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Up to 60 ghost estates dotted around County Galway

There are up to sixty unfinished housing estates in County Galway, where residents have pleaded with the local authority to take them in charge.

Also known as ‘ghost estates’, they include housing estates where homes have been partially built, and where some element of the estate is occupied by residents, as well as ones where there are only building shells.

They also include estates completed by developers but where there are ‘minor’ works outstanding.

Derek Pender, the Council’s Director for Tuam Municipal District, confirmed at the latest meeting that there were between 50 and 60 unfinished estates in Galway.

Unfortunately, in many instances, there was no bond in place that could be used to cover the cost of the outstanding works – such as to footpaths, lighting and on roads.

Mr Pender said that there was a team within County Hall working on this issue. That team had a list of the unfinished estates and were working through them to see if they can be ‘taken in charge’ by the County Council.

The focus of that team is placed in completing and consolidating the estates.

Mr Pender said there was a process to be followed by residents who want their unfinished estate taken in charge by the local authority.

The first step was getting on the list – he urged residents associations of unfinished estates who were not on the list to make themselves known to the Council because they cannot be helped unless and until they get on that list.

The matter was raised at the Tuam MD, where a request from Galway East TD Sean Canney (Ind) about an unfinished estate in Tuam was discussed.

Deputy Canney wrote to all Tuam area County Councillors, urging them to allocate some of their Notice of Motion money to take in charge a private road leading to houses in Cloonmore Road, Tuam. They were built in the 1980s, he said, and are serviced by a private road.

In order for it to be taken in charge, Deputy Canney has been advised by the Council that it would take €15,000 to bring the road up to the required standard.

“I have been requested by the residents to contact the Councillors in the Tuam area seeking your support through the allocation of Notice of Motion money to have the works carried out.

“This is very important to the seven homeowners and their families who would benefit from the works,” Deputy Canney said, in the letter sent to Councillors.

The matter was discussed at the Tuam MD meeting, where the consensus was that they were sympathetic to the plight of the residents, but they did not have sufficient ‘Notice of Motion money’ available.

It was pointed out that for the remainder of this Council term, before the election in June, there was about €67,000 of NOM money available to Tuam Councillors – and much of it had already been pledged to other projects.

Councillor Mary Hoade (FF) said she understood the frustration of residents living in unfinished estates – they were paying Local Property Tax and had invested massive amounts in buying their homes but felt let down.

Some of the estates were built over 20 years ago, she said, and still hadn’t been taken in charge.

Cllr Andrew Reddington (FG) said “we don’t have the money” in Notice of Motion funding but suggested other sources of funding, such as LIS (Local Improvement Scheme) could be used to help Cloonmore Road, and other unfinished estates.

Chair of the MD, Councillor Donagh Killilea (FF) said huge progress had been made on unfinished estates in the town since he came onto the Council 10 years ago.

Back then, he said, there 13 unfinished estates but now there were three, after the others were taken in charge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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