New café given the go ahead at Tesco megastore

An artist's impression of what the new Tesco will look like when it reopens in August 2014

An artist’s impression of what the new Tesco will look like when it reopens in August 2014

Wanze Properties (Dundalk) Limited, the company behind the construction of the new Tesco Xtra megastore in Dundalk, have been given the go ahead to install a new café in the revamped supermarket.

The company were recently granted planning permission to extend unit 4 in the premises by circa 42 square metres from 127 square metres to 169 square metres.

They have also been given permission to the change the use of the unit to a café, while they are also set to rearrange the adjacent ancillary services area and toilet facilities.

The new Tesco Xtra megastore will be located on the site of the old Dundalk Shopping Centre at the junction of Dublin Street, Hill Street and Stapleton Place.

The old centre was demolished before Christmas with construction work on the new Tesco premises well underway at this stage ahead of its expected opening in August.

As well as Tesco, the new building is also set to feature Traynor’s Butchers and Hickey’s Pharmacy, who are both operating out of temporary units alongside a Tesco Metro store on the Avenue Road during the construction phase.

Meeting tomorrow to expand community cardiac first responder scheme countywide

A voluntary community cardiac first responder scheme has been achieving life saving results in the months since being established in the Blackrock/Haggardstown area.

The scheme supplies help within minutes to a person in the area who has called 999 with symptoms of choking, heart attack or stroke. In the 10 months it has been in operation there have been 12 call outs.

Now the group behind the scheme are attempting to roll it out to the rest of the county. Ideally, they would like to see each group cover an area of between 6km-8km.

A general meeting to set up a Louth committee will take place tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7.30pm in the Dundalk Gaels hall at the back of the new Tesco superstore, on the site of the old Dundalk Shopping Centre.

For further details email 1barryhennessy@eircom.net

Tesco hoping to include café in new Dundalk megastore

An artist's impression of what the new Tesco will look like when it reopens in August 2014

An artist’s impression of what the new Tesco will look like when it reopens in August 2014

Wanze Properties (Dundalk) Limited, the company behind the construction of the new Tesco Xtra megastore in Dundalk are hoping to install a new café in the revamped supermarket.

The company have applied to Dundalk Town Council for planning permission to extend unit 4 in the premises by circa 42 square metres from 127 square metres to 169 square metres.

They have also sought permission to the change the use of the unit to a café, while they are also looking to rearrange the adjacent ancillary services area and toilet facilities.

The new Tesco Xtra megastore will be located on the site of the old Dundalk Shopping Centre at the junction of Dublin Street, Hill Street and Stapleton Place.

The old centre was demolished before Christmas with construction work on the new Tesco premises well underway at this stage ahead of its expected opening in August.

As well as Tesco, the new building is also set to feature Traynor’s Butchers and Hickey’s Pharmacy, who are both operating out of temporary units alongside a Tesco Metro store on the Avenue Road during the construction phase.

Council still plan to remove Hill Street Bridge

Hill Street Bridge, heading towards Stapleton Place, in years gone by. The bridge is believed to have been built over 150 years ago

Hill Street Bridge, heading towards Stapleton Place, in years gone by. The bridge is believed to have been built over 150 years ago

Dundalk Town Councillors have been assured that the Hill Street Bridge will be removed but it is not yet known when the work will take place.

Cllr Martin Bellew raised the issue last month, stating that it was his understanding that the bridge was to be removed as part of the development of the new Tesco Xtra megastore on the site of the old Dundalk Shopping Centre.

A review has taken place on the matter with Town Engineer Catherine Duff hopeful of coming up with a project design within the context of the funding that is available to see if the bridge can be removed sooner rather than later.

Speaking on the matter recently, Cllr Bellew said he was now more positive about the issue and believed it would happen eventually but couldn’t put a timeline on when that might be.

Debate reignited over future of Hill Street Bridge in Dundalk

A train heading for the Barrack Street freight yard when trains used to go under the Hill Street Bridge

A train heading for the Barrack Street freight yard when trains used to go under the Hill Street Bridge

The debate over whether or not to knock the Hill Street bridge has been reignited.

Dundalk Town Council were given the green light to demolish the bridge in 2007 but were waiting for work on the new Tesco development at the old Dundalk Shopping Centre site before proceeding – with the supermarket retailer set to contribute towards the cost and the council co-funding the project.

Those plans are believed to now be up in the air as a result of the changed economic conditions over the course of the last seven years.

Now the council are set to ask their planners to review the original designs to see whether they address the needs of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in terms of the future development of the town.

Speaking on LMFM this morning though, Cllr Martin Bellew, said he was disappointed that work had not proceeded and insisted he would be raising the matter at the next Town Council meeting to get an update on where things stand at present.

“I understood that as soon as the Tesco job was in operation, work would start on the bridge too but as far as I can see we are no further on.

“I’m disappointed this hasn’t happened and I will be pursuing it at the next meeting,” said Cllr Bellew.

There has been much speculation regarding the future of the the Hill Street bridge for several decades but particularly since the Barrack Street freight yard closed in 1995.

Hill Street Bridge, heading towards Stapleton Place, in years gone by. The bridge is believed to have been built over 150 years ago

Hill Street Bridge, heading towards Stapleton Place, in years gone by. The bridge is believed to have been built over 150 years ago

Cllr Green satisfied Tesco not to blame for rat problem but insists it still remains an issue

Construction on the new Tesco Xtra superstore at the old Dundalk Shopping Centre site is ongoing but is not to blame for rat problems in the area

Construction on the new Tesco Xtra superstore at the old Dundalk Shopping Centre site is ongoing but is not to blame for rat problems in the area

Councillor Jennifer Green insists she is satisfied that the recent rat infestations that have plagued residents in the Thomas Street and Vincent Avenue areas of the town were not caused by the demolition of the Dundalk Shopping Centre.

