Breakthrough in Granard fires probe

Granard Gardai have made a breakthrough in relation to the investigation of a series of fires at local housing estates.

Granard Gardai have made a breakthrough in relation to the investigation of a series of fires at local housing estates.

As many as eight fires had been reported by homeowners and residents in Colmcille Terrace over the past 12 months, the majority of which broke out inside vacant or abandoned properties. However, at last week's meeting of the Granard Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Supt Dermot Mann said detectives were now hopeful of securing prosecutions in all eight cases.

"Since November 2009, we have had eight fires in houses in Colmcille Terrace. We have arrested two people since our last (JPC) meeting and we have had admissions in respect of all eight fires," he said.

"There are some houses not boarded up and that tends to facilitate that sort of behaviour. I think we should be looking at what we can do to help residents with their concerns," he added.

Meanwhile, members of the committee expressed their ongoing frustration at the overall appearance of the estate.

Cllr PJ Reilly said it was his understanding council bosses were looking to revamp two other local authority estates before turning their attentions to Colmcille Terrace.

Town Clerk, Ann Glancy supported Cllr Reilly's comments, suggesting that perhaps Granard Town Council could approach local residents to undertake a facelift of the area.

"I spoke to the estate manager to see if we could get names (of people) to help clean it up," she said.

Cllr Eddie Kelly pointed to loopholes in the broader housing system which had allowed people to obtain alternative accommodation after they were thrown out of local authority houses.

"The estate was done up 14 years ago and people there were evicted and brought back down the town. The problem has been going on for the past 32 years and there are only two families causing the whole havoc up there," he said.

Cllr Fintan Flood added much of the nuisance behaviour was the result of a minority, stressing that there were a number of law abiding citizens being "hounded out of it".