Friday 28 July 2017

Council chiefs ordered to report on ghost estate after toddler drowns in Athlone

The Glenatore ghost estate in Athlone
The Glenatore ghost estate in Athlone
The family's dog outside the toddler's house next to the unfinished estate

COUNCIL chiefs have been ordered to report on the state of a ghost estate where a two-year-old boy drowned yesterday.

Liam Keogh followed the family's pet dog out of his gated garden in Hazelwood, Athlone, Co Westmeath and into an unfinished part of the Glenatore Estate.

He fell into a gully and drowned.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has ordered Westmeath County Council to compile a report on the housing development,

"The minister has every sympathy with the family, it's a terrible tragedy. He has asked for a report as a matter of urgency," he said.

The child's mother Yolanda raised the alarm shortly after midday yesterday. Her husband Wesley has flown home from Wales.

It is understood neighbours helped her search for her son, who was found in a small pool of water adjacent to a drain area a short time later.

Described by estate agents as an exclusive development, Glenatore - which is close to Lough Ree - was granted planning permission for 66 terraced homes and apartments in 2005.

Just five properties were occupied and 13 were vacant, according to the 2011 national house survey. Others were never started or were at various stages of construction when building work stopped.

A spokesman from Westmeath County Council said Glenatore is listed as a category three unfinished housing estate - meaning while there is no on-site work, a developer remains in place and is responsible for public health and safety on site. Category three is one level below the worst grade in need of remedial works.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Authority are carrying out their own investigation into the circumstances of the death and to establish if the unfinished estate was still a working building site.

Locals have been mending fences in the last 24 hours to improve safety.

Glenatore is under development by Diskin Enterprises, which is run by local man Tony Diskin.

The developer is also involved with ambitious plans for a retail and office development in the Golden Island area of Athlone.

Irish Independent

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