Ponds up to 30 feet deep in which a young child could drown are easily accessible through the unsecured Maltings site on Coote Street, Portlaoise, according to town mayor, Cllr Willie Aird.
He was speaking at the recent Portlaoise Town Council meeting, during a motion raised by Cllr Kathleen O’Brien. Cllr O’Brien had asked Laois County Council to contact the owners of the old Maltings site to erect safe fencing around the site, and was informed that the water services department are preparing a notice to deal with this within 28 days.
The county council said that the notice will ask for the site to be secured with palisade fencing to make the site safe.
“This is going on a long time, it’s not good enough,” said Cllr O’Brien. “It’s a very unsafe site, there’s a big hole there. There’s now fencing up, but it’s not good enough, I don’t want to see this site just left.”
Cllr Clare Spollen said that a temporary barrier had been put up, but the fencing has since blown down and waste is being dumped on the site.
“The residents are sick of hammering nails into wet wood, this is going on too long,” she said.
“It’s a terrible eyesore,” remarked Cllr Aird. “While it’s with NAMA to identify the owners will take a long time, the local authority are the only one who can deal with it.
“There could be a fatality there with a young child, the ponds are 25 to 30 feet deep,” he continued. “It’s all left open and any young kids can walk along there. It should be (secured).”
Cllr Matthew Keegan suggested contacting the land registry, to find out who the owner is.
“It’s been a problematic site for a long number of years,” he said. “In the meantime we should make it safe.”