A Newbridge councillor has demanded Kildare County Council contact the Minister about a number of Kildare estates, where residents have been left in limbo dealing with sewage spills, street lighting cuts and flooding due to builders going bust.
The call comes after it was revealed at the Kildare Area Committee on May 14 that two people were hospitalised with Ecoli poisoning after cleaning up a sewage spill at a Newbridge estate.
The developer has gone out of business, the council can’t take the estate in charge, and the residents are left with horrendous flooding and sewage spills every time heavy rainfall hits. This is the story of Walshestown Park, but it is not alone. Estates all over Co. Kildare have similar tales to tell. However, the real life account of life in this development, as told by residents Monica Bellmann and Niamh Donnelly last week, was described as the worst case to come before the area committee.
Councillors were told how tampons, condoms, wipes, and soiled tissue paper littered the garden of Niamh Donnelly and her family once the flooding receded.
“You can’t let the kids out. We had to throw out everything in the garden, all their toys from the side of the house, clean the garden out and disinfect the driveway,” explained Niamh.
Her husband was later hospitalised. “The first question he was asked in A&E in Naas was was he in contact with sewage, and he said he had, and they said he had Ecoli.”
Another resident, who contracted Ecoli, has Cystic Fibrosis.
Niamh explains how the storm drains are constantly full of water and residents are worried about cross contamination. She stressed the plans included two pump houses, while one was only built.
Cllr. Spike Nolan declared; “As a public representative it is important we highlight these issues. When you have a person with Cystic Fibrosis forced to clean up a sewage spill and getting ill, it’s shameful on society as a whole. We need to contact the Minister on this.”
He said the council had intervened where it could, but it was not it’s fault these problems had arisen. Cllr. Nolan pointed out other estates such as Walshestown Abbey, The Meadows, and Ballymany Manor were also waiting to be taken in charge.
Nine houses in particular at Walshestown Park have been the worst affected. Others have a stench arising from plug holes and drains.
Monica Bellman asked officials when the estate could be taken in charge. She questioned if the bond of €950,000 was in place.
She explained that when they ring the council’s emergency number, they are asked if the estate have been taken in charge. When the answer is “no”, they say there is nothing they can do.
“We paid an awful lot of money for those houses, nobody made us buy them, but we need somebody to help us. We are in limbo,” pleaded Niamh.
Cllr. Fiona O’Loughlin said residents deserved answers as to why their estate had not been taken in charge since the residents requested it back in December 2012.
“I am 14 years on Kildare County Council and this is one of the most serious problems that has come before any area meeting,” added Cllr. Frances Browne.
Cllr. Paddy Kennedy said this was a very serious health and safety issue.
Cllr. Suzanne Doyle said residents should have been informed whether the bond was in place. She also suggested it might be useful to hire an dependent engineer to carry out a report.
KCC’s Anne Rowan said she would get a detailed response for the residents.
She explained the council could not take any estates in charge until the legislation surrounding Irish Water was put in place. However, she said staff were working on a number of estates to ensure that when the laws were set down, the council would be able to act quickly.