Empty properties could help alleviate Tuam’s housing crisis

St Enda's Avenue: one of the areas surveyed.

Despite there being a housing crisis, one of the main issues raised by residents in Tuam related to the number of vacant and derelict houses in the town along with the need for them to be revamped and occupied.

This was one of the main findings in the survey conducted by Galway Rural Development. Their findings will be made available to Galway County Council and local politicians in the hope that some of the issues can be addressed.

Residents in Tuam felt that the number of vacant or derelict houses had resulted in an increased level of illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour. The survey was conducted with residents of Tubberjarlath, Athenry Road, Dublin Road Estate, St Enda’s Avenue, Tirboy, St Patrick’s Terrace and Liam Mellows Street.

“Vacant houses, derelict houses and the condition of footpaths are issues that arose repeatedly in our survey investigation of Tubberjarlath and the Athenry Road areas.

“Other issues identified by the participants are the speeding vehicles, maintenance of trees and the dumping of rubbish as well as a failure to keep the area clean and litter free,” the report says.

Some residents that were surveyed wanted the removal of parks as the felt that they were locations for anti-social behavior. Others felt that the parks needed more funding and maintenance.

“In the overall analysis of the Tuam area, vacant houses, derelict houses, speeding, footpaths, parks and tree maintenance are the key dislike aspects of the region.

“Other concerns are the parking issues, lack of lighting in parks and streets, trespassing, safety concerns, waste disposal and the presence of anti-social behavior,” the report states.

Galway East TD Sean Canney, who launched the report, said that it was a very beneficial survey and something that should be seriously looked at by Galway County Council.

“We are talking about estates where there are a lot of low income families and they just want their areas improved. They are, according to the report, happy where they live but just need a few issues addressed,” he added.

More than 20% of residents cited footpath maintenance as a major concern and this was followed by a need for additional speed ramps, the maintenance of parks and playgrounds in their areas and the requirement of more green areas.