In his last official engagement as cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Mick Dollard officially opened three recently completed social houses at Ballysallagh, Ballynacargy, in the presence of Deputy Willie Penrose, council members and officials, Oireachtas members, and the families who will occupy these houses.
The two three-bedroom and one two-bedroom bungalows were funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government’s Social Housing Investment Programme. Cllr Dollard pointed out that this project highlighted the value of social housing in meeting the needs of local communities.
Construction of the houses commenced in August 2010 following an open procurement competition, and the contract was awarded to Thomas Connolly & Sons, Roscommon.
The three houses are constructed in the most energy efficient manner with Building Energy Ratings (BER ) at B2 and B3. The walls are pumped, the attic has 400mm of insulation, the floor has 200mm of insulation, heat is supplied by solar panels on the roof, and an extremely efficient oil condensing oil burner or a solid fuel stove is located in the kitchen/sitting room. The alternative water and space heating systems ensure the use of renewable energy sources, as well as offering the tenants the option of oil or solid fuel as their budget determines.
The solid fuel stove is particularly efficient as it has its own dedicated air supply which is fed to the back of the stove via the chimney.
The contractor, Thomas Connolly & Sons of Roscommon, has completed the houses in time and on budget, to a design by Westmeath County Council and at a project cost of €240,000 excluding VAT.