Adams a pal of ‘fire trap' Priory Hall builder – Kenny
Published 19/10/2011 | 15:23
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has accused Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams of being friends with the millionaire developer behind the "fire trap" Priory Hall apartment complex.
Mr Kenny claimed the Louth TD and Thomas McFeely, a former IRA hunger striker-turned-property tycoon, were acquaintances amid a row over Government action on job losses at insurance giant Aviva.
Some 65 families have been forced to make the Regency Hotel, Dublin, their home after being told to leave dangerous apartments in the north of the city over fire risks.
Amid allegations that the Government does not care about Aviva workers, the Taoiseach said Mr Adams must also be aware of the fears of 300 Priory Hall residents since he and Mr McFeely are acquaintances.
"You stand for jobs or so you say. There are 300 people from the Priory apartments built by an acquaintance of yours who are staying in a hotel," he said.
"You understand there are people having to live in a fire trap with that anxiety and concern."
Mr Adams accused the Taoiseach of defamation and called for the accusation to be retracted.
He said Mr Kenny's charge was untruthful and called for Ceann Comhairle of the Dail Sean Barrett to make a ruling to have it withdrawn.
Council tenants living in the Priory Hall complex in Donaghmede were initially told to move out two years ago.
But last week Dublin City Council said new matters had come to light identifying a serious fire risk and it advised private owners and renters to vacate as well.
The High Court then ruled to evacuate the complex, which comprises 187 units, and a judge froze developer Mr McFeely's assets.
"Bad bank" Nama stepped in last night to offer to talk to council chiefs and draw up a list of properties it has available to house homeless residents.
The Taoiseach had been responding to the Sinn Fein leader's claims that he had not done enough to protect the 950 Aviva workers facing redundancy.
Mr Adams likened him to the company's chief executive Andrew Moss and suggested he did not have the interests of Irish citizens in mind.
"What we need is investment in jobs, in jobs creation and we have to defend citizens. The main focus and the responsibility of a Government is to defend citizens," Mr Adams said.
"Those workers in Aviva have been treated disgracefully. I think it's a mark of extreme arrogance that (Andrew Moss), who earns £1.8 million plus, will say there's a culture of entitlement here and you talk about making the country more competitive.
"That's saying in a different way what Mr Moss has said and it's not good enough."
The Ceann Comhairle, who tried to establish order during the row, said he could not stop political charges being made across the floor in the Dail.
However, he pointed out that members had to take care when speaking about outsiders who were not there to defend themselves.
"There's all sorts of charges being made," he told Mr Adams.
"A political charge within this chamber is permissible and you will be given an opportunity at some stage when you're in order to answer that charge. That's political debate."