Thursday 24 August 2017

Students and families ordered to leave Dublin city building over fire safety concerns

Stock image
Stock image

Tim Healy

Twenty people who had been staying at a Dublin north city premises described as a potential fire safety danger are to leave the property over the coming days and weeks, the High Court has heard.

A woman, her four children and three other members of their extended family, have been residing on the top floor of 24 Mountjoy Square, which incorporates 24 Charles Lane.

Approximately a dozen students have being living in the building's basement, the court also heard.

Dublin City Council issued a fire safety notice in respect of the property in August of last year.

Earlier this month, Anne O'Dwyer of Duff & Phelps, who was appointed receiver over the property in March, launched proceedings aimed at securing vacant possession of the property, on grounds including that a fire safety notice has not been complied with the property poses a risk to the residents, neighbouring buildings and the general public.

The action is against the property's owner, Christopher Singh and TWI Textile Machinery and Fabric Company Ltd, which partially occupies and operates from the premises.

It is claimed Mr Singh of Lisnacree, Castleknock Road, Castleknock, Dublin, is a director and the sole shareholder of the company.

Mr Singh, represented by Vincent P Martin Bl, opposes the appointment of the receiver and has also hired an expert to ensure that the required works to remedy the fire safety issues at the property are done.

The matter had been adjourned Mr Justice Paul Gilligan last Friday to give the parties an opportunity to reach an agreement in regards the fire safety issues.

When the case returned on Tuesday, Nevan Powell Bl,  for the receiver, said that following an inspection of the property, the view of his client and the council remains that the premises should be vacated.

It was the receiver's view that works costing up to €90,000 were required to make the building fire safety compliant.

As well as the residents, counsel said, as far as his client knows the building hosts enterprises including a textile business, a language school and an office where an individual markets accommodation, "and not necessarily" the property at Mountjoy Square, for rental on AirBnB.

Counsel said his client had been unable to take possession of the building and had sought an injunction against the owner and the company requiring them to cease trespassing on the property.

Counsel told the court that there had been no agreement between the parties when the met at the building on Tuesday.

However following discussions outside of the court, at the invitation of the judge, counsel informed the court that they had come to an arrangement.

Counsel said it was agreed the family living in the upstairs should leave the building as soon as possible. The students would leave when their term concludes in mid July, counsel said.

Counsel said it had also been agreed that fire wardens, put in the building by the receiver to monitor the it 24 hours a day, will remain in place.

Counsel said  the receiver was also making available a sum of money, on humanitarian grounds, that would be put towards the family's costs in getting new accommodation.

 Mr Justice Gilligan adjourned the matter to Friday.

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