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Self-regulation in fire safety leading to more Priory Halls, more families made homeless – McDonald

30 September, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy President and TD Mary Lou McDonald has criticised the laissez-faire attitude of the government to fire safety in Celtic Tiger apartment buildings, saying that four years since the Priory Hall families were evacuated the government has done nothing to increase regulation or hold those that built apartments unsuitable for habitation to account. Now families in Longboat Quay, Dublin are faced with immediate evacuation from their homes.

The deputy made the point that in the midst of the current housing crisis, the last thing this city needs is another three hundred families made homeless.

Speaking at Leaders’ Questions today, Deputy McDonald said:

“Recently, I spoke with a young working mother with two children. She works hard. Her priority is putting her children through school and college. In 2006, one of her dreams came through – she bought an affordable home in Longboat Quay, Ringsend. Last night, she learned to her horror that she may be evacuated from her home within a week. Not just her and her two children but all of the 299 families that live in Longboat Quay may have to move out

“The reason is that their homes are fire traps.

“Built at the height of the boom by Bernard McNamara and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, Longboat Quay has been plagued with problems for years. Remedial work carried out to date have cost the Docklands Authority €1.2m. Owners have now been told that they have to pay between €9,000 and €18,000 each to make their home safe.

“The total cost of the required fire safety works is €4m. Nina and her neighbours paid anything from €250,000 to €600,000 for their homes. The homes they bought were not built properly – they do not meet fire safety standards.

“Taoiseach, it is four years since the residents of Priory Hall were evacuated – where is the legislation that is required to provide home owners and the taxpayer with the protection they need. And in the absence of legislation, will you personally intervene with Bernard McNamara to ensure that he and those responsible Longboat are held accountable and foot the bill?

“Equally Taoiseach, when developers are building homes there are no mandatory inspections. Fire Certs are issued off the plans. Taoiseach, do you believe that this is adequate – surely when it comes to fire safety, the industry should not be allowed to self-regulate.

“In the midst of the current housing crisis, the last thing this city needs is another three hundred families made homeless.” 

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