Irish News

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Priory Hall stress drove dad to suicide

Published 30/08/2013|05:00

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Fiachra Daly pictured with his wife Stephanie Meeham and their children Oisin [7] and Cerys [2]

A PRIORY Hall resident took his own life just a week after receiving payment demands from his bank, his partner has revealed.

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Heartbroken Stephanie Meehan said the stress and worry experienced by her partner Fiachra Daly "eventually took its toll".

Mr Daly, who campaigned on behalf of the 300 apartment residents who had to leave their homes, ended his life on July 15 at the age of 37.

Ms Meehan made the disclosure in a heart-rending letter to Enda Kenny, who she has asked to personally intervene in the plight of former residents of the condemned development in Donaghmede, Co Dublin. She told how his death deeply affected her and their children Oisin (7) and Cerys (2).

Criticising the lack of action on the Priory Hall saga, which has now dragged on for almost two years with no resolution, Ms Meehan said banks were still putting pressure on residents who were evacuated in October 2011 from the fire-trap apartments built by former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely.

“Fiachra was the happiest man on earth, he lived for myself, Oisin and Cerys, he never suffered from any form of mental illness or depression,” Stephanie said in her letter.

“That is up until the week prior to his death, when we received demands from banks, looking for payment of arrears on a property that we can't live in, asking us to fill out, yet again, forms to request an extension of our moratorium, all for a property we can't live in through no fault of our own,” she adds.

“The stress, the worry of not being able to provide a safe home for us, his young children, eventually took its toll.

“He hated the idea that he couldn't provide a safe home for us, that I do know, but I thought we'd battle through this together. How wrong was I?” Stephanie added.

“I now have no home, my children have no permanent home, but most importantly, I have no partner and my children have lost their wonderful dad.

“Our future, security and certainty changed the minute we were evacuated and not one thing has changed in two years.”

When residents were first evacuated from the complex they were told they would be back in their homes by Christmas 2011 after remedial works were carried out.

Dublin City Council had to pay for their temporary accommodation. But no works ever commenced beyond some inspections, but residents were told they would still have to pay their mortgages.

Dublin City Council contested their obligation to cover temporary accommodation costs in a legal wrangle, which is ongoing.

The council has paid out more than €3.1m handling the fallout from the Priory Hall controversy to date.

Residents argue that they cannot afford to pay mortgages on their Priory Hall homes and also cover the costs of alternative housing.

Ms Meehan was highly critical of developer Mr McFeely, who was declared bankrupt last year, meaning he is not in a position to fund works.

“Tom McFeely walks around scot-free, he'll never suffer how we are suffering, he'll never lose what I've lost.

“He'll start again, I am left with a lifetime of heartache and my children will inherit that too. Is there any justice in this country?” she said.

With brave determination, and a promise not to be silenced by her grief, Stephanie signed off the letter by saying: “I've lost Fiachra, but I've not lost my voice.”

Stephanie’s letter was released by Priory Hall residents on social media sites last night.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach’s office confirmed the letter had been received but it was not able to make a comment on the matter.

By Conor Feehan

Irish Independent

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