Aras an Chontae, Carrick-on-Shannon.
Leitrim County Council is looking at taking legal action against a bond company after their failure to engage with the local authority.
There is growing frustration at the continued failure of the bonds company for Dun Na Bo Estate, Ballinamore to respond to communications from the Council.
Cllr Caillian Ellis highlighted the plight of those living in Dun Na Bo at the recent Municipal District meeting, calling on the Council for an update on efforts by the local authority to take in charge this estate.
In a written response, Director of Service, Joseph Gilhooly said that “The Council has sought to engage with the relevant Bonds Company in settlement negotiations regarding its claim in respect of the Bond attaching to this estate. Unfortunately, to date, the Bonds Company has not reciprocated and has failed to acknowledge or respond to correspondence from the Council or its legal representative.”
Mr Gilhooly noted that “in light of the continued failure by the Bonds Company to engage with the Council in respect of this bond claim the Council has instructed its legal representative to refer this matter to the Financial Services Regulator, ie the Central Bank of Ireland and the matter may ultimately have to be taken before the courts.”
Mr Gilhooly said that until the Council’s claim in relation to the bond on this estate is finalised the estate cannot be taken in charge.
“Whilst it is regrettable that this matter remains unresolved, unfortunately, the scope and cost of works required to complete this estate means that the Council is reliant on the Bond monies to fund the works and so cannot do anything that may prejudice its claim,” he admitted.
Cllr Ellis asked for clarity on whether the bonds company behind this estate is based in Ireland or the UK, noting “if they are English this could go on for years before it is resolved”.
Cllr Paddy O'Rourke agreed noting it was his understanding that an English company owned the bond on Dun Na Bo estate, "Brexit has further complicated this as this company is no longer government by EU rules,” he said.
He also queried whether the bonds company's initial acceptance of some correspondence from Leitrim County Council on this estate in 2020 "was a cynical exercise to delay proceedings until Brexit happened."
"One thing is certain and that is that this is probably going to end up in the courts."
Cllr Brendan Barry said it would be important to determine if the bonds company at the heart of this is involved in any other estates in Leitrim while Cathaoirleach of Ballinamore MD, Cllr Ita Reynolds Flynn said that the situation "is a disgrace" and "very disappointing to residents of course".
Head of Finance, Vincent Dwyer acknowledged the situation was very frustrating.
He said Leitrim County Council had dealt with some very good bond company's over the years.
He said: “Hopefully when we take further action against them (the bond company for Dun Na Bo) it may precipitate action” .