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Ex-hunger striker's flats still don't meet fire safety standard

DUBLIN apartments built by an ex-IRA hunger striker are still not compliant with fire regulations -- with the deadline for the works now passed.

The homes, at Priory Hall, Donaghmede, are at the centre of a dispute between Coalport Building Company Ltd and Dublin City Council.

A meeting this week was attended by a company representative, city manager John Tierney, three councillors and some residents.

The 187-unit scheme was built by Coalport, which counts former H-Block hunger striker Tom McFeely (60) as a director.

Labour's Sean Kenny said the fire safety regulations were supposed to have been complied with by February 28.

However, residents at the meeting learned it would take at least another five to six weeks for the work to be completed.

Social housing tenants who had been placed in Priory Hall by the council were moved out before Christmas after it first emerged there were breaches of the fire safety rules. However, private owners of apartments continue to live there.

Mr Kenny, who was one of three councillors along with Tom Brabazon (FF) and Pat Crimmins (FG) to attend the meeting, said the underground car park was not in use "for fire safety reasons".

"All of the cars for the 180 apartments are sitting out on the road," he added. The council had originally issued Coalport with a notice to comply months ago. However, following an inspection last November, it was discovered that the remedial actions had not been carried out. The local authority then told tenants they would have to vacate their homes.

A later report by the council said Coalport stated in writing to Dublin Fire Brigade that it was committed to completing the necessary works. The works were then due to be completed by the end of February.

However Anthony McIntyre, of Coalport, admitted the original finish date for the works had been missed. He said they did not know at this stage when the job would be finished.

"The challenges in tackling it are greater than anticipated. Some of the work is very intricate," he added.

Tom McFeely spent 53 days on hunger strike in 1980. He served 12 years of a 26-year sentence in the Maze prison for a robbery and shooting.