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Priory Hall residents fear ruin in mortgage crisis

BELEAGUERED residents of Priory Hall are heading for a major mortgage crisis which they fear could plunge many families into financial ruin.

A letter sent on behalf of the residents of the Dublin apartment complex to Taoiseach Enda Kenny has urged him to step in and assist the families in their ongoing ordeal.

A total of 256 residents had to leave their homes because of fire safety concerns in October.

The letter points out that it is now nearly three months since the residents were evacuated from their homes and forced to stay in emergency accommodation.

It accuses the Government of ignoring their plight -- and the relevant minister, Phil Hogan, of refusing to meet with the residents.

"Dublin City Council (DCC) are going to the Supreme Court on January 19 to seek to overturn the High Court order on our accommodation expenses. The result will mean the residents of Priory Hall will be faced with a life-changing decision -- defaulting on our mortgages and renting privately, or being homeless and continuing to pay mortgages on homes we cannot live in," says the letter.

The letter also emphasises the trauma for residents of having to leave a complex "which could have burned down in minutes", according to evidence given in court.

It also states that homeowners and their families, children included, spent every Friday for five weeks in the High Court.

Eventually, Justice Kearns sentenced developer Tom McFeely to a period of imprisonment, plus a €1m fine, but following a Supreme Court appeal he was freed.

The letter states the residents have asked DCC why they decided to pursue the developer through the High Court for five weeks but then not turn up to the subsequent appeal in the Supreme Court.

"Maybe, Taoiseach, you could find out the answer as we have not been able to get an answer.

"Can you imagine how we felt, totally let down again by DCC. We were left homeless and the developer responsible for putting our lives at risk goes home to his €15m home in Ailesbury Road,'' the letter adds.

"We stand outside the Dail every Tuesday since leaving our homes protesting with our parents, family and friends, asking for help from our Government.

"The same Government who promised accountability and change before the election."

However, a reply on behalf of the Taoiseach's office said the letter had been passed on to Minister Phil Hogan.

Irish Independent