A proposal by Cllr Michael Smith that the Council take charge of the Ashbury estate in Roscrea , prompted much discussion at a meeting of the local authority last week.
The Fianna Fáil councillor has been raising the issue of the derelict and abandoned private estate on the outskirts of town for some time and he received much support for his comments.
Cllr Smith described the estate as being in a dreadful state and said that it is a shame to see so many new houses left abandoned and vandalised.
Cllr John Hogan supported Cllr Smith and said that it would cost on average J55,000 per house to make them habitable again. However, an application and proposal has already been sent to the department in relation to the estate which, he understands, is in the ownership of the Court Services Board. Cllr Hogan described it as a disgrace what is happening in Ashbury with all the houses being vandalised and looted. The doors, radiators, and even the stairs have been taken from the houses, he said. County Manager Joe MacGrath said that the Ashbury situation is a unique one in that the estate was completed and people were actually living there. However, as people left, it became vandalised due to the fact that homes were unoccupied. The council, he said, has been in contact with the department and he hoped that Cllr Smiths suggestions would strengthen their case. Cllr Pauline Coonan was criticised for suggesting that drug dealing on the part of a few residents was the reason for the abandonment of the estate. Cllr Smith challenged her to report the individuals involved to the Gardai if this was the case, while Cllr John Hogan said there has never has been any evidence of drug dealing there. Her comments should be withdrawn as they are a slur on the name of the good people of Ashbury. Cllr Coonan said she would stand by her comments.