Muddy water pours from the proposed site into the Ros na hInse housing estate in Attirory, Carrick-on-Shannon after a gap was developed in the boundary.
While local residents are strongly opposed to the development of a Council owned site in Attirory by access through the existing Ros na hInse housing estate, it has emerged that the Cathaoirleach of Carrick-on-Shannon Municipal District does not share that view and he told the Leitrim Observer this week he is “reluctant to support the opposition of this necessary housing development in the absence of a credible alternative.”
The furore has intensified in the past week as agents for Leitrim County Council opened an entrance to the site via Ros na hInse to carry out surveying works.
This was met with opposition by residents who refused to move their vehicles to allow any further machinery onto the site.
A meeting of local residents was held in The Bush Hotel last Wednesday where Attirory Residents Group, an umbrella organisation, was formed to represent the interests of all residents of the highly populated Attirory area.
Concern was expressed at the lack of consultation by Leitrim County Council with residents despite the fact that elected members were assured of same when the matter was first raised at a Carrick-on-Shannon Municipal District meeting last October.
Residents were assured by four of the five local councillors in attendance last Wednesday of their full support and it was agreed going forward to arrange a meeting with executive members of Leitrim County Council in the coming weeks.
Cllr Séadhna Logan, Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council, who was at the meeting in The Bush Hotel, told the paper this week that he is very concerned that there is growing opposition to a social housing development in Attirory which “will endanger allocated funding for necessary social housing in south Leitrim.”
Leitrim County Council was allocated €3,743,850 towards the end of 2017 towards the development of 24 social housing homes on a local authority owned site in Attirory under the government's Local Authority housing construction programme, as part of the wider Rebuilding Ireland programme. While the funding was initially welcomed by two local members, it quickly transpired there was strong opposition to the development of the site through a cul de sac in Ros na hInse and Cllr Des Guckian table a motion at the October meeting of the Municipal District accusing the Council at the time of “trying to bulldoze their way through Ros na hInse.”
Cllr Logan, however, has stated the funding was initially warmly welcomed by Cllr Finola Armstrong-McGuire and Cllr Des Guckian in this very publication on the first week of September.
“Since then both councillors have changed their position on this development, with very little reason given or clarification as to what motivated such a drastic u-turn.
“One must ask what new information is now known, that was not known previously, resulting in these prominent supporters of this development now being leading advocates for the abandonment of this proposed development from this site,” the Sinn Féin councillor asked.
Cllr Logan acknowledged that to date the level of consultation with residents in the wider Ros na hInse and Attirory area “has left a lot to be desired.”
He said this has undoubtedly lead to anxiety and concern for residents who have felt they have had no voice in this process.
However, it is his view that Carrick-on-Shannon and the wider south Leitrim area is greatly under-resourced in social and affordable housing, with huge demand and very little supply.
“We need these houses and there are very few suitable sites in the greater Carrick-on-Shannon area at present.
“While a vocal opposition is growing to the proposed Attirory development, there has been very few credible viable alternatives put forward as to where to relocate this necessary development.
“It is in this context that as a local councillor for this area I have to act with social responsibility and think of the greater good of the wider community.
“As such, I am reluctant to support the opposition of this necessary housing development in the absence of a credible alternative.
“I would call on Leitrim County Council and all parties involved in this ongoing dispute to engage in meaningful dialogue to see if a credible alternative or a compromise can be brokered.
“South Leitrim and Carrick-on-Shannon, in particular, has been struggling for a long time to meet housing need.
“Instead of looking for negatives in this situation, we should consider the need of the families who will finally be taken off the housing list.
“These families will bring a new energy, new vibrancy and new dynamic to the area, and will add to the calls for increased resources, amenities and facilities in the greater Attirory area,” Cllr Logan said.