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Portlaoise housing estate left in ‘complete darkness’ by overgrown trees

Trees have overgrown the ESB street lights along the railway line at St Brigid's Place, Portlaoise

One side of St. Brigid’s estate in Portlaoise is completely in the dark at night as the street lights are overgrown by trees.

The Council have promised to raise the matter with the ESB as the street lighting in this location are mounted on ESB Networks poles and therefore the cutting of overgrown trees adjacent to such poles is their responsibility.

The unusual situation was raised this week by Cllr Dwane-Stanley as she sought the Council to carry out a number of works in one of the Town’s oldest estates.

“One side of St. Brigid’s is in complete darkness all along by the railway line as the street lights are buried in the trees.

“How long do we have to wait for the ESB to trim them back? This is urgent as there are a lot of elderly people living there and from 10pm it’s black dark once the lights go off in the Leisure Centre,” outlined Cllr Dwane.

In response to a query from Cllr Pauline Madigan as to why the street lights were not independent of the electricity network the Area Engineer Wes Wilkinson explained that nowadays the street light poles are separate from the ESB Networks but in the past they were not and this gave rise to the situation in St Brigid’s where the lights are erected on ESB Networks poles.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald agreed it was a big concern for elderly residents. The public lighting section of the Council have notified the ESB about the issue.

Cllr Dwane also wanted the back lanes in the St Brigid’s estate repaired.

She was told by Mr Wilkinson that two separate applications have been made under the Community Involvement Scheme in relation to resurfacing the rear access lanes at St Brigid’s Place.

Funding for one application has been granted to date and it is intended for the works to be carried out in the summer.

St Brigid’s Place, Portlaoise

Broomville Court

Cllr Pauline Madigan also sought an update on when the Council would take over Broomville Court estate.

The reply from Pat Delaney in the planning department is that they are continuing to conduct a survey in the area and will liaise with councillors and the residents to keep them updated.

Cllr Madigan felt it was a pity that it’s being put on the long finger as this was an estate that the late Cllr Jerry Lodge was on the cusp of having it taken-in-charge and now there were further delays.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said that until it’s taken in charge it continues to be a problem for the residents and they have been waiting a very long time, so it was a priority to get it over the line.

The area had a very good residents committee according to Cllr Willie Aird and they deserved the Council’s support.

Riverview Estate

The issue of ongoing maintenance and the upkeep of Riverview Estate was also raised by Cllr Mary Sweeney.

She was told that the Tenant Liaison Officer has carried out an inspection of the estate and found it to be in good general order. Through Laois Partnership a Tús worker has been assigned to carry out general maintenance.

However, it noted that the gutters on the property required cleaning and this will be going out to contract shortly. That reply from Nicola Lawler in the Housing Section.


Riverview, Portlaoise

All councillors agreed that the residents in Riverview were great neighbours and kept the area meticulously well but they were missing the support for some jobs from a much regarded and most helpful Council employee who had recently retired.

“The man that’s gone is really missed by everyone,” said Cllr John Joe Fennelly.

Cllr Dwane-Stanley described him as a lifesaver and it was the small things that supported elderly residents and permitted them independent living in their own homes.

Cllr Willie Aird noted that they had provided for this positon in their annual budget and it was vital that this person would be replaced as he did such valuable work. He said that Riverview was a beautiful estate with great residents. “We really need another Riverview, it’s the best estate in Portlaoise.”

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John Whelan has been a journalist, commentator, columnist, political analyst, campaigner, politician and publisher ever since he was 17. Having been Editor of the Leinster Express, Offaly Express and the Leinster Leader he has also contributed extensively on a number of issues to all of the country's flagship titles and programmes including the Irish Press, The Irish Independent, the Star, the Sunday Independent, the Sunday Business Post, The Sunday Times and Prime Time. He is founder of Communicate Ireland a PR, public affairs, event management and media services company. He is the author of the popular camping blog, Vanhalla - Camper Heaven.