Up in smoke

Beechpark Halting site, Ennis

ARSON attacks have forced Clare County Council to close the doors for good on two separate housing schemes that cost almost €4m to build. One of the schemes was completed in 2004 at a cost of €2.2m.
The two group housing schemes, containing six units each, at Ashline and Beechpark in Ennis are now uninhabitable following a series of attacks and incidents over the past number of moths.
The latest incident occurred over the weekend at Ashline, the fifth such arson attack in that development, which cost over €1.7m to build. As a result of the weekend’s latest deliberately set fire, damage in the region of €200k was caused to two housing units, one of which had been considered to be the last habitable unit in the scheme.
Clare County Council have now announced that they have no plans to refurbish or rebuild any of the damaged or destroyed houses in either development.
The development at Beechpark was completed in 2004 at a cost then of €2.2m. It is also now vacant and uninhabitable although the Council had been forced to install a CCTV security surveillance at the site to ensure against further attacks.
Up to 14 per cent of all Traveller housing units built by Clare County Council in recent years have been completely destroyed by arson attacks, with nine houses damaged beyond repair.
The Ashline Traveller Housing Unit was vacated in November 2012 following an arson attack that damaged the last occupied unit in the group scheme.
A spokesperson for Clare County Council confirmed to The Clare People the damage of the weekend and that the Council has no plans to rebuild the destroyed units:
“Preliminary estimate of damage sustained last weekend is in the region of €200K.
“Five houses at Ashline have now been the subject of arson attacks and the development is vacant and closed.
“The Council is reviewing its options in relation to the vacant Ashline and Beechpark group schemes and has no plans to rebuild or refurbish damaged or destroyed houses at this time in either development,” the spokesperson commented.
The damage at Ashline is merely the latest in a series of arson attacks that have damaged Council property:
“The traveller group housing scheme at Ashline became vacated of tenants, when, in November 2012, an arson attack was carried out while the tenants were not in situ, rendering the only occupied house in the development uninhabitable,” the spokesperson confirmed.
“The Council secured the damaged house against access and closed off the development at the entrance. The Council does not have a security presence at Ashline, and the site is not the subject of a CCTV scheme.
“In the early hours of last weekend, entry was forced into that same house and a further arson attack carried out which completely destroyed the property. Another house within Ashline was also damaged in the weekend attack,” they added.
Following an extensive consultation process, the Council recently (November 2012) amended the current Traveller accommodation programme 2009 – 2013.
Eighteen group scheme houses have been constructed under the current programme, in Ennis and Ennistymon and while the programme initially included the progression of further group schemes, the Council has confirmed that it will not be proceeding with further group schemes during the lifetime of the current programme.
The Council appealled to the public to provide any information and assistance to gardai in their investigation of this most recent incident of criminal arson damage on Council housing.
“The Council is very concerned about anti-social behaviour and its impact on tenancy sustainment at some group scheme developments and is considering the future of the vacated schemes at Ashline and Beechpark,” the spokesperson said.


  1. Absolutely sick of the tolerance of this behavior and waste of public money. Whoever burned any of the houses needs a good long prison term, and those who are allocated the houses sought to have a legal duty to maintain said houses.


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