Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green has said that following the purchase of the Ard Dealgan Complex on Quay Street, the nightmare could be coming to an end.
Ard Dealgan was built by controversial developer Tom McFeeley and has remained unoccupied since 2009 due to health and safety concerns and has been a constant source of irritation for the area due to the anti-social activity it has attracted.
Speaking after the Dundalk Municipal meeting, Cllr Green said “Sinn Féin has been on this issue for years now and we have been pushing for the site to be used for social housing. This evening I was told that a consortium have bought the building and are proposing to renovate it. They will be doing initial studies and costings to see if it will be viable for social housing. It’s not clear at this stage if that will be the case. The Council and Sinn Féin would prefer this option obviously but we will have to wait and see.”
In recent days, Cllr Green had urged young people not to be entering the complex due to the dangerous state it was in and also the danger of running into anti-social people within the building. When asked about the immediate safety/security issue surrounding the complex, Cllr Green said:
“I have been told that the new owners will send a security firm to guard the building to ensure no-one is living within it and that no anti-social behaviour is taking place and this should happen in the next 4-6 weeks.”
“However, if all this falls through the Council can still activate the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and look at pushing through social housing. Either way, I feel it is safe to say, we can see light at the end of this nightmare tunnel at long last.”
Councillor Jennifer Green is warning of major traffic disruption when the reconstruction and repairs to the Stapleton Road area go ahead.
Speaking today, Cllr Green said “the provisional dates for the road closure is 18th February until 26th February inclusive and will be closed to all vehicles. Local residents will be facilitated ‘as much as possible’ and of course Pedestrian access will continue. The knock-on effect of the closing of Stapleton Place is going to cause major disruption in the rest of the town. Stapleton Place is a busy thoroughfare for those accessing the Ardee road and Castleblayney Road and the flow of traffic can be heavy at times.”
Cllr Green also said “we now have the big Tesco shopping centre there at the bottom of Stapleton Place and that is a busy junction, with Stapleton Place closed to all vehicles, there will be a bottleneck at Hill Street/Dublin Street. I would ask that traffic avoid that area as much as possible for those nine days.”
Cllr Green has also contacted Louth County Council regarding the cost of these repairs especially coming so soon after Stapleton Place underwent reconstruction to make way for the cycle lanes.
Cllr Green at Stapleton Place in 2014
After many frustrating years it seems that a solution to the Quay Street Ard Dealgan Aparment complex could be finally on the horizon.
Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green who has been battling on behalf of residents from the Quay Street and surrounding areas to address the issue said:
“The Council have been working on this over this past year or more and have sought a voluntary housing body to take on the Ard Dealgan complex. Cluid are preparing a funding proposal for the site which hopefully provide around 38 dwellings.”
Cllr Green was hopeful as she said “although it is still at the early stages, the move is very much welcomed. We have seen the Quay area lose its sense of spirit since these apartments had to be abandoned and were left to wrack and ruin. The apartments are a magnet for problems and anti-social activities and have been a living nightmare for nearby residents; not to mention the pressure it has put on the fire services as they have had to attend several fires using heavy duty hydraulic equipment.”
“Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted the negative impact Ard Dealgan has had on the close knit community. We have proposed numerous solutions and thankfully, the pressure from the community and Sinn Féin is beginning to yield results.”
Cllr Green concluded by saying “From the outset, Sinn Féin have been very vocal and will continue to support residents along the quay. Given the length of the housing list and the amount of time the Ard Dealgan saga has gone on, it is extremely frustrating. If 38 families could be housed in the Quay, it would reinvigorate the area and copper fasten the strong sense of community that already exists there”.
There was some positive feedback regarding the abandoned Ard Dealgan Complex on Quay Street at yesterday’s Dundalk Municipal District Council meeting.
Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green who has been to the forefront of a campaign to deal with the issue had put forward two ‘Notice of Questions’ asking for an update on the situation.
Speaking today, Cllr Green said “There have been several fires at the complex, the latest being last Friday evening and someone is going to be hurt or worse. There are people living illegally in the complex and creating a nuisance to the residents around the Quay area. This issue is not going away and we will not be ignored.”
“I have now been told by the Council that the Ard Dealgan issue is now a ‘priority’ and that the Council ‘has had discussions with a number of approved housing bodies in relation to a re-development solution. The Council has also highlighted the site to the Department of Environment as a site that should be re-developed. Discussions are continuing in this regard and when these matters are concluded the members will be advised.’”
Cllr Green said “while I give a cautious welcome to this news, what worries me is that there is no time frame in place. Every summer we have problems with fires and at one stage there was a barbeque held on the roof of the complex. The residents have had enough and this matter needs to be resolved as soon as possible. I will continue to keep the pressure on the Council.”
Louth TD Gerry Adams has called on Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and the HSE to reassure parents worried about future supplies of the BCG vaccine which provides protection against tuberculosis (TB).
Teachta Adams said:
“The difficulties in supply of the BCG vaccine have been known by the Department of Health since 2014. Little has been done to identify alternative suppliers, nor indeed to explain the ongoing situation to anxious parents of new-borns.
“Recent responses to questions I asked of Minister Varadkar, show little real commitment to address this matter. HIQA undertook a public consultation on proposed changes to the BCG vaccination programme on 9th September to run for six weeks. At the request of the Department of Health, HIQA has evaluated changes to the infant BCG vaccination programme proposed by the National Immunisation and National TB Advisory Committees.
“While I acknowledge HIQA’s assessment will be formed based on available evidence, I note that parents’ concerns are going unheard by the Minister. Minister Varadkar admits that no vaccine is expected for months to come.
“Recent media reports give rise to more fears among parents that the BCG vaccine may be withdrawn save for selected persons. HIQA’s draft assessment itself notes that universal vaccination is not “cost-effective”.
“The Minister, his Department and the HSE need urgently to engage with and reassure parents that they are actively seeking to secure alternative quantities of the vaccine and explain what their future plans are for the administration of the BCG vaccine.”
Concerns about the BCG Vaccine availability was raised with Mr Adams when Louth Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green was told her baby would not be able to avail of the vaccine until much later than recommended due to the supply issue. Cllr Green has since given birth to a baby girl.