By Ann O'Loughlin
Seven mobile homes occupied by between 22 and 25 people have to be immediately vacated and removed from a commercial yard in Dublin because of fire safety fears, the High Court has ordered.
The High Court heard the caravans, at a vehicular parking/car wash yard in Prussia Street, are being used to accommodate a number of individuals and families, including children, who are believed to be from Eastern Europe.
The mobile homes are positioned quite close to one another, have electricity cables running into them, gas cylinders outside, waste materials stored nearby and there was evidence that people were smoking around them, the court heard. Dublin City Council is concerned that fire could spread rapidly from one mobile to another given the flammable nature of their construction and fittings, with no means of egress in the event of a fire.
Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he was satisfied to grant the orders that they be immediately vacated.
"With electricity cables, gas cylinders and people smoking, it is like a bomb about to go off," he commented.
He said he was doing so given the extreme risk to life for the unfortunate people living there. While he was reluctant to put people out on the street, he had been informed the Dublin Region Homeless Executive had been informed and he hoped it would be in a position to look after them.
Conleth Bradley SC, for the Council, in response to the judge's comment that it was like a bomb about to go off, said there had been another incident in another council administrative area where there had been terrible loss of life as a result of a fire in a mobile home site.
Mr Bradley said the Prussia Street situation came to light over a week ago and it was visited by fire officers who swore affidavits outlining their serious concerns about the safety risk to people living there. The mobile homes appeared to be up for sale. Planning enforcement notices were served as the alleged unauthorised use of the site for residential purposes.
Fire officers met the operator of the site, Mr Tibor Tancos, who said he had advertised the mobile homes for sale and would have them vacated within a week. The concern of the officers and the Council was so great however that it was decided to seek an immediate court order, counsel said.
The proceedings are against Mr Tancos and also against the owner of the site, Mary McGrath of Greenfields House, Maynooth, Co Kildare.
Mr Justice Noonan said the case could come back next week and both Mr Tancos and Ms McGrath were in the meantime given liberty to apply to the court in relation to the orders by giving 12 hours notice to the City Council.