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Thursday 21 August 2014

Taoiseach offers Priory Hall talks

Published 10/09/2013 | 15:36

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks to former Priory Hall resident Stephanie Meehan at a public event in Baldoyle, Dublin, in May last year

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is willing to meet former residents of the disastrous Priory Hall apartment complex.

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As pressure mounts on the Government to help residents challenge the banks about their mortgages at the condemned firetrap, the Taoiseach said he wants to prove his administration can stand up for ordinary people.

Mr Kenny also noted the recent "tragedy" involving a former Priory Hall resident, whose partner claimed he took his own life following the stress of being evacuated from the north Dublin building two years ago.

"The Priory Hall situation was the epitome of the worst of what happened during the Celtic Tiger years," Mr Kenny said.

"Where financial institutions lashed out money and developers were allowed, without restraint or without examination, to build what effectively were firetraps in this case.

"This is not acceptable. I've made it clear the Government is going to do something about this."

Despite claims from Environment Minister Phil Hogan that he could not meet the former residents due to an ongoing legal process, Mr Kenny said he would be willing to.

He also compared them to victims of the Troubles.

"I don't have any objection to meeting residents," Mr Kenny said.

"I have met people from east Fermanagh, I have met with people from Enniskillen, the survivors of the Kingsmill massacre."

He added that the Government will make a decision about Priory Hall and what it can do for residents, but that it would "take time to put that together".

Some 65 families were forced to move out of the complex in Donaghmede in October 2011 after experts deemed it a fire hazard and a string of construction defects were found.

Fiachra Daly, a former resident, took his own life in July.

His partner Stephanie Meehan said he had been under stress following the evacuation from their home.

Mortgage lender KBC Bank recently dropped plans to pursue the bereaved mother-of-two for almost 17,000 euro.

She claimed she received a letter from the bank about being in arrears days after she publicly revealed Mr Daly had taken his own life.

She said the letter stated she still owed 16,803 euro even after a life insurance policy paid the balance of the mortgage.

The bank later confirmed it would not pursue the remaining balance.

The Taoiseach said it was appropriate he refer to the tragedy of Mr Daly's death on World Suicide Prevention Day.

Press Association

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