The owner of a derelict site in Portlaoise has agreed to clean it and repair fencing in the coming weeks, following a meeting with local residents.
Illegal dumping, drug taking, drinking sessions and criminal activity were taking place on the 3.5 acre site at Green Mill lane, left unfinished since 2009 and now up for sale.
The council served the owner, publican Eamon Horan from Wicklow, with dereliction fines last year of €4,500, to date unpaid.
Residents of the lane and nearby estates, frustrated and fearful of trouble in the fields, wrote directly to Mr Horan last month. They told him they would hold a vigil outside his Baltinglass pub in an effort to get him to take action.
They included a copy of a Garda crime prevention report, which recommends measures to stamp out crime, including strong fencing, levelling and seeding land and improved lighting.
Last week Mr Horan met the Green Mill Lane committee in the community centre, and agreed to have the site tidied up and made secure.
“It was a productive meeting, everyone is happy with the outcome. At the end of the day we all want the site cleaned up and tidy,” Eamon Horan told the Leinster Express.
He says he will be clearing the site and repairing fencing “as soon as possible”.
Stan Henderson is chair of the Green Mill Lane Community Development committee.
“It was a brilliant meeting, everyone sat in a big circle and had a say. He has said he will have the work done before Halloween. I am delighted for the whole community, people will be able to sleep soundly in their beds,” he said.
He believes their letter which outlined a plan to bring the issue to Mr Horan’s local newspapers in Wicklow, made “a huge difference”.
“He is well aware of the consequences of not carrying through this work,” he said.
Also at the meeting were Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley and four town councillors, Kathleen O’Brien, Jerry Lodge, Catherine Fitzgerald and Caroline Dwane.
“I welcome the fact that this site is finally being cleaned up and secured and that the owner is actively trying to sell it. It will help to put an end to anti-social behaviour at the site and will also enhance the visual appearance of this residential area,” said Cllr Dwane.
Laois County Council had issued four dereliction notices and a €4,500 fine for the site, which continues to accrue interest. This fine is a charge and so will have to be paid as part of the sale of the land.