lights. They had to lean out the side of the ambulance with a torch because they couldn’t see the house numbers. They couldn’t find us,” explained resident Anthony O’Connell, who had passed out at his home at the Paddocks, Kildangan. His wife had to run outside to direct the ambulance.

“I was sitting upstairs waiting for them. When I was in the ambulance they had to crawl out the entrance. The potholes were that bad, we were bouncing up and down like a washing machine.”

The Paddocks has been in darkness for five years. The sewage system was connected three years after it was built and the estate was left unfinished after the builder went bust. The receiver is in charge, and the council say they have no authority to carry out work because it is not in their ownership. In the meantime, the residents remain in limbo.

“It’s a lethal entrance. One of the woman in the front broke her ankle in a pothole last year. We are pissed off. We paid E575,000 for our house. Now they brought in the household charge, they are bringing in a property tax. I am not paying it.”

The dad of two explained there are up to 40 children in the estate who cannot play safely outside.

Anthony fell ill on Sunday October 14 at about 9.40pm. He was suffering for a virus. Luckily he recovered but he pointed out; “I am okay. If it was a more serious problem, it could have been a different situation. We are sick of it. We are absolutely sick of it. Every house had VAT on it. The council got development levies and they are doing nothing. There are 14 houses that have not been sold that are sitting there rotting away. The entrance is an accident waiting to happen.”

“Its getting darker earlier and earlier. You can’t go out after five o’clock without a torch.”

The review of unfinished housing estates in Kildare, published in May, shows E280,000 of a bond was paid by the developer and the estimated cost of the work to finish the estate came to E59,433. However, that did not cover public lighting and the entrance. There are 88 unfinished estates in the county.

Cllr. Tony O’Donnell has been raising this issue since he was elected. He told last week’s Kildare Area Committee meeting “I would say this is the single worst ghost estate that we have.” He asked if there was any leverage the council could apply to the developer to get these problems fixed. Cllr. Suzanne Doyle stressed if these ghost estates across the county were not sorted, the council had a “ticking time bomb” on its hands. She asked that more resources be directed from other departments into building control.

“We are living in la la land if we think we are going to find solutions from builders or receivers who have no money.”

The council said it was waiting for a submission from the receiver with regard to the completion of the works in the estate.

- Niamh O’Donoghue