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Monday 18 December 2017

More issues emerge at controversial development

Mark Hilliard

TWO unpublished reports on the controversial Priory Hall development are expected to list further serious concerns relating to gas fixtures, electrics, drainage and structural problems.

Pressure is mounting on Dublin City Council to release the documents as stranded residents prepare to move into NAMA-owned properties on a temporary basis from tomorrow.

However, it is likely the reports will only become available if they are filed as part of ongoing High Court proceedings against developers Tom McFeely and Larry O'Mahony.

Some 249 residents have been moved since the building was evacuated earlier this month.

Tenants staying in temporary hotel accommodation have been offered NAMA properties, although they are still waiting to be given actual addresses.

Further meetings tomorrow are expected to reveal these locations.

"We don't actually know (where we will be moving to) -- they have just said you might be put here or there but we haven't been sat down," said Niall O'Reilly, who had been living at Priory Hall with fiancee Rosaleen Finglas.

"People are fed up at this stage. The main thing is that we will all have to move back into an unsafe building."

There is little confidence that the ongoing works will render the structure completely safe, even if it falls in line with High Court orders.

"Long-term, like with everyone who bought at the height of the Celtic Tiger, it was to use it as a starter home, but what do you do now?" asked Mr O'Reilly.

Worthless

"There is a mortgage there for 30 years and you will never sell it. That is what everyone is facing now, sleeping in hotels. They are worthless."

The Dublin City Council commissioned report on construction standards by the engineering consultant Hayes Higgins Partnership is understood to contain further damning revelations. On top of this, a building control report by the council was also undertaken.

Last night, councillors Tom Brabazon, Micheal Mac Donncha and Brian McDowell called on officials to release the reports so that developers Coalport can be held fully accountable.

Dublin City Council said it could not comment on speculation surrounding the contents, given the High Court action.

Residents believe that despite intense publicity surrounding fire-safety failings at Priory Hall, there are countless other structural defects to be addressed.

The Irish Independent understands that concrete samples from the building have been sent to the UK for testing as part of the detailed inspection.

Many of those who own their apartments are reluctant to return, believing that the extent of shortfalls in building standards, coupled with ongoing publicity, has effectively rendered the properties worthless.

Some have suggested they be completely demolished and rebuilt.

Poor electrics and drainage are expected to be highlighted along with other problems like badly wired fire alarms and a lack of cut-off valves for gas boilers in some apartments.

Irish Independent

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