Thursday 19 October 2017

Monitored fire alarm and 'on-call' help were in place in housing complex, says charity

Fiona Ryan, CEO of Sonas, at the scene of the apartment fire. Photo: Collins Dublin
Fiona Ryan, CEO of Sonas, at the scene of the apartment fire. Photo: Collins Dublin
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

A monitored fire alarm system was in place at the Cluainin Cronan housing complex in Clondalkin, the charity that operates the development has said.

The Sonas domestic violence charity said that support staff were on site between 9am and 5pm, and there was an 'on-call' service outside these hours.

A designated staff member was on call in the event of a serious incident, and there was also a monitored fire alarm system in place.

"Sonas also operates an out-of-hours maintenance service in the event of a property-related problem such as plumbing problems," it added.

Sonas is primarily funded by the child and family agency Tusla, and received €1.9m in 2015. Additional funding was received by local authorities including Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Wicklow county councils.

In 2015, it worked with 1,250 women and children, the highest figure since it was founded 23 years ago.

It operates 110 properties across Dublin at locations including Killester, Ranelagh, Clondalkin, Ringsend, Ballymun, Blanchardstown, Stepaside and Tallaght. It also has facilities in Wicklow.

They include refuges, short-term 'step down' facilities and longer-term accommodation for women and children who have endured domestic violence.

In 2015, it employed 40 people full time and also had a relief panel of up to 10 part-time staff in place.

Planning permission for the Cluainin Cronan housing complex was granted by South Dublin County Council in December 1999 to Sonas Housing Association. It opened in 2000 or 2001. The development includes six two-storey houses, and a three-storey block containing four apartments, a community room, office and central courtyard play area. Some 29 women and children are accommodated in the complex.

Asked about whether the development had undergone a fire safety inspection, chief executive of Sonas Fiona Ryan said all "processes and procedures are up to date".

"We're just dealing with this tragedy and the emotional impact on the other women and children too," she said.

Irish Independent

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