Residents vent their anger and frustration over derelict properties

Derelict and run-down houses, abandoned household waste and even rats are threatening to turn one of Longford’s oldest streets into a no go zone.

Derelict and run-down houses, abandoned household waste and even rats are threatening to turn one of Longford’s oldest streets into a no go zone.

Angry residents living along Congress/Ward’s Terrace which is on St Michael’s Road in Longford town, have hit out at the way their neighbourhood has fallen foul to absentee landlords and long term neglect.

Local woman, Valerie Brennan said the problem was now so bad, certain sections of the street had become infested with vermin.

“The rats you see running from the back of these (derelict) houses are as big as cats,” she said.

“My daughter happens to live beside one of these with two small children and they cannot sleep at night with the scraping in her walls of vermin.”

Local man, Noel Quiggley said he had attempted to raise the issue with local politicians and council officials on a number of occasions previously.

“Landlords should be forced to clean their empty damp houses,” he remarked.

“It makes Wards Terrace/St Michael’s Road disgusting - it’s not the first time I made a complaint to the local council.” The Leader spoke to a number of residents on the road last week who also voiced their concerns.

Tipperary man, Michael Breen conceded the greater St Michael’s Road area has had its fair share of problems down through the years.

Since its refurbishment in late 2013, one part of the street have enjoyed a new lease of life.

But, according to Mr Breen the presence of increasingly run-down and derelict houses has brought with it its own set of problems.

“People are really annoyed,” he said, as he pointed to a house across the road which he claimed has remained empty for several years.

“I’m only here the last 15 years or so but when I came here back then it was a road where a lot of damage had been done to it.

“Since that end of the street was done it was a beautiful area to live on. It really has come on in jumps and leaps.

“I was talking to my neighbour this morning and we just said to one another we are going to have to go and speak to the council. Definitely we are very disappointed. The Council just seem to have wiped their hands.”

A few doors down, Michael Gill also expressed his frustration at the ongoing problem.

He said the presence of overgrown gardens, broken windows and general untidiness at some properties was not helping the road’s aesthetic appearance.

“You can see for yourself, there’s broken windows and everything.

“It is a nice street and it’s nice and quiet since they cleaned up St Michael’s Road,” he said.

But arguably the most vocal of those we spoke to last week was pensioner, Vera Burke. A permanent fixture on the Congress/Ward’s Terrace area for over half a century, she said not enough is being done to force the hand of private landlords to maintain their properties.

“Look at the like of that,” she said, while casting a rueful glance across the road at one house.

“It’s dreadful. I am here since 1959 and I’m the oldest one here now.

“I think it’s the council’s fault because they haven’t put pressure on the landlords. When I came to live here it was a beautiful area. When they (councillors) came round looking for votes they would tell you: ‘Oh yeah we will do this and get something done’.

“But it never comes to anything. It’s dreadful so it is.”

The Leader attempted to make contact with Longford County Council over the issue, but at the time of going to press no response was forthcoming.