Dáil debates

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

5:00 pm

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)

I attended a packed meeting of very anxious and upset Priory Hall residents in the Hilton Airport Hotel on the Malahide Road on Thursday night last. Priory Hall is a relatively new residential apartment complex of 187 units - it was built by the Coalport Building Company Limited - in the huge new North Fringe district in the constituency of Dublin North East and included among its residents are owner-occupiers, private tenants, Dublin City Council and RAS tenants and citizens who bought their homes through affordable housing schemes. Within months of the first residents moving in, serious complaints were made about defects and safety issues at Priory Hall. The Dublin city fire safety chief described the north and south blocks of the complex as "potentially dangerous" and stated that remedial works were urgently required to address the appalling safety deficit that exists.

In December 2009, Dublin City Council moved its tenants and clients out of Priory Hall on safety grounds and commissioned a report by Hayes Higgins Partnership on the alleged serious fire safety defects in the residential units in the complex, which Dublin City Council owns. On 27 July last, the city council's housing and planning departments made a presentation on the Hayes Higgins report to me, Deputy Seán Kenny, Councillor Brian McDowell and other local representatives. To say that we left the meeting profoundly shocked and stunned would be an understatement. We all undertook to have residents immediately informed of the appalling litany of structural, electrical and gas safety defects in the Dublin City Council units of the complex and we urged the council to immediately inform private owners and renters of the position and, if necessary, to evacuate the buildings.

At the meeting I attended on Thursday last, senior housing officials from Dublin City Council, including housing and assistant city manager, Mr. Dick Brady, outlined key findings of the report. Residents asked that the report be published immediately. A number of residents who were present at the meeting inquired directly of the council's officials whether it was safe for them and their families to spend one more night in the complex. I wish to direct the same question to the Minister of State on their behalf. The residents also want to be informed about the action being taken in respect of the architects that worked on the project, the entire self-certification process and the people who allegedly signed off on safety standards in the complex. This is an urgent and profoundly serious matter and I hope the Minister of State will be able to provide us with some support in respect of it.


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