Irish News

Saturday 26 July 2014

Priory Hall owners 'happy' at plans

Published 09/10/2013|13:36

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Priory Hall in north Dublin has been branded one of the worst failures of the Celtic Tiger

Families who bought apartments in the condemned Priory Hall development are said to be "more than happy" with proposals to give them new homes.

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Owner-occupiers are believed to be about to accept a deal which will see their mortgages on their firetrap homes in north Dublin wiped. They will be pre-approved for new loans.

However, the owners of 27 investment properties are understood be disappointed with an offer to suspend all mortgage payments until the block is renovated by Dublin City Council, at a cost of 10 million euro (£8.5 million).

The Department of Environment has been asked for clarification on some of the issues which will affect buy-to-let investors before a decision is made.

"The owner-occupiers are more than happy with what's being offered," a source close to the negotiations said.

"The investors are a mixed group of people who have different interests.

"A number of queries were raised by them."

Built by bankrupt former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely in 2007, Priory Hall was branded one of the worst failures of the Celtic Tiger.

Some 256 people were evacuated from the complex in October 2011 after Dublin City Council declared Priory Hall a "fire trap".

The council was forced to foot the bill to re-home owners and the Supreme Court is to hear an appeal on who is responsible for rehousing residents.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan had claimed the new offers were a breakthrough in the long-running dispute that would give residents the chance to get on with their lives.

It is understood the complex will be refurbished by the council and the development will remain a mix of private and social housing, as per the original planning permission, and to the same specification as set out in court orders.

Owner-occupiers will not be forced to return to the complex and will be offered "debt forgiveness" on their mortgages.

Meanwhile, a moratorium on buy-to-let owners repaying mortgages on their apartments will remain in effect until the renovations are complete, a process expected to take two years.

Residents have been briefed on the offers, weeks after some banks who lent mortgages said they would consider debt write-downs on a case-by-case basis.

One former resident, Fiachra Daly, died by suicide in July. KBC Bank, which lent Mr Daly and his partner Stephanie Meehan a mortgage, has said it will not pursue her for any debt.

While the settlement offer was being put together in recent weeks 200,000 euro (£170,000) was discovered hidden under the bath in a mansion in Dublin's embassy belt, which Mr McFeely previously owned. The money has been frozen by the courts.

Press Association

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