Wednesday 21 February 2018

McAleese steps down as chairman of Priory Hall group

Mary and Dr Martin McAleese
Mary and Dr Martin McAleese

Sam Griffin

The husband of the former President Mary McAleese has stepped down as chairman of a board set up to implement changes at the fire-trap Priory Hall apartment complex.

Dr Martin McAleese said his position on the Priory Hall Implementation Oversight Group had become "untenable" after he and his wife became victims of the latest fire-safety scandal to hit a Celtic Tiger-era housing development.

As revealed in yesterday's Irish Independent, the McAleese's own an apartment at the Longboat Quay complex, which now faces evacuation.

But the former senator was appointed to the oversight board by the Taoiseach in October 2013. His appointment followed a two year battle by residents after they had been evacuated from the complex, which was built by developer Tom McFeely.

Dr McAleese was charged with ensuring that a raft of measures, which had been agreed to address the problems there, were properly implemented.

However, he resigned after his ownership of an apartment at the Longboat Quay complex emerged. The McAleese's reportedly paid €1.2m for two apartments in 2006.

The couple transferred ownership of one of the apartments to Sara McAleese a year ago.


"As owner of a property at Longboat Quay which is currently facing issues in relation to fire safety, I feel that the parallels with Priory Hall render my position as independent chair of the Priory Hall Implementation Oversight Group untenable," Dr McAleese said in a statement.

"I have tendered my resignation to the Office of the Taoiseach with immediate effect. I wish the group the very best as it proceeds towards full implementation of the resolution framework that we have worked hard to develop over the last two years."

The Priory Hall Implementation Oversight Group was set up after an agreement was reached between residents of Priory Hall following talks with Dublin City Council, various banks and the Department of Environment.

It included representatives of the Priory Hall residents, the Irish Banking Federation, the council and relevant government departments.

The Resolution Framework that had been agreed included that ownership of owner-occupier homes in Priory Hall would be transferred to Dublin City Council.

The framework also stated that owner-occupiers would have a 12-month period in which to complete purchase of a home and that the council would continue to provide rented accommodation to owner-occupiers.

The group also had to provide a mechanism to ensure that the process of delivering mortgages for owner-occupiers was done in a fair manner, and completing the refurbishment.

Irish Independent

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