No decision yet on unused flats in Limerick City

The decision whether or not to demolish an unfinished building which is attracting anti-social behavior in a Limerick town has been further delayed, after councilors failed to agree terms.

The motion asking whether council would demolish the Wolfe Tone Street flats in Kilmallock was again tabled at the June Cappamore-Kilmallock Borough meeting.

Trevor McKechnie, the council’s senior executive engineer, said the local authority could not ignore a report that the site was “in an unfit condition” and “should be demolished”.

“Since construction about 15 years ago, the building may have fallen into a state of abandonment and disrepair,” he read in the report of a structural engineer from a professional firm.

“It is so much so that the structure of the building cannot be maintained or renewed,” he added.

Cllr Eddie Ryan, NP, called the report visual only and an outsider’s opinion, stressing the situation could be a win-win for Limerick City and County Council.

“You don’t have the cost of demolition and you have the sale value of the site and the structure,” he said of the unfinished building, which is 70% complete.

He added that the apartments could have been inhabited regardless of the flood and the structure if the developer had followed the planning rules and not installed an additional apartment at the same time.

“We have to face the facts which are here now. In 2022, this site is located in a flood zone,” replied McKechnie.

Cllr Eddie Ryan told those present that the council should not be involved in the demolition of the structure, saying it should be offered for sale on the open market.

Cllr Martin Ryan, FF, raised the issue of what the people of Kilmallock want, saying it hasn’t been mentioned and is in fact the most important part of the argument.

In response, Cllr Michael Donegan, FF, said he still stands by his request submitted 15 months ago to have the unfinished complex demolished.

He explained how at the time he met community groups including town traders, Kilmallock Tourism and Kilmallock Partnership, who he said were ‘pleading for the site to be overturned’.

Cllr Donegan said: “We are here 15 months later, beating the same drum. I don’t know where the failure comes from.

Cllr PJ Carey, SF, who is in favor of keeping the flats, pointed out that since then it has come to light that there is an interested developer looking to fix the flats.

“The developer approached me and PJ to buy this space. It would be very foolish of us to vote on a whim today to demolish this building,” said Cllr Eddie Ryan.

After 55 minutes of deliberation, it was decided that the motion would be resolved at the next Municipal District meeting later this month.

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