Thursday 17 October 2019

Let residents stay in homes while fire safety work goes on, engineer tells court

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Richard Hedderman
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Richard Hedderman
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Residents ordered to leave their homes because of fire safety concerns may be able to stay in the properties while remedial works take place, a court report reveals.

Up to 63 people, including 15 children, living in three north inner city buildings were told they had to leave their homes after Dublin City Council secured temporary injunctions on September 5. It followed damning reports by an assistant chief fire officer.

However, the vast majority of residents at 100, 101 and 104 Seville Place, which are divided into flats and bedsits, have defied the orders, saying they have nowhere else to go because of the housing crisis.

Now, a chartered engineer retained by the residents of number 101 to conduct an expert fire safety assessment has concluded that the property is "reasonably safe from a fire safety perspective".

In a report submitted to the High Court, Karl Searson, of Searson Associates Consulting Engineers, also said that it would not be necessary for the property to be vacated in order for remedial works to be carried out.

The residents of number 101, represented by solicitor Herbert Kilcline, want the order in respect of their property varied so that they can continue living there while works take place.

Mr Searson's report is expected to be considered when the matter returns to the court today.

It is understood assistant chief fire officer Richard Hedderman has rejected Mr Searson's findings.

Dublin City Council is expected to seek to have the temporary orders made permanent at the hearing.

In his report, Mr Searson made several recommendations regarding remedial works.

He also recommended a ban on smoking and that the occupants agree not to use matches, tea lights, scented candles, cigarette lighters, curling tongs and chip pans.

At a previous hearing, the court heard the residents of numbers 100 and 104, were also opposed to the orders. They have been seeking to retain legal representation.

Irish Independent

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