No funds for lighting in Stonepark estate

BY AISLING KIERNAN a

Reporter:

BY AISLING KIERNAN a

Residents of The Rocks estate in Stonepark - Michael Bermingham, Andy Dardis, Stephen Hoare, Pat Ryan, and John O'Rourke - have expressed their frustration over many issues affecting them, including a lack of public lighting. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
The lack of street lighting at an unfinished housing estate in Longford was at the top of the agenda at last week’s Longford Municipal District meeting.

The lack of street lighting at an unfinished housing estate in Longford was at the top of the agenda at last week’s Longford Municipal District meeting.

Councillors were told that there was no funds to provide lighting in The Rocks in Stonepark.

Cllr Padraig Loughrey (FF) brought the matter to the fore in his notice of motion when he asked for an update on the estate and “in particular the issue of public lighting.”

The meeting heard that the estate has not yet been taken in charge by Longford Co Council, and according to directors it will cost in the region of €30,000 to finish it off.

New public lighting has been installed, but the electricity supply will only be turned on if and when the local authority takes the estate over.

The Rocks was built over ten years ago and left unfinished when the recession began to bite.

One of the residents, who did not wish to be named, said he has endured, what he describes as nine and a half years of “hell” there.

The sewerage system overflows regularly and the entire area around his house is prone to flooding, he claimed.

There are cracks on the walls all over the house, and he told the Leader that the experience has “destroyed my life”.

In recent months, Longford County Council upgraded the sewerage system, removed the debris from the green area, installed the lighting and constructed a tarmac road through The Rocks.

While residents are very grateful to the local authority for what it has done, for many it is too little too late.

“The community spirit has died in here,” another resident added.

“Some families fell on really hard times and moved out. Others have become so down over their living conditions here as well. The reality is that all of this has destroyed our lives.”

During last week’s council meeting, Cllr Seamus Butler (FF) suggested that the savings from the newly installed lights across Longford town could be provided to the residents of The Rocks - by way of a grant - to secure an electrical supply to the estate. There are 17 new public lights, each costing €100 per year to run.

“Health and safety is a major key here ,” Cllr Gerry Warnock (Ind) said.

“Something must be done for the residents there.”

Following on from Cllr Butler’s proposal, it was agreed to consider the matter.

“It would be very unfair to expect us to pay for the lighting,” the resident continued.

“For one thing it would be setting a precedent that would not be a positive one, and another thing is that we have been through enough, and lost a lot of money because of this estate.”