31 May 2001 Edition

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Landmark decision against rogue developers

Residents of the Cartron Bay estate in Sligo have finally won their 20-year battle to force Cartron Bay Construction Ltd to complete work on the estate built in 1974. In a landmark decision delivered by Judge Ó Caoimh in the High Court, the two directors of the company were held personally liable for the cost of completing the works on the estate, which after 20 years remained unfinished.

This decision affects hundreds of people across the state who have purchased houses in new developments that have been left incomplete by rogue developers. In last week's judgement, the judge threatened to sequester the assets of the two directors unless they paid £120,000 plus ten years' interest to Sligo Corporation.

Over 20 years, the roads around the Cartron Bay Estate have been regularly flooded and the houses made inaccessible to emergency services. The court case itemised a ``host of deficiencies, in the sewer pipes, defective manholes and wrong bore pipes''. Cartron Bay Construction had upped and left the estate in this condition and wasn't coming back. In 1988, the High Court ordered Cartron Bay to complete the works, but the company felt they could happily ignore this order. The colossal puddles and seeping sewage remained.

The issue became a major battle for Sinn Féin Councillor Arthur Gibbons, who lives on the estate. The main part of the campaign was to force Sligo Corporation to take on the company and its two directors, Thomas and Pauline Maguire. ``It was only when we residents appointed our own solicitor that the Corporation paid the slightest attention our situation,'' he says.

``The reality is that rogue developers have been allowed to breach planning regulations all over the country, because of their close ties with councillors, be they Labour, Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil. There is a strong reluctance within the councils to crack down on the building industry.''

Following the judgement, Gibbons has tabled a motion to the next meeting of Sligo Corporation which would disallow the local authority from giving future planning permission to any developer who has failed to meet terms of previous planning permissions.

``I believe that every council in the country should resolve, in the same way, to protect residents from the cowboy developers, who have made a packet out of construction and left residents and house purchasers powerless to force completion of the works,'' says Gibbons.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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