Priory Hall families can't get home for Christmas
IT's not the Christmas present Priory Hall residents were hoping for -- but at least they've been told their temporary accommodation bill will be paid until the new year.
One of the families ordered to evacuate their home by the courts after it was deemed a fire hazard is doing its best to celebrate Christmas for the children's sake.
Stephanie Meehan (34) and her partner Fiachra Daly (37), along with Oisin (6) and nine-month-old Cerys, only bought a Christmas tree and presents for their temporary abode last week -- a NAMA property in the Belmayne estate in Coolock/Balgriffin, north Dublin.
"We are trying to make it a home from home," Ms Meehan said.
"After a lot of debating -- as Oisin is six and in senior infants and all his friends were talking about Christmas -- we went out and bought a Christmas tree and got our decorations out of Priory Hall.
"The brochure just advertised an idyllic place with a new park across the way, my parents are five minutes away, school is five minutes and I work 10 minutes away.
"It was the perfect location and it has turned out to be the perfect nightmare."
In 2005, the family spent €296,000 on a two-bedroom duplex property.
Yesterday, there was no answer at developer Tom McFeely's home on Ailesbury Road in Dublin 4, where a Christmas tree was sparkling in the window.
He is mounting a legal challenge against a three-month prison sentence and €1m fine for failing to carry out safety works to make the apartments habitable.
The 187-apartment complex was evacuated on October 17. The majority of owner/occupiers of Priory Hall have been moved into NAMA or voluntary housing, while around seven families remain in hotel accommodation.
Some 256 people were evacuated in total, with the bill for repair works estimated at €7.3m.
Residents only learned this week that Dublin City Council had committed to paying their alternative accommodation bill until February 3 -- by which time the cost will have climbed to €700,000.
But the future still remains uncertain as Dublin City Council is taking its appeal to the Supreme Court on January 19 to contest the High Court order to pay the alternative accommodation costs of Priory residents.
Graham Usher, an apartment owner and spokesman for Priory Hall residents, said the families would face defaulting on their mortgages if they were forced to rent privately and pay their mortgages. He said residents were calling on the Government to intervene with a potential solution to the long-term future of their homes.
"It is pretty difficult to make any plans," Mr Usher said. "It is a desperate situation. We are living week to week, month to month."
After spending several nights in the Regency Hotel and Bewley's Hotel, Ms Meehan's family was provided with their accommodation in the NAMA-property in Belmayne, not far from Priory Hall.