Vandalism, fires and squatters are making residents life ‘a living hell’

One of the vacant house  now vandalised and set on fire

One of the vacant house now vandalised and set on fire

People at Slieve Row Crescent and Doolargy Avenue, Muirhevnamor, are being tortured by people squatting in boarded up houses on the estate, according to Sinn Fein Cllr Kevin Meenan.

Some of the houses are burned out while others are boarded up and the rest used by squatters and drug addicts.

“This is an area we are losing day-by-day,” Cllr Meenan said.

“Nobody should have to live beside this.”

There are five derelict houses in Slieve Row Crescent and a further five derelict houses in Doolargy Avenue. All of the properties in Slieve Row Cresant are privately owned while the council have acquired one of the derelict Doolargy properties. The rest of the properties are either privately owned or owned by the bank.

Cllr Meenan described the areas as “no mans land” and said that nobody will live in the houses because of the condition they are in and the state of the houses beside them.

“It looks like a mini tornado has swept through the estates,” he said, “nobody wants to live in these houses. How can you sell that? It’s like a ghost town.

“The bank has taken over some of the properties but something needs to be done collectively.

“The longer the houses lie idle the more they are vandalised. All the boilers in these houses have been taken out.”

Houses in both estates are also consistantly set on fire and Cllr Meenan says the fire service are frequently called to the estates.

“This is a waste of time and resources and is taking away from more serious matters that the fire service has to deal with,” he said.

“Two properties in both estates are constantly set on fire as they are not boarded up. Residents are constantly worried at night that their house is going to be set on fire and there is a terrible smell afterwards.

“It is not fair to expect residents who are paying rent to have to live beside this.”

One of houses in Slieve Roe has been knocked down, but the rusted railings and crumbling walls surrounding the property are still an eye sore and the site is now used as a dumping ground. Squatting is another problem residents have to have to deal with and there are currently squatters in houses in both estates.

Cllr Meenan, who is in constant contact with residents from both Slieve Row and Doolargy, says that action needs to be taken urgently.

“We need to sit down and talk to the banks, it’s not rocket science,” he said. “We have to figure out who is responsible for these properties, and who should be securing them.”

Cllr Meenan also wants preventative measures taken so this will not happen elsewhere.

“We need to stop this from happening again, steps need to be put in place before more of these properties start popping up.”

Mr David Storey, senior executive officer with Dundalk Town Council, told the monthly meeting of Dundalk Town Council that if the council was to acquire all the houses it would have to go into a partnership with a voluntary housing organisation. He also said that funding was a problem.

“We are not getting funding off the department to stop this and that is the problem. The department just isn’t making money available,” Mr Storey said.

Cllr Meenan also suggested that the county manager, Philomena Poole should take a look at the estates for herself as “it has to be seen to be believed”. The county manager said she will visit the estate as soon as possible.


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