While hundreds of ordinary residents are now volunteering their time and effort to take part in the monthly clean-up of Galway city's public parks and woodlands under the auspices of City Hall's Glan Suas Gaillimh that was inspired by Friends of the Friends campaigners, certain property developers and business owners are destroying the attractiveness of Galway city by a callous disregard for the upkeep of their properties.
It is time for the council to take action under the power invested in it by the 1990 Derelict Sites Act that allows prosecution of their owners and in fact to take over their properties if they fail to comply with the regulations.
The inevitable result was that there are thousands of rented houses in Galway housing estates with badly maintained exteriors contributing to serious lowering of community moral amongst local residents. For why cut your lawn and paint your wooden fence when the house next door has a pampas-like front garden and woodwork that is rotting away!
This situation will get worse as so thousands of rented accommodation lie empty as the downturn in the economy leads to an return of Eastern Europe workers (i.e. former tenants) to their homelands
But even prominent city centre commercial properties can have a dirty, grimy, derelict look.
One example is Advance Pitstop on the Headford Road adjacent to Aldi and Lidl.
The owner(s) lets his perimeter wall crumble, the pathetic looking puny shrubbery is almost permanently covered with discarded bottles and cans. and the rusty railings have not seen a a coat of fresh paint for years.
Starting now with Advance Pitstop, I am going to publicly report every week a business that is allowing its property to become an eyesore.
Latear in the year, I hope to start a community campaign to get City Hall to introduce bye-laws to secure a minimum standard of upkeep on all commercial premises and rented properties.
It is critical that developers are not allowed to undermine the attractiveness of the city for tourist and resident alike.