'They will have to drag us out screaming', say Kelly's Row residents
Published 16/05/2015 | 06:54
A SINGLE mum has said she and her son will have to be dragged out of their Dublin apartment after a High Court order was granted calling for the evacuation of the building due to fire safety concerns.
Dublin City Council sought the order for 3 Kelly's Row, including 20 Dorset Street, in the north inner city, which contains several flats and includes one family with four young children.
Lorraine Donovan (36) said last night that neither she nor any of the other tenants would be leaving.
"We have nowhere to go and won't be getting out," she said.
"The residents in the building have united, and we are all staying.We've been threatened to leave, but we won't go.
"We are armed with knives, screwdrivers and batons. If anyone tries to move me or my son by force we will use them."
The desperate mum said she has been told to seek alternative accommodation by Dublin City Council.
"I was told to go to Parkgate Street and that we would be put up in a hotel or B&B but I went down there and I have been told they have nothing," she said.
"We haven't been given our deposits back either."
On Thursday, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, granted permission to the council to serve notice of the proceedings on the owners, Frank Chatham, of Arch Villas, Greystones, Co Wicklow, and Joseph Simpson, of Tara Green, Ballymoney, Co Wexford.
When the matter returned before the court yesterday, the judge was told that the owners were consenting to the order sought by the council.
Mr Simpson, who represented himself, told the court that while he had no problem with the order, he disputed certain claims made on behalf of the council.
"In October 2014, the Dublin Fire Brigade attended the premises at 3 Kelly's Row in Dublin 1 following a small fire," he said in a statement. "There was no significant fire hazard and the building was deemed safe.
"At the start of March, the building was vandalised. Fire doors were pulled down, the fire alarm panel and other fire equipment were damaged and the property was set on fire.
"Subsequently, a senior engineer from Dublin Fire Brigade attended, and while there commented, 'I notice there has been significant investment in the fire safety in the building'.
"Since the incident, there has been substantial further damage to the property.
"On each occasion, we co-operated fully with Dublin Fire Brigade and complied with the fire safety notices that were issued on March 6 and March 27, 2015."
Mr Simpson denied that nothing had been done by the owners since they were served with a fire safety notice prohibiting the use of the flats in March. He and his co-owner asked the tenants to leave the building so they could comply with fire safety requirements, and they had stopped collecting rent.
He also rejected claims that they had refused to return deposits paid by the tenants. He said that before they stopped collecting rent, arrears had built up. The tenants had been offered €600 each to leave, he said.
A spokesperson for the council said it was working with the tenants to supply them with alternative accommodation.
Mr Justice Kearns, in granting the orders prohibiting the use of the premises as accommodation, said the health and safety of the residents was the court's "primary concern".
The matter was adjourned to next week.