Athlone Town Mayor, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, has implored the adoption of a united approach to quell persistent anti-social behaviour following a further fire incident which occurred at a derelict premises in St Mary’s Place in recent times.
The Town Mayor, supported by his elected representative colleagues at the Athlone Moate Municipal District meeting, was forceful in his views pertaining to the incident, imploring swift action to be taken in the hope of preventing similar occurrences in the future.
“Once again I have to address the issue of another fire incident in this particular premises in St Mary’s Place and as a local authority I believe that it is time to take appropriate action in this regard.
“This derelict premises must be secured to prevent future instances of anti-social behaviour occurring. It is the regular location for alleged drug taking and we must take measures to halt access to the house. This continuous nuisance factor must be removed from the residents of St Mary’s Place.
“I do realise that there are relevant costs involved but as a Council we need to support the future prevention of anti social behaviour at this particular location and we must act accordingly,” Cllr O’Rourke stated.
The Town Mayor’s thoughts were echoed by Fine Gael Councillor John Dolan who noted that families living in close proximity to the derelict house were enduring a “nightmare”.
“I know from speaking with members of the local Gardai that they feel unsafe entering this premises for fear of floors collapsing internally. We cannot wait for the start of the Loughaniskin urban regeneration project to broach this issue, the situation must be dealt with accordingly and immediately,” Cllr Dolan said.
Noting that the houses in the vicinity were included in the Loughaniskin boundary site, Fianna Fáil Councillor, Frankie Keena, queried if these premises could be acquired prior to the start of the proposed urban regeneration project development and demolished.
In response, Barry Kehoe, Westmeath County Council Director of Services, noted that the local authority’s powers were limited pertaining to the purchase of private property.
“The Gardai have the relevant powers to act immediately with regard to this specific incident noted by the Town Mayor, but we will do what we can as a Council to support law enforcement and the local community therein,” Mr Kehoe asserted.