No one can afford €7m repair bill at Priory Hall
Published 22/12/2011 | 05:00
THE three parties involved in the attempts to repair the ill-fated Priory Hall apartments have all said they cannot afford to pay the €7.3m bill.
Dublin City Council has calculated it will cost €39,000 per apartment to put the building right -- but the council, the residents, and builder Tom McFeely, all say they have no cash to pay for the works.
It now appears the work won't be carried out unless the council or the Department of the Environment agrees to pay the €7.3m bill.
Currently no repair work is being carried out at the Donaghmede block, residents said yesterday.
The 257 residents are being forced to spend Christmas and the new year in hotels and rental accommodation.
Expressing shock at the huge bill to bring the unsafe apartment complex up to standard, the Priory Hall Residents Association said it could not afford to pay.
"We have already paid for our homes once," it said in a statement. "We cannot afford to pay again for the failure of others. We are shocked at the size of the initial estimate and the scale of the defects to our homes.
"None of the homeowners are in a position to pay the huge costs involved in rebuilding our homes."
Developer Tom McFeely also says he does not have the funds to make the dangerous complex safe.
Mr McFeely claimed that he could not fund the works as his accounts were currently frozen.
In the High Court last month, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said the council must address the situation at Priory Hall "as a matter of extreme urgency".
The council has an interest in 26 of the 187 apartments and said it wanted to meet with other owners and financial institutions to "try and facilitate the refurbishment of the complex".
But repair work has still not started and residents said yesterday they still had no idea when it was going to commence.
Darren Kelly, spokesman for the residents' association, stressed that it was not in a position to borrow the €39,000 referred to in the council statement.
Last month, the High Court heard from Dublin City Council that work to fix the serious fire-safety problems was not progressing.
The court instructed Mr McFeely to cease work and to remove all his workers from Priory Hall.
"No work has been done since then," Mr Kelly told the Irish Independent yesterday. "We don't know who is going to pay for the work. We want Environment Minister Phil Hogan to step in with concrete proposals."
The council's appeal against orders requiring it to pay the accommodation costs of Priory Hall residents is in for mention in the Supreme Court on January 19.
The council said it would continue to pay the residents' accommodation expenses until February 3 next.
To date, €570,000 has been spent on accommodation and other services for the residents from Priory Hall. An additional €135,000 is likely to be spent by the start of February.