Fire leads to call for former Portlaoise shopping centre to by knocked

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Portlaoise centrpoint

Centrepoint Shopping Centre

The former Centerpoint Shopping Centre should be demolished by its owners or Laois County Council according to a county councillor who called for action in the wake of a fire at the building in Portlaoise.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley made the appeal in wake of a blaze at prefabricated buildings which were former offices at the rear of the property off the Mountrath Road.

"It has been the source of anti-social behaviour for many years and this has been made many times by councillors. It is in a dreadful condition and is a terrible eyesore. It is in a built-up area with a huge population and there are houses very close to it.

She said the residents have already been in touch with her about the risk of a blaze at the building which it is believed has asbestos in the roof.

"I have already had residents in contact with me saying they were terrified of fire," she said.

She said the owners have a responsibility for the building but the council also has the obligation to ensure derelict sites charges were levied against the owners.

In the wake of the fire, the Sinn Féin councillor said direct action must be taken.

"The owner should have made to secure the building before the fire but at this point, the building should be demolished and the site cleared even if that means the council carries out that work and it levies the cost against the value of the site when it is sold," she said.

She acknowledged that the presence of asbestos could make it a costly exercise for the council but she said something will have to be done.

Cllr Dwane Stanley believes there are development plans for the site and the building should already have been knocked. Laois County Council has already identified it as an 'opportunity site' for the development it's the latest plan for Portlaoise.

She said she did not know who owned the building but said it has potential due to its prime location and the need in the community.

"It would be ideal for housing or even a sports facility," she said.