Outrage over unfinished Carrick-on-Suir housing estate
Contractor abandons E2 million scheme

Aileen Hahesy

Aileen Hahesy

Residents of a Carrick-on-Suir housing estate have become the latest victims of the construction industry crash with work on the E2m revamp of their local authority homes and estate abandoned by the building contractor, which has gone into receivership.

Galway based construction company Atlantic Developments stopped work on the Ballylynch Regeneration Scheme on Holy Thursday, April 5 and Carrick-on-Suir Town Council was formally notified on Monday that the company has gone into receivership.

It’s understood that the company has failed to pay a number of sub-contractors for the work they have done on the project.

Atlantic Developments was awarded the E2m contract to refurbish the local authority owned houses in the Mountain View area of the Ballylynch estate and upgrade its roads, footpaths and landscaping following a public procurement process. The company’s tender was approved by the Department of Environment & Local Government.

Atlantic Developments began work on the project about a year ago but it has now left the scheme unfinished with an estimated three months of work left to do.

Town Clerk Michael O’Brien said this phase of the regeneration scheme was scheduled to be completed by the end of July.

He said it was the Council’s priority to get the regeneration project completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We are examining all our options and he assured residents that the project will be completed. We need to ensure we are fully compliant with all regulations,” he said.

One local councillor, estimated that it will take between three and four months for a new contractor to be appointed.

Mr O’Brien, meanwhile, said 24 hour security had been put in place on the construction sites around Mountain View to prevent vandalism, thefts and accidents.

Mr O’Brien said the Council had only made payments to Atlantic Developments for the work the company had done and he stressed that any money owed by the Council had been paid in full.

He also pointed out that the Council had sufficient funds to finish the scheme but when asked about outstanding monies owed to sub-contractors, he said that was a matter between the sub-contractors and Atlantic Developments Ltd.

The Town Council discussed the implications of the issues with representatives of the Ballylynch Residents Association at a meeting on Monday night and the matter was discussed at a meeting of county councillors from the Fethard Electoral Area on Tuesday morning.

There was deep anger among residents in Ballylynch when The Nationalist visited the estate on Monday.

Some houses are left half painted, some are left with half completed halls and front door porches. Others are waiting for fascia and soffits to be installed and for their front gardens to be completed. There are roadways, footpaths, several new houses left unfinished.

Independent Cllr Richie O’Neill, who lives in Mountain View, said the residents were “up in arms” and very upset over what had happened.

He appealed to the Council to get a new contractor in to complete the scheme as soon as possible.

Another Mountain View resident Martina Power said residents had major health and safety concerns about the unfinished building works around them, particularly the dangers they posed to children. “There is not one house or roadway or footpath in our part of the estate that is finished,” she said.

Anne Marie Cooke, whose original home of 33 years was knocked to make way for a new roadway in Mountain View, has a large building site in front of her new bungalow. A high protective screen fence is erected just four feet from her front door. Beyond it is a three foot drop into the building site, while one low section of her boundary wall has a nine foot drop at the other side.

She said she is terrified when any of her five grandchildren come to visit in case they fall into the building site or trip on several other hazards she pointed out.

Anne Marie had a contract that stated their front garden would be completed by March 31 but now they are wondering how many months will they be left with this building site.

Labour Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald, who attended the Fethard Electoral Area meeting on Tuesday, said it looks like it will take about three to four months before a new contractor will be appointed.

He said the Council will circulate an information leaflet to residents this week after he insisted there was a lack of communication between the Council and residents.

Fianna Fail Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan, meanwhile, said she was aware of several sub-contractors, who are owed significant amounts of money by Atlantic Developments for work they have done on the project.

She called for an investigation into whether a full background check was carried out into the company before the project was awarded to them.