Repeated break-ins at the vacant Nissan Central Garage in Mountmellick are causing fears of fire and crime for neighbouring residents.
The garage business which was liquidated in 2011 after 46 years, has become a centre for anti social behaviour in recent months, with several doors and windows smashed, and the interior trashed, as visible through the large windows.
Emmett Street resident Maura Reddin says it is a “timebomb”.
“If there’s petrol or oil that wasn’t cleaned out, it could be set on fire. There are old buildings around here, if a fire starts, it is highly dangerous. There is no structure to those buildings, there are only shells. For people living either side, it’s a timebomb. I would be very worried for their security,” she said.
She is angry that the building has been allowed to deteriorate.
“It is terrible to look at on the main street, for people walking by. It has been left there, it’s very sad, I am very annoyed about it,” she said.
The problem was raised at the Mountmellick Joint Policing Committee meeting on March 13 by Cllr Lisa Delaney and Cllr Bobby Delaney, who were contacted by residents who are feeling unsafe in their homes.
Mountmellick Garda Sergeant Ingrid Moore says they are giving the problem as much attention as possible, but are hindered by the size of the premises, which stretches from an entrance on O’Moore Street along Emmett Street, to Twomey Terrace, including three houses, two showrooms and two workshops.
The Gardaí have been called to the premises several times but so far have not apprehended any of the trespassers.
“We drive by there about 25 times a day. They have so many escape routes, and they can hide in the building. The big problem is it is so unsecured, and easily accessible, we are on the back foot all the time, they just go over the wall. To actually apprehend them is not going to be easy,” she said.
Auctioneer John Conway from Kildare confirmed to the Leinster Express that a sale is agreed on the 1.5 acre site, as stated on their website, but would reveal no further detail.
The site is owned by liquidator Peter Dawson from Leahy & Co, Dublin, who last Thursday said they have a “policy of not making comments to the press”.
On Thursday evening, a security firm K Tech Security arrived on site and by Friday it had been boarded up.