30 Priory Hall families to take loans for new homes
AROUND 30 of the Priory Hall families who were embroiled in a two-year battle over the 'firetrap' apartment complex are now set to sign on the dotted line for new homes.
It follows residents accepting a deal where the banks involved will write off the existing debts of owner occupiers and offer them new mortgages, where possible, to buy homes elsewhere.
Michael Dowling, a financial adviser with Abacus Finance, revealed one family has already made a deposit on a home, while another is purchasing the NAMA-owned house they are currently occupying.
"Eight are loan-approved, and it looks like around 30 of the residents will end up buying homes," said Mr Dowling, who helped many homeowners free of charge throughout their two-year debacle over their mortgages.
However, he pointed out the shortage of two and three-bedroom family homes – identified in recent property analysis – means up to three Priory Hall families have been turning up to view the same property.
Dr Martin McAleese agreed to oversee the implementation of the deal, which was finally reached after the Government set a 21-day deadline for talks between Dublin City Council, the Irish Banking Federation, NAMA, former residents and other stakeholders.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the residents had been victims of one of the "worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger era", over the complex built by former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely.
The Priory Hall residents have paid tribute to Stephanie Meehan, who wrote to Mr Kenny after the death by suicide of the father of her two children, Fiachra Daly.
They believe her bravery sparked the government decision to hold the last successful set of talks.
Many of the residents are continuing to look at their options, with some no longer qualifying for mortgages after losing jobs.
Mr Dowling explained that others were reluctant to take on the commitment of a loan at this point.
"Some want to walk away – they have had their fill of Priory Hall and are just going to transfer the property," he said. "Everyone will be looked after one way or the other."
Some are expected to stay in their alternative accommodation, with Dublin City Council continuing to pay for some of it up until next November.
A further 27 buy-to-let owners at Priory Hall have been given a two-year moratorium on mortgage payments pending the refurbishment of the complex.
Some €10m has been earmarked by the Department of Public Expenditure for the refurbishment of the Priory Hall apartment complex, which will be overseen by Dublin City Council.
Some 256 people, including 87 children, were evacuated from the complex in October 2011 after Dublin City Council declared Priory Hall a firetrap.
It was initially supposed to be for five weeks but the move resulted in 41 families being housed in temporary accommodation for two years, costing the council more than €3m.