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Priory families hit by shortage in homes hunt


 Former Priory hall resident Stephanie Meehan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Former Priory hall resident Stephanie Meehan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Former Priory hall resident Stephanie Meehan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

A SHORTAGE of family homes is proving a fresh challenge for former Priory Hall residents.

In some instances, up to three ex-homeowners are turning up to view the same properties as they attempt to move on from the death-trap apartments built by Tom McFeely.

Around 30 families who were embroiled in a two-year battle over the apartments complex are now set to sign on the dotted line for new homes.

It follows residents accepting a deal where the banks involved agreed to write off the existing debts of owner-occupiers and offer them new mortgages, where possible, to buy alternative homes elsewhere.



Michael Dowling, a financial adviser with Abacus Finance, revealed one family has already made a deposit on a home, while another is purchasing the NAMA-owned house they are currently occupying.

"Eight are loan-approved, and it looks like around 30 of the residents will end up buying homes," added Mr Dowling, who helped many homeowners free of charge throughout their two-year battle over their mortgages at Priory Hall.

But the shortage of two and three-bedroom houses on the market in Dublin has created a new problem for former residents of the complex – they are competing for new homes to move into.

And many of the people affected are continuing to look at their options, with some no longer qualifying for mortgages after losing their jobs.

Dr Martin McAleese agreed to oversee the implementation of the debt deal, which was reached after the Government set a 21-day deadline for talks between Dublin City Council, the Irish Banking Federation, NAMA, former residents and other stakeholders.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the residents had been victims of one of the "worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger era" because of the complex built by former IRA hunger striker McFeely. The Priory Hall families have previously paid tribute to Stephanie Meehan, who wrote to Mr Kenny after the death by suicide of the father of her two children, Fiachra Daly.



They believe her bravery sparked the Government's decision to hold the talks.

But Mr Dowling explained that many former Priory Hall residents were reluctant to take on the commitment of another loan at this point.

Some are expected to stay in their alternative accommodation, with Dublin City Council continuing to pay for some of it up until next November. A further 27 buy-to-let owners at Priory Hall have been given a two-year moratorium on mortgage payments, pending the refurbishment of the complex.

A figure of €10m has been earmarked by the Department of Public Expenditure for the refurbishment of the Priory Hall apartment development, which will be overseen by Dublin City Council.

Some 256 people, including 87 children, were evacuated from the complex in October 2011 after Dublin City Council declared it a firetrap.