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Press Release: Minister Visits New Housing Developments

Homes to be made available for first-time buyers and social housing applicants.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, visited the sites of six new housing developments in the Athlone and Moate area on Friday 7 July. The Minister, along with the Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council Liam McDaniel, the Chief Executive Pat Gallagher, Director of Services Mark Keaveney, Senior Architect Paul Hogan, and other members of the staff. Also in attendance were members of the Oireachtas including Robert Troy TD and Deputy Peter Burke TD Minister of State for European Affairs and Defence, Mayor of Athlone & Moate Municipal District Cllr. Louise Heavin, and Councillors Frankie Keena, Tom Farrell, Vinny McCormack, and John Dolan. Representatives from the various developers and contractors involved in the six projects were also present at the relevant locations.
The six developments visited by Minister O'Brien were:
  • Greally Park, Athlone (Social homes)
  • Bellaugh, Athlone (Social homes)
  • Bower Hill, Athlone (Affordable Homes)
  • Dún an Rí, Coosan, Athlone (Affordable homes)
  • Gort an Locha, Moate (Affordable homes)
  • Mount Carmel Drive, Moate (Social homes)
The first stop on Minister O’Brien’s tour was the site of Greally Park in Athlone, where he performed a sod turning ceremony. The development will consist of one and two-bedroom homes including ten two-bedroom houses, a single one-bedroom house, and thirteen one and two-bed apartments. The scheme is located adjacent to the Esker Park social housing project which was completed in Arcadia in 2020. All houses are sustainably designed and use the latest Air-to-Water heating technology. The main Contractor for the project is OCC Construction. The houses were designed by Westmeath County Councils’ own in-house architectural team with the assistance of Jennings O Donovan Consulting Engineers, Cuddy QS Chartered Quantity Surveyors and Hayes Higgins Partnership, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers.
The second location was Bellaugh in Athlone, where the Minister performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the one of the families who have recently moved in, Victoria Quinn and her children Calvin and Alicia. Victoria has received one of the nineteen new homes provided by Westmeath County Council, in partnership with M&M Prime Holdings by way of ‘Turnkey’ arrangement. All nineteen homes acquired by Westmeath County Council consist of 3 bedrooms and will provide much needed social housing for families in Athlone and Westmeath.
The third visit was to Bower Hill in Athlone, which was the first of the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Schemes to be launched by Westmeath County Council and was one of the first in the country to have homes occupied under this scheme. The aim of the Affordable Purchase Scheme is to allow people to purchase a home at a reduced price, in return for a percentage equity stake to be taken by Westmeath County Council. It is predominately aimed at first-time buyers.
Of the 55 homes available at this site, Westmeath County Council, in partnership with the developers Ardent and with the support of the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage, have made 10 homes available to buy through this scheme, all of which have been allocated to date. Three families have moved in so far and the first occupier of a home under the Affordable Purchase Scheme in Bower Hill, Venkat Venugopal, his wife Janani, and their son Vidhuran were present at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The visit then proceeded to the site of Dún an Rí, in Coosan Athlone, where 21 homes will be made available under the Affordable Purchase Scheme. This development will be built by Castlestar Developments and will be near zero energy buildings. There will be two-bedroom and three-bedroom properties available and applications for these homes will open Wednesday 16 August for three weeks.
The fifth site visited was Gort an Locha in Moate, which will see 22 homes being made available to eligible applicants under the Local Authority Affordable Purchase Scheme. These homes will be built by Fitzpatrick & Heavy Homes and will consist of 15 three-bedroom homes and 7 four-bedroom homes. Applications for this Affordable Purchase Scheme in Gort an Locha will open online at 12 noon on Wednesday 26 July and will remain open for three weeks.
The final location on Minister O’Brien’s tour was Mount Carmel Drive in Moate, where nine new homes have been provided by Westmeath County Council in partnership with Faughnan Properties Ltd by way of ‘Turnkey’ under the Housing for All Social Housing Investment Programme. This development consists of four two-bedroom homes and five three-bedroom homes which have all been offered out to families awaiting homes on Westmeath County Council’s social housing list.
Speaking at the launch of Bower Hill, Minister O’Brien said “There are a total of 105 new homes being made available in Westmeath over the six schemes we are visiting here today, an almost 50/50 split between social housing and the new Affordable Purchase Scheme, so I want to congratulate Westmeath County Council on the work they are doing, which we can see in real terms here today”.

Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 12/07/2023