Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Order of Business
I rise to discuss the issue of our small towns and villages. We have an issue with urban and village renewal. It has been shown that we need to promote our towns as best we can. I raise this issue in light of what happened in Bandon, one of our gateway towns in west Cork, last night. A building on Oliver Plunkett Street in the town fell down. This was a very significant structure that the local authority cordoned off yesterday. It collapsed overnight. We need to look at our structures throughout our villages, and our town and village renewal scheme needs to look at the structures, their history and what can be done to maintain and develop these town centres. I was going to do my usual routine and ask the Minister to come to the House but I do not think it is appropriate in this case. The Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy English, needs to come to Bandon and look at the town and its structures because we need action on the ground and we need to see what can be done in the long term so that the incident that occurred yesterday in Bandon does not reoccur. These are gateway towns. Structures like these need to be looked at by the local authority.The local authority did a very capable job in cordoning off the location yesterday. We do, however, have to examine if local authorities throughout Ireland have buildings such as these on a register. We also have to ask how structurally safe are they. There are issues we need to look at.
We have dereliction in many of our towns and villages. This €2 billion urban renewal scheme needs to be rolled out and progressed so these buildings can be examined and villages and towns developed. It needs to be done so that we can solve part of our housing and economic problems. One aspect of our economic problem is that we have big developments in towns and in cities such as Cork, Dublin and Limerick. The smaller towns, however, are not developing. We need to have a real look at how we develop in that respect. The Leader might ask the Minister of State, Deputy English, to come to Bandon, examine what can be done and see if something can be done on the ground in respect of the renewal scheme so that there can be some movement in respect of these gateway towns.