Cllr Jennifer Green

Cllr Jennifer Green

The Sinn Féin representative initially felt that the demolition of the centre to make way for a new Tesco Xtra superstore was behind the problem, with at least one of the local papers picking up on this last week.

However, Cllr Green quickly dismissed that idea having spoken to Precision Construction Ltd about the matter.

Last week the HSE visited the site to investigate whether there was any rodent activity but there was none. Cllr Green said she then met with Declan Flood at the demolished shopping centre site, who informed her that Eco Lab were managing pest control on site and had taken the following measures:

  •  They first arrived on site in March 2013 at which time Eco Lab placed bait boxes around the whole site.
  • Rodent activity was noted in March 2013 and there has not been much recorded since. I requested a report from EcoLab outlining such. Received.
  • Mr Flood conducted a door to door mail shot in December 2013 of approximately 250 houses in the area at Christmas. This provided residents with his contact details if they had any enquiries regarding the project. He has not received any complaints from the general public in the area to date.
  • There is a no eating on site policy. Staff are only permitted to eat in the canteen.

To this end, Cllr Green has been informed that the HSE can take no further action at this time but she is concerned that the rat problem still remains.

She said: “This does not solve the problem of where the rats have come from. While I am glad that we have eliminated the Tesco site as a source, I would be happier if I could go back to the residents with an explanation.

“I have gone around the area and there isn’t any rubbish being dumped. Could it be as a result of the high tides we had as that area is also served by the Ramparts River? I was hoping the HSE report would have given us more answers.”

She added: “I will continue to look into this issue and do whatever I can to get it resolved. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.”

Picture credit: Aidan McGinn (Facebook)

Investigation launched into robbery of two 14-year-olds at knifepoint in Dundalk

The Iron Road in Dundalk

The Iron Road in Dundalk

Gardaí are appealing for information after two 14-year-old boys were robbed at knifepoint in Dundalk last Saturday.

The incident occurred around 5pm on the Iron Road – the road between Lidl and the now demolished Dundalk Shopping Centre.

The two boys were threatened at knifepoint and made to hand over an iPhone and an iPod which they were carrying.

The thief is described as being in his early 20s, 6ft in height and was wearing dark jeans and a dark coat with a fur hood at the time of the robbery.

He fled the scene in the direction of the Marshes.

A similar incident occurred on Saturday January 4th in the same area and Gardaí believe they may be linked.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Dundalk Gardaí at 042-9388400.

This week’s Argus

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This week’s Argus features news of the rodent problem affecting areas around the Dundalk Shopping Centre. There’s also a tribute to murdered Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe a year on from his death, the story of the late Stephen Carroll’s watches being stolen and a new diary from Carlton’s AFL recruit, Ciaran Byrne.

All that and more in this week’s Argus… on sale now!

HSE to visit Dundalk today to investigate rat infestation problem

Cllr Jennifer Green

Cllr Jennifer Green

Following yesterday’s story from Sinn Féin councillor Jennifer Green about a rat infestation in and around the Dundalk Shopping Centre site, which is being developed as a Tesco superstore at present, Precision Construction Ltd – the company carrying out the work – have denied they are responsible for the increase in rodents in the area.

Yesterday, Cllr Green raised the issue of the number of rats in areas such as Thomas Street and Vincent Avenue and claimed that the problem had been so bad that one resident had to move out of their home.

She highlighted that the brown rats were disease carriers and had contacted the HSE to deal with the matter.

Following release of the story yesterday to various news outlets, including Talk of the Town, Cllr Green was contacted by Precision Construction Ltd.

She was told that the company have had a firm doing surveys on the site since March 2013 and there were no health and safety issues or infestations uncovered so they proceeded with the demolition of the centre.

The HSE also contacted the former Dundalk Town Council chair, with Cllr Green describing their response as “very pro-active”.

They are to visit the area later today to investigate the matter.

Cllr Green said it was now important to determine why there has been a sudden increase in the number of rats in this area of the town and to deal with the matter as quickly as possible.

“We need to know why there has been a sudden increase in the number of rats in the area since December. This isn’t about blame, it is about finding a solution to the problem,” she said.

Cllr Green calls for urgent action on rat problem near Dundalk Shopping Centre

Cllr Jennifer Green

Cllr Jennifer Green

Although residents of Dundalk are looking forward to the completion of the new Tesco on the site of the Dundalk Shopping Centre, it seems the construction operation has disturbed various rats’ nests causing them to spill out on to Thomas Street, Vincent Avenue and surrounding areas.

Residents have been overrun with this vermin and one resident has been affected so badly with the infestation, they have had to move out of their home.

On receiving a number of complaints, Sinn Féin Councillor Jennifer Green contacted Dundalk Town Council’s Environment Department only to be told that ‘Dundalk Town Council don’t deal with rodents.’

Commenting on the matter, Cllr Green said: “I have phoned the HSE but the phone has been ringing out and I have also contacted Tesco’s Head Office in Dublin but I was just able to leave a message.”

The most common type of rat in Ireland is the brown rat, which is also the most serious pest species and can pose considerable public health and environmental problems. It can also harbour a number of disease-carrying organisms such as mites and fleas which can pass on Q and Hantaan fever to humans.  The brown rat can also spread Weil’s disease from a bacteria in their urine called leptospirosis, which is dangerous to humans and can affect water quality over a time, posing serious risks.

The Mulholland Avenue councillor, who will be running in next May’s local elections, said it was vital that the matter be dealt with as soon as possible.

“This is an awful situation for the residents and the business owners in the area. There are children and older people in these areas that have a right to live in their own homes, safe from vermin. I want this matter dealt with as soon as possible. This is urgent.”