Sunday 28 December 2014

Stephanie gave fellow residents chance of new life

Published 27/08/2014 | 00:51

The Priory Hall development in north Dublin. Photo: PA
The Priory Hall development in north Dublin. Photo: PA

AROUND 20 former Priory Hall families have now entered or are on the verge of signing up for new mortgage deals – nearly three years after they were evacuated from the death trap apartments.

The chance for a fresh-start is largely thanks to the actions of brave Stephanie Meehan, who began her campaign for justice for some 250 stricken residents after the tragic death of her partner Fiachra Daly in July 2013.

It was Stephanie’s open letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny about the residents’ plight which  paved the way for a State intervention. A new deal, accepted by the residents in October last year, quickly followed.

The government proposals ultimately resulted in Dublin City Council taking ownership of some 68 owner-occupier mortgages – with all the crippling debt linked to the now worthless apartments written-off.

The deal meant many residents could put the nightmare behind them and make a fresh start in a new home.

Mortgages

Michael Dowling, who advised residents during the complex negotiations, told the Irish Independent that around 20 families have now entered into new mortgages.

“The vast majority have moved into new homes in the Dublin 5 and Dublin 13 areas. For a lot of these people, this was always home to them. They wanted to say in North Dublin  and start afresh,” he explained.

Sadly however, the remainder have not entered into new mortgage deals – for a variety of reasons, according to Michael –  which sheds further light on the devastating toll Priory Hall has taken on so many.

“Some just don’t qualify for mortgages. Maybe their work circumstances have changed or relationships may have broken down. Others don’t want another mortgage again. The market is obviously very difficult now,” Michael explained.

The state deal also secured the redevelopment of the Priory Hall complex, to be funded in part by disgraced developer Tom McFeely, and a freeze on any repayments owed as well as an overhaul of building regulations here.

The final stage of the agreement, a commitment to drop all legal proceedings, occurred earlier this month when the Supreme Court withdrew 2011 orders imposed by the High Court.

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