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Monday 20 November 2017

Calls to remove Grenfell Tower-type cladding installed in Cork County Council headquarters

'I believe this should be done post-haste, let’s get on with it' - says councillor

Cork County Hall
Cork County Hall

Daniel O'Connor

Calls are being made to remove Grenfell Tower- type cladding which is currently installed in the headquarters of Cork County Council.

The cladding is identical to that used in the Grenfell Tower block where at least 79 people died almost two weeks ago.

Independent.ie understands that Cork County councillors were emailed last night to notify them that the cladding was installed around the exterior of the second floor of County Hall, the floor that contains the main council chamber.

However, they were assured that the cladding currently imposes no increased risk of danger.

In an email seen by Independent.ie, councillors were told "the Council’s Facilities Manager and Chief Fire Officer have reviewed the matter and having regard to the limited extent of the use of the panel, the nature of the use of the building and the fire safety measures installed, the use of the panelling meets all fire safety requirements and does not pose any increased risk to the users of the building."

Cork County Council has since commissioned a report investigating the nature of its installation, and says further action will be taken should the investigation raise any concerns.

The cladding was installed during a €62m refurbishment of the 17-storey County Hall which was finished in 2006.

Named Reynobond Aluminum Composite Material, this cladding is being blamed for the quick spread of flames, which resulted in a fire that destroyed the 24-storey Grenfell tower block in Norrh Kensington, London.

The current death toll from the fire currently stands at 79 and is expected to rise considerably.

Despite reassurances from the council, Fine Gael councillor Derry Canty says that the cladding should still be removed as soon as possible.

"I think the best thing for everybody is to remove it," Cllr. Canty said. 

"If it’s there, it’s left there and everyone is just worrying about it.

"We’re only in there for meetings but you have staff sitting in there all day. I believe this should be done post-haste, let’s get on with it."

However, one Independent councillor, Marcia D’Alton, said she has no concerns about continuing to meet in the building, insisting that she has confidence in the fire safety measures being taken.

"Honestly, I’ve don’t have any concerns. We have been ensured the building has been incredibly well kitted out with sprinklers and the necessary fire precautions," Cllr. D’Alton said.

"I know the extent to which the building has been electronically modified. It is an incredibly well finished building so I genuinely believe the council when they say the precautions being made are adequate."

Cork County Council says it currently has a number of comprehensive fire safety measures installed, including sprinkler protection, automatic smoke ventilation, detection and an electronic alarm system.

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