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Forced to live for nine years in ghost estate

No street lighting, dangerous footpaths, overgrown gardens and green areas, anti-social behaviour and vermin problems - just some of the serious issues facing a family in Cahersiveen, who are the sole occupants of a ghost estate.

The plight of Teresa Monaghan Brennan and her children was brought to light by Cllr Michael Cahill after he received an email from her highlighting the realities of living in a ghost estate. 

The mother of four, who works locally, is the sole occupant of what was to have been a 27-house development, Lighthouse View, outside Cahersiveen in a house she bought nine years ago for €260,000. 

Speaking to The Kerryman this week, she said that she thought she had found her dream home. Instead the reality has been very different, with the family living in a dark isolated housing estate. 

"At the time I was told that there would be six other houses occupied. These are completely finished but nobody moved in. I am here nine years on my own," she explained. 

"I had a lovely picture in my head but nothing has been finished in the estate."

Now, as the estate falls further and further into disrepair, Teresa is appealing for help. Since the street lighting was switched off years ago, Teresa and her family are living in darkness making the walk treacherous and giving an eerie feeling to the abandoned housing estate. 

"I just want the place done up and in particular for lighting that would get rid of the eerie feeling here at night. I was told there would be shrubs. There is nothing but overgrown bushes and grass," she said. 

Teresa has spent years trying to get help from Kerry County Council and from the appointed receiver. It is a private development so the local authority are only responsible for the bond, which they now say they  have and will carry out works with. 

Cllr Cahill read Teresa's heartfelt email aloud at a recent Council meeting, which set out how she has also been forced to pay property tax on her house, though she is effectively living in a unfinished housing estate which is exempt.  

He is calling on the Council to reimburse this tax, following years of living in the derelict housing estate. Coupled with being forced to pay thousands in property tax and several attempts to recoup this, the mother of four has to face a neglected and empty development, fallen fencing, building materials lying around, no maintenance of the greens, and an overgrowth of weeds and plants.  

"Anti-social behaviour is also cropping up forcing me to have to call the gardaí," Teresa told The Kerryman.

"Nobody has been able to give me a straight answer nor find the answer themselves. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack to find some-one to help me," she said. 

"All I want for it is to be fixed. I have no problem paying property tax if this is done. I would like to stay here if the issues were addressed."