Thirteen social houses being built in Feakle have been described as “institutional and archaic” due to the chosen colour scheme.
A mix of three and two bed houses are currently under construction as part of the Rebuilding Ireland Programme, the first social housing development in Feakle since 1973.
Locals have been very supportive of the project but they are frustrated with the colour scheme in place, Cllr Pat Hayes stated when appealing for a review of the present tint. “The general consensus of the community in Feakle is that it is institutional and archaic and not keeping with modern villages. For a community that has endorsed this project, the least they are asking for is a colour to show the vibrancy of the community, the colours don’t fit into the ambiance of Feakle. A lot of people thought it was an undercoat. The ideas of painting doors and sills may enhance it, ask that whatever budget is available be used for changing the colour”.
Director of Social Development with the County Council, Anne Haugh responding to Hayes at the Killaloe Municipal District’s September meeting said a review could be conducted when the project was complete. “It is very much a subjective matter, it is an unusual colour and not one you see everyday. Personally I liked it, when you are driving into Feakle and you see the village in the backdrop, I think the colour integrates well into the trees and the landscape so you are not seeing intrusive houses from the village, it doesn’t detract from the village and that is my personal view. If we can hold our fire until the scheme is completed, there will be different colours on the doors and sills, it is very hard to judge. No house looks right until it is finished. We will revisit it if there is still unrest when it is finished, it would be premature to jump until we see the finished product”.
Cllr Joe Cooney warned, “It will be too late then”. He said some individuals making representations to him suggested painting a couple of houses in the centre of the development. “The whole estate is all the one colour and it will take from the village of Feakle. There is so much concern around Feakle, now is the time do it”.
“They are all painted, the timing won’t matter because it is done. If we are to revisit it I would rather we do it when everything is done. I am not saying no to having further discussions,” Haugh responded.
Tenants have to be appointed by the end of the year with the project completed by then. Cllr Hayes felt now was the only viable time to repaint the houses as he threw some shade on the suggestion painting would be done next year. “Who is going to be painting houses in the middle of November and December? The majority of people in Feakle are against the colour,” he continued, “I ask that ye find a few pound and a few paintbrushes and get it done. I guarantee it won’t happen in the spring to paint houses if there are tenants there. This is the only issue they have raised”.
Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe MD, Cllr Pat Burke agreed with Cllr Hayes. “Pat’s point is the locals are the people who live there, the architects are not living there”. He added, “The locals are the ones who live there and are proud of their village”. His Fine Gael colleague, Joe Cooney reiterated their call to consider the colour, “It needs to be done for the vision and landscape for Feakle. I would love it had been done elsewhere so we could see what it is like. It is a mighty project in rural East Clare, it would be a pity for the painting to take away from it”.
Concluding the discussion, Ms Haugh acknowledged the concerns. “Anything I’ve expressed here are my own personal views, it is a very subjective issue, I understand ye are listening to the people on the ground but I bet you any money that there are people on the ground who do like it”.