Remedial work on the three-year-old council houses in the Bun Daire estate in Kinnegad will cost Westmeath County Council in the region of €80,000.
This was revealed to the members of the Mullingar area committee meeting this week (November 14 ) after Cllrs Peter Burke and Mick Dollard made enquiries into the Priory Hall of Kinnegad.
Problems were identified as far back as 2009 with 22 of the chimneys. the plaster finish, and the parapet of the boundary wall.
The poorly-designed chimneys were the biggest problem as their limited ventilatory properties led to smoke coming back into the rooms.
“They were totally unsuitable for a climate like ours,” said Cllr Mick Dollard.
“They’re more like a chimney you’d see on your holidays in Corfu or Crete,” he added.
“There isn’t adequate smoke extraction from these chimneys, and we’ll have to put this [work] into the Estimates,” he added.
Cllr Aidan Davitt asked if there was a bond in place “or a percentage of it left over”, but Cllr Dollard interjected to tell the meeting: “We don’t know if the developers are even still in business”.
There was no mention of said builders by name in the chamber at the meeting on Monday.
It was estimated the remedial works on the render on the walls and the repairs to the parapets will cost €42,000, while the work to remove the capping on the 22 affected chimneys to solve the downdraft problems will cost an additional €27,000. With VAT included, this will bring the cost to just under €80,000, engineer Howard Costello explained to the meeting.
“We will have to find this money somewhere,” he added.
Local councillor Denis Leonard said this was “an area of huge concern”, but was able to take some solace from the meeting with the news that some traffic calming measures have been installed, and more hinted at, on one of his pet issues - the Killucan to Kinnegad road.
Cllr Leonard has been pushing this issue for some time “to facilitate the new childcare centre, the soccer club and the numerous walkers” on what he called “the main road between the third and fifth biggest population centres in the county”.
“This is a matter of some urgency as this road is the main access to the M4 from all of the northeast of Westmeath,” he pointed out.
“Some traffic calming has gone in on this road with signage and we’d hope at some time in the future to provide a footpath for some of the way,” said Mr Costello.
“Unfortunately the land that causes the hotspots is in private ownership”.