LONGFORD county manager Tim Caffrey was a familiar figure to residents of the estate where he had bought a four-bedroom house.
They regularly saw him arriving in his car in the Mill estate in Clondra and taking a lawnmower out of the boot to cut the lawn. But that stopped this year after he rented out the house to a voluntary housing body, the Muiriosa Foundation.
Residents in the estate were surprised to hear that the Department of Environment had approved a €250,000 grant for the Muiriosa Foundation to buy Mr Caffrey's house.
Single mother Louise Rossiter, who rents with her daughter Mollie (4), said she did not believe it was worth that much.
However, she said the estate was much better to live in than her previous home in Dublin. "It's a better lifestyle for your children. The people here are lovely," she said.
The Mill housing development contains a mixture of large houses and two apartment blocks built on the site of the old corn mill, which gives the development its name.
The estate was exempted from the €100 household charge due to its unfinished status but work has since been carried out and it was not exempted from the property tax.
But even though all of the houses and apartments were sold, many of them went to investors, and residents estimate that up to 60pc of them lie empty.
But those living in the estate are happy to be located near the picturesque village of Clondra, which is located at the point where the River Shannon meets the Royal Canal.
See independent.ie for more on Michael's report from Clondra