Donal Brennan, Laois County Council, Sharon Cosgrove, Oaklee, Joseph and Luke Murphy, Doreen Chambers, residents, Nicholas Barrtt, Chris White, Oaklee & Michael Rainey, Laois County Council.
Eleven houses that were built during the boom and left as a ghost estate have finally been finished and opened to families on the social housing list in Laois.
The houses in Cluainín estate in Mountrath were bought by Oaklee Housing as partially completed units in a receiver sale in November 2015. Acquiring and restoring eleven unfinished houses has cost over €1.3 million.
The combination of funding came from the Housing Finance Agency, the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) via the Housing, Planning and Local Government and with the support of Laois County Council.
Oaklee Housing carried out significant repair and structural work to bring the Cluainín estate homes up to scratch and this week keys were handed over to a number of local families.
It has taken over two years to bring these homes up to standard for social housing tenants. Some damage was caused by vandalism over the years and a number of windows were boarded up.
Sharon Cosgrove is the Chief Executive of Oaklee Housing.
“The handover of these homes is a welcome step towards meeting housing need and is welcome news for those on the housing list.
"The unfinished units required significant investment and work to bring the homes up to the high standards required. Our contractor has worked diligently and professionally and we are very pleased with the quality of the finished accommodation.
“Oaklee Housing continues to play its part to help meet delivery targets in the Rebuilding Ireland programme.
The completion and allocation of these homes is a good example of how we are working in partnership with local authorities, government agencies and developers to advance the delivery of homes for those in housing need," she said.
In January 2017, Brian Stanley TD called for answers on the length of time it was taking for the houses to be finished.
In a statement to the Leinster Express at the time Oaklee said the delay was down to 'critical issues'.
“Following the purchase of the units, an architect was appointed to oversee the completion, and detailed inspections revealed a number of critical issues with the 'as constructed' timber frame units.
“The delay in allocating these properties is unfortunate, however, Oaklee must ensure tenant safety and compliance with the building control legislation,” it said.
Tipperary-based contractor Leetherm Construction completed remedial works on the homes in Mountrath, which includes a mix of two and three-bedroom semi-detached houses and townhouses.
Laois County Council nominated households to the accommodation which will be managed by Oaklee Housing.
Established in 2001 Oaklee Housing is one of Ireland’s leading social housing providers managing 900 homes.
At the end of January 2018 there was a total of 1,800 on the housing waiting list in Laois.
From left: Donal Brennan, Director of Services, Laois County Council; Sharon Cosgrove, CEO Oaklee Housing; Joseph and Luke Murphy, Doreen Chambers, residents; Nicholas Barrtt, Oaklee Housing; Chris White, Oaklee Housing; and Michael Rainey, Housing Officer Laois County Council. Picture by Kevin Byrne Photography.
Doreen Chambers (centre) receives the keys to her new home at the Cluainín estate in Mountrath, County Laois from Sharon Cosgrove, CEO Oaklee Housing and Michael Rainey, Housing Officer Laois County Council. Picture: Kevin Byrne Photography.
Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley at the Cluinin Housing Estate in Mountrath in January 2017.