There was a broad welcome from the elected members of the Ballina Municipal District this week with the news that 18 estates in the district were about to be taken in charge by the council, however there was a warning from some councillors that there are still plenty of estates in the district that will need major investment before they can be taken over.
Fine Gael councillor Niel Cruise told the May meeting of the Ballina Municipal District: "I've said it before, in Foxford we're one of the worst in the county for the take over of estates in the town for varying reasons. We're coming to the end of the low lying fruit when it comes to estate take over, the ones that are left are costly and very, very awkward to take over and I know of a few examples in Foxford there are extensive works to be done, that have been left undone by contractors. It's not good enough for the residents of those estates and I think something needs to be done. It's a national problem.
"It's a huge problem for the people who are suffering in those estates, some haven't had lights in the estate for portions of the winter. There are various other problems and the levels of the finish on some of them is terrible.
"We have to note that a lot of these builders and developers have got away with murder, it's disgraceful, there are families with young children in different estates, and from a health and safety point of view alone it's disgraceful what some of these people have got away with," Cllr Cruise continued. "I'd commend the council for the work they have done to get the ones to be taken over this far.
"There has been some quiet investigations done into the cost that it would take to bring these estates up to standard, and it would knock your socks off in certain estates to bring them up to the requirement to take in charge. The low lying fruit is coming to an end and it's going to take a national solution for this to be sorted.
His point was backed up by Fianna Fáil Cllr Michael Smyth who added: "The big elephant in the room revolves around the cost of all this. In most other jurisdictions there is supervision by the local authorities and until such time there is a Clerk of Works or someone form the local authority signing off on what works were done, we'll have the same problem the next time there is a housing boom in the country. Self certification does not work, companies that are driven by profit take short cuts if they are unsupervised, the work will not be done to the required standard."