NAMA flats finally knocked down but safety fears persist
DEMOLITION began on an apartment block owned by NAMA yesterday, but local residents said they remain concerned about safety issues.
The 12-unit apartment block at Gleann Riada in Longford town is part of a larger unfinished development of apartments and houses.
While the residents are delighted that the block is being removed and returned to a greenfield site, they remain extremely concerned about conditions on the estate.
In mid-March this year, a suspected build-up of sewage gases resulted in an explosion at one house. No one was injured, but the front window was blown out of the house.
Although the estate is now in the hands of NAMA, the explosion prompted Longford County Council and the HSE to begin monitoring gas levels at the development.
Veronica Rogers, who lives in the estate with her boyfriend, said she was "absolutely thrilled" to see demolition work begin at the apartment block.
The demolition had been delayed by a few weeks because of nesting Housemartin birds.
According to a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) representative, "there were dependent young in the nest, so they couldn't move in until the birds were fledged".
But Ms Rogers said she still had concerns. "There's no street lights here and you just wouldn't dream about going out there at night."
One resident, Anne Heffernan, was evacuated from her home due to high gas levels on July 10. After a week in a hotel, she was moved to an apartment near Longford last Friday.
Ms Heffernan feels she is now in "limbo" and remains unclear as to when she might be able to return home.
"I am concerned there is raw sewage under my house because the smell is so bad," she added.
Chairwoman of the residents association, Martina Conboy, joined other residents in handing a list of questions to councillors at Longford County Council yesterday.