An official complaint has been made to the Health and Safety Authority by a Galway Senator about the ongoing situation in the Oranhill estate in Oranmore.
The large hole was originally dug in preparation for the construction of a shopping centre, which was never built, and residents now fear a large crater presents a considerable danger for children.
Senator Healy Eames said this week that the hole in the Oranhill estate is “literally big enough to fit Leinster House”.
“It represents a considerable danger for local residents, especially children, and it is an unwelcome and unsightly blot on the landscape. About 500 young children live in this area,” she said.
Senator Healy Eames said she was outraged that this issue has been allowed to drag on for so long and had tried every angle including with the developer and the Council.
She added that the recent stormy weather meant the hoarding has come loose and could hit a pedestrian or motorist arising in the strong winds, with the current situation being “totally unacceptable and unsafe”.
“I firmly believe that Minister O’Sullivan should be enabled to intervene in housing estates where there is a direct risk to human health, as is the case here. I am aware that the Minister is working on a plan to tackle unfinished housing developments but, for us, a solution to this problem cannot come soon enough,” she said.
Senator Healy Eames said that the health risks posed by unfinished estates were all too clear, pointing to the example of a two-year-old child who tragically drowned in an unfinished housing estate near Athlone last year.
“There are 300 people living in close proximity to the hole, many of whom are of primary school age and younger. Local parents are petrified that an accident could take place there. So am I. This situation needs urgent resolution,” she said.
In an attempt to raise awareness of the problems posed by the hole, Oranhill residents have organised a social media campaign. A video made by three young children on the estate has now garnered almost 14,000 views on YouTube.