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Plea for action over anti-social behaviour at derelict house as neighbours unable to sleep

anti-social behaviour

A plea has been made for action to be taken over a vacant property in Portlaoise which is routinely the scene of anti-social behaviour.

The house in question is located at the entrance to the Beechfield Estate on the N80 Mountmellick Road.

The site is covered by large trees and a locked gate but it has, according to Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, become a den for anti-social behaviour.

She told a meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal recently how ‘fires are constantly being lit and nothing is being done’.

Cllr Fitzgerald explained how one homeowner nearby is awake at night whenever the anti-social behaviour starts and is waiting with a hose at the backdoor in case their oil tank goes on fire.

She called on Laois County Council to take action against the owners of the property.

Cllr Fitzgerald said: “This house has been vacant for a number of years.

“People cannot sleep a wink and there have been numerous fires in the outbuildings.

“A woman told me her husband is staying up all night with a hose at their oil tank.

“Absolutely nothing is being done for them. This site has to be declared derelict and the owners be held responsible.

“Is Laois County Council paying for all the fire callouts? Some of these had four and five engines.”

In response, Senior Planner Angela McEvoy said: “An inspection was carried out by Ms Catherine Murphy, Senior Executive Technican, Planning Section.

“Whilst the property is secured to the public by a high wall, locked gate and hedgerow to the rear, the site is considered derelict and there are elements of improvements to the boundary that could be carried out.”

Going further, Director of Services Simon Walton confirmed that a letter had been sent to the owners.

He said: “Correspondence has been sent to the owners in relation to this.

“We must give the owner the opportunity to rectify the situation.

“If they don’t there are other procedures, such as entering this on the Derelict Sites register.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.