Two young sisters from Oranmore Co. Galway have made a video about a large excavated hole in their estate. Apparently the hole was intended to be the foundations of a commercial block housing a shop, doctor's surgery and creche etc.
According to the video, they have been in contact with Galway County Council on multiple occasions in writing and in person, with the Council stating it is none of their concern as it is private land.
What the girls ask in their video is this: "Why can no-one fix the hole and make it go away?"
I think that's a very good question. According to Citizen's Information:
Derelict sites and dangerous structuresAll local authorities in Ireland are responsible for dealing with derelict sites and dangerous structures in their area. The Derelict Sites Act, 1990 and the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1964 can be used by local authorities to force owners to clean up these sites. Both acts allow local authorities to prosecute owners who do not comply with notices served, to keep registers of all derelict sites and dangerous structures, to purchase land compulsorily and to carry out necessary work themselves and charge the owners for the cost.
From the Derelict Sites Act itself, Section 3:
This ginormous hole is clearly within the definition of a derelict site. In my opinion, based on the video, the site meets all three sub-clauses of the definition in Section 3.3.—In this section “derelict site” means any land (in this section referred to as “the land in question”) which detracts, or is likely to detract, to a material degree from the amenity, character or appearance of land in the neighbourhood of the land in question because of—
(a) the existence on the land in question of structures which are in a ruinous, derelict or dangerous condition, or
(b) the neglected, unsightly or objectionable condition of the land or any structures on the land in question, or
(c) the presence, deposit or collection on the land in question of any litter, rubbish, debris or waste, except where the presence, deposit or collection of such litter, rubbish, debris or waste results from the exercise of a right conferred by statute or by common law.
Under Section 10 of the Act, the Council have a duty to take steps, including the use of statutory powers, to remedy the situation.
So, why is our legislative system failing miserably to address this large hole and indeed all the other large holes around the country?