Wednesday 18 October 2017

Families urged to leave fire risk building ASAP but students in same property have received 'no notice'

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Daniel O'Connor

Students who are to be forced to leave their accommodation at a premise in Dublin over fire safety concerns have said they “have no idea” if they will be forced to leave the property within the next month.

12 international students are currently living in the four bedroom basement of 24 Mountjoy Square in Dublin city centre, a building which has been deemed a potential fire safety danger.

The High Court heard yesterday in a dispute between the property’s owner, Christopher Singh, and the property’s receiver, Anne O’Dwyer of Duff & Phelps, that it would be agreed that the students would leave the property when their term ends in the middle of July.

It was also agreed that a family of eight would also leave their residence in the top floor of the building as soon as possible.

However, one student has told Independent.ie that none of the 12 students have yet been made that they may be forced to leave the property within the next month.

When asked about how they felt about having to leave by the end of term, one student said that it was the first any of the 12 residents had heard about it.

Cassio, originally from Brazil, has been staying in the Mountjoy Square basement for two months and said that they have been in minimal contact with any fire wardens or inspectors, and have not been made aware of anything that has been discussed in the High Court concerning their residence.

“We’re not sure about anything yet,” Cassio said. “We have had problems with the fire alarms… but no one has given us notice yet.”

“We’re just waiting for someone to answer us. I don’t know what’s going to happen here.”

Independent.ie was told that inspections have been carried out in the basement of 24 Mountjoy Square yesterday, one as recent as last week.

However, the students have not been told of any potential fire safety risks, or if the premise is currently safe to live in.

“We just discovered that something was happening when the first inspection happened last week,” Cassio said.

“I don’t know if it’s dangerous. I’ve never been in the situation so I don’t know what’s dangerous or not dangerous.

“We didn’t speak with the inspectors too much. They just asked us questions. Only the landlord answers us.”

Cassio plans to stay in Dublin until at least November when his visa expires. While he believes he may be able to secure alternative accommodation, he is concerned that his housemates may have trouble doing so.

“I have a friend which welcomed me in Dublin when I arrived here, but the rest of the people here I’m not sure. I don’t know what’s going to happen there”

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

As part of the arrangement between the property’s owner and receiver, fire wardens have been put in place to monitor the building 24 hours a day.

It was also agreed that the receiver would be making an undisclosed lump sum available to put towards the cost of the family living on the top floor securing new accommodation.

Residents of the building’s top floor refused to comment.

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