Monday 18 December 2017

Fire risk Dublin property must be vacated by July 9

The Four Courts, Dublin
The Four Courts, Dublin

Aodhan O'Faolain

THE High Court has ordered that a Dublin property - described as a potential fire safety risk - be vacated by July 9.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan made the orders in relation to 24 Mountjoy Square which was subject of a fire safety notice since August of last year.

The order was made after he heard objections from a Polish family of 12 who wanted to remain and did not want to end up in B&B accommodation.

However, the judge said while he sympathised with the family, who were "innocent parties",  the court "could not sit idly by" in regards to a fire safety issue.

The judge said the family, and up to a dozen students who had been living in a windowless basement, had to vacate the premises.

Last March, Anne O'Dwyer of Duff & Phelps,was appointed receiver over the property which is owned by Christopher Singh of Lisnacree, Castleknock Road, Castleknock, Dublin, and is used by his company, TWI Textile Machinery and Fabric Company Ltd.

She brought proceedings aimed at securing vacant possession of the property, on grounds including that the fire safety notice has not been complied with and the property poses a fire safety risk.

The matter had been before the court on a number of occasions.

On Friday, Nevan Powell Bl said the receiver was prepared on a humanitarian basis to make money available to aid the family secure alternative accommodation.

Karen Denning Bl , for the city council, said that following a recent inspection by a fire safety officer, her client's positions remains that the building is not suitable for use as accommodation.

Counsel also confirmed the family living at the premises were not tenants of council, but were on its housing list.

Gerard Murphy Bl, representing the Piela family who lived in an apartment on the third floor, said the Polish family have been living there for the last number of years.

Counsel said the family were concerned about the disruption any move would have on them especially as they have two children in local schools and are settled in the area.

The were also concerned from media reports about being put in emergency B&B accommodation.

Vincent P Martin Bl, for Mr Singh, said substantial works had been carried out  on the property by a fire safety expert hired by his client.

It was accepted the council was not satisfied with what had been done, counsel said

Mr Justice Gilligan said that in light of the fire safety notice remaining in place, the building had to be vacated and could not be used as accommodation.

He was placing a stay on the order requiring the residents to vacate the property till July 9.

The businesses could continue to operate from the building until the matter returns before the court, he said.

Fire wardens which were put in place by the court last week to monitor the building 24 hours a day are to remain on site until July 9, he said.

The judge also adjourned the balance of the receiver's proceedings, in which she seeks an order for possession of the entire building, to a date in July. 

Mr Singh is opposing that application and argues that her appointment is invalid.

The court also heard that Mr Singh hopes to raise funds which he will use to pay off what is owed to the Kenmare Property Finance which appointed the receiver over a €489,000 debt.

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