Sunday 22 April 2018

City Council bid to jail Priory Hall developer over breach of orders

Aoife Finneran

AN application by Dublin City Council to jail developer Thomas McFeely over breach of court orders will come before the courts next week.

However, a separate application by the council -- to be released from orders requiring it to fund accommodation, storage and rent differential costs of the 240 Priory Hall residents -- was refused by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns yesterday.

Residents were last month evacuated from the complex in Donaghmede, Co Dublin, amid serious fire safety concerns.

Last week, the judge directed Mr McFeely, his Coalport Building Company Ltd and 21 workers to leave Priory Hall after the council sought their removal over lack of progress in remedial works.

Conleth Bradley, for the council, had made the application to be released from orders requiring it to pay the residents' costs on the basis that the council's responsibility related only to fire safety and that it was for politicians to address what would happen to the residents.

But Mr Justice Kearns said that the council "had thrown a torpedo" into Priory Hall.

The council will now appeal the orders to the Supreme Court and Mr Justice Kearns refused to put any stay on the orders pending appeal, stressing that they should continue, pending further court orders.

Mr Justice Kearns agreed to adjourn until Thursday the council's application to jail Mr McFeely for breach of court orders. He also agreed to vary a freezing order on Mr McFeely's accounts to allow him to pay his lawyers and a fire safety consultant.

After the High Court hearing, Graham Usher, spokesman for the Priory Hall residents, issued a statement saying that "we wish to express our disappointment in Dublin City Council's decision to appeal the provision of temporary accommodation and we would ask them to reconsider".

Irish Independent

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