By Carmel Hayes
A RAT-INFESTED building beside a Crettyard crèche is causing serious concern for staff, parents and nearby residents.
The former health clinic, which is owned by the HSE, has been vacant for many years and is completely derelict.
The situation was described as “an absolute and utter disgrace” at a council meeting, when cllr Ben Brennan called for immediate demolition of the property, which he claimed is “a death trap”.
The former Midlands Health Board Health Clinic in Doonane near Crettyard was boarded up some years ago and is crumbling into ruin.
The building is not only overrun with rats but is also in danger of collapse, according to cllr Brennan.
“It is cracked in the middle, the head of the main entrance door is completely broken and the trussed roof has collapsed. It is going to come down on top of some child and rats can get in to the crèche beside it,” the Independent councillor told the latest meeting of Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District.
Cllr Brennan said the condition of the building is “an absolute and utter disgrace”, particularly as ’22 or 23′ children are attending the crèche next door.
He said: “The crèche owner has taken two or three dead rats out of it. The building is also an absolute death trap. Any bit of wind could bring it down.”
Cllr Brennan said local people are very concerned and he received two letters about the issue, one from the crèche owner and the other from neighbouring residents.
He was supported by cllr Pádraig Fleming, who agreed that the property should be demolished as soon as possible.
Area engineer Philip McVeigh said that Laois County Council has issued a notice to the HSE seeking immediate action on the building.
The Nationalist contacted the HSE with queries regarding the Doonane property, particularly whether there are any plans either to secure or demolish the building.
In a one-line emailed response, a HSE spokesperson said: ‘The HSE is the owner of the former health centre and any plans for its disposal will be in line with the HSE Property Protocol and Circular 17/2016 Procedure for the Acquisition and Disposal of Surplus Property and Circular 11/15 Protocol for the Transfer and Sharing of State Property Assets.’
The protocols referred to state that the owner is responsible for managing its properties and for complying with all legislative and regulatory requirements.