Pressure is mounting on Dublin City Council to foot the €4m bill for fire safety remedial works in the 299-apartment complex Longboat Quay.
More than 600 residents in the development on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay are under threat of evacuation if the works do not begin within days.
Political pressure is mounting on the local authority to ensure the residents do not have to leave their homes in a move that would represent a repeat of the debacle of Priory Hall.
Director of the management company Richard Eardley said events had focused minds on the need to reach some resolution.
“We’re still talking to everybody but nothing has developed overnight,” he said. “I’m urging all parties to do what they can because the owners aren’t in a position to come up with the funds.”
In the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was urged to approach the principal in the company responsible for building Longboat Quay, Bernard McNamara, to attempt to seek some restitution. However, Mr Kenny said he needed to find out more information before he would act.
“Under the legislation, planning permission is issued on certain conditions. Unfortunately, because of the over-enthusiasm that was being followed with regard to the whole building boom during the so-called Celtic Tiger years, nobody policed the quality of the building that went into these houses and estates.
“Given the rush to cut corners and the rush to make money, people now find, years afterwards, having paid very good money and having mortgaged themselves for that, the house they live in is a firetrap. This is grossly unacceptable and is not an easy situation to sort out.
“I would like to find out more about this, in discussion with the city council and the minister for the environment, community and local government. I cannot give a judgment at this stage,” he said.
Sinn Féin deputy president Mary Lou McDonald said she was speaking to owners in the complex who had paid anything between €250,000 and €600,000 for their homes, which were not built properly.
“They do not meet fire safety standards, yet the developer, the builders, the architects, and the planning authority will not be penalised and it is the owners who are being asked to foot the bill.”
She said Bernard McNamara, having run up debts of €2bn during the boom, is now debt free and back in the property business.
She asked the Taoiseach to personally intervene with Mr McNamara to ensure he and those responsible for Longboat Quay foot the bill and are held accountable.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the owners were informed that if funding was not made available from other sources, each would have to fork out between €9,000 and €18,000 depending on the size of their homes.
Renua leader Lucinda Creighton, who is a local TD, said there may well be a role for the Department of the Environment in the issue. “There is precedent for the department to get involved as we saw in Priory Hall,” she said.
“Alan Kelly [minister for the environment] should have a view on how this is to be resolved.”
Ms Creighton is to seek to have the matter raised under a private member’s motion in the Dáil today.
The DDDA (Dublin Docklands Development Authority) has already contributed nearly €1m to the upgrade of fire alarms in the complex, which represented the first phase of the remedial works.
However, the authority has not committed to providing any further funding for the major structural works that are now required.
The funding for the next phase of works is required immediately as Dublin Fire Brigade has written twice in the last six weeks threatening to seek a fire safety order if the works are not undertaken immediately.
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