€100,000 owed to council in derelict building fines

A massive 95 per cent of fines levied on the owners of derelict properties have not been paid, a Laois County Councillor has claimed.

A massive 95 per cent of fines levied on the owners of derelict properties have not been paid, a Laois County Councillor has claimed.

Cllr Alan Hand also urged county hall to must double its efforts on collecting money from owners of derelict sites. He called for the council to write to the relevant minister and call for stronger laws to deal with derelict sites.

“The planning authority work with the tools in their armoury and the legislation needs to be stronger.

“Owners are not taking the proper warnings. €108,300 has been levied in respect of derelict sites and only €5,000 has been recovered,” he said.

He said that people are not fulfilling their obligations and eight sites were added to the list in 2012.

“The planning staff have a difficult task if someone is absent from the area. How do we get them? Portlaoise has a higher proportion. 
We’re trying to attract multinationals and we don’t need investors coming seeing derelict sites,” he said.

However Cllr James Daly, while supporting the motion told Cllr Hand: “This is protecting the environment and funding local government but this motion is ironic given your party’s stance on the household charge - it reflects a double standard”.

Cllr Hand was supported by Cllr Lisa Delaney who said that a derelict site in Mountmellick was partially burnt out the weekend before.

“There are fabulous buildings and they shouldn’t be abused”, she said.

Director of Services with Laois County Council Anna Marie Delaney told the meeting that a comprehensive review is underway.

“There is limited legislation - four notices have to be served before a fine is imposed. There are 109 sites on the register and 12 will be investigated for 2013.

“We will write to the minister, the legislation goes back to 1990. It is very difficult to get people to pay on derelict sites”, she said.