Fire-risk flat owners must pay €4m or block will close

Owners in a controversial apartment block were told last night they have to come up with €4m in less than a week or Dublin Fire Brigade will move to have the building evacuated.

The fire brigade has threatened twice in the last six weeks to apply for a fire safety notice if remedial works to make the 299-unit Longboat Quay safe are not started immediately.

As first reported in the Irish Examiner last January, major deficiencies have been uncovered which render the apartment block an effective fire trap.

Last night’s meeting was told that a tender has been accepted for the remedial works at the Sir John Rogerson’s Quay development, but no funding has yet been acquired, despite the warnings from Dublin Fire Brigade that the building faces closure.

A member of the management team, Richard Eardley, who is also an owner, told shocked attendees that owners would have to pay between €9,300 and €18,000 depending on the size of their units if funding can not be secured elsewhere.

When asked how soon the money would have to be paid, he said immediately, a response that was met with bitter laughter.

Around 100 owners and residents attended last night’s meeting, which was told that events which began with the discovery of major deficiencies in February of last year have now come to a head.

The first phase of the remedial works involving the upgrade of a totally inadequate fire alarm system was completed in February.

The Irish Examiner reported at the time that fire marshals had been deployed within the buildings to patrol the common areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to alert residents in the event of a fire.

The deployment was one of the conditions imposed by Dublin Fire Brigade in order to prevent evacuation.

Last night’s meeting was told that the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, which is nominal landlord, had funded most of the €1.2m cost of that phase but it was unclear whether it would pay anything towards the next phase.

The development was built by Gendsong, a vehicle for developer Bernard McNamara, which is now in receivership.

A number of those in attendance at the meeting asked whether Mr McNamara had any liability, but were told that the corporate vehicle rather than the individual was responsible.

One owner pointed out that Mr McNamara was now back building at another location in Dublin.

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