Order to evacuate apartments over 'very serious fire safety risk'
Published 15/10/2011 | 05:00
AN apartment complex built by the company of former IRA hunger striker Thomas McFeely is to be evacuated by court order.
The High Court heard yesterday that the Priory Hall complex at Donaghmede in Dublin is a very serious fire safety risk and had insurance cover withdrawn.
Firefighters have also been ordered to maintain a presence at the complex.
President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said the situation was "a very serious emergency" and he would make the evacuation order sought by Dublin City Council.
However, he placed a stay on that order until Monday to allow the council find alternative accommodation for the people living in the 187-apartment complex while essential remedial works were carried out. He was informed this could take about a month.
The judge also made orders freezing the assets of developers Mr McFeely and Larry O'Mahony, whose company Coalport developed the Priory Hall complex in 2006.
He directed the papers in the case be sent to the DPP.
A fire safety inspector told the judge he believed the external walls would have to be replaced to make it safe. Donal Casey said that from his first inspection he was "horrified" by what he saw.
The judge said the faults appeared to go "to the root and foundation" of the development which might be "irretrievable" unless full resources were applied.
It "beggared belief" that both developers were out of the country yesterday given the history of this situation and the failure to deal with it, he added.
The judge ordered both developers to appear personally before him on Monday morning.
Three fire safety notices were served in September 2009. Just some of the required works agreed were done.
The two developers had been prosecuted and convicted at the District Court earlier this year.