Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

New building rules to be unveiled

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said the rules will protect homeowners from 'unscrupulous' builders

Plans to prevent future shoddy developments such as Dublin's notorious Priory Hall complex are to be unveiled next week.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said the rules will protect homeowners from "unscrupulous" builders - avoiding a repeat of the nightmare endured by 300 residents who were forced to give up their homes at the northside firetrap.

Mr Hogan said: "We will be publishing new regulations in the next week to ensure that the likes of Priory Hall will not happen in the future. It will certainly minimise the opportunity for unscrupulous builders and developer professionals to allow consumers to be treated this way in the future."

Priory Hall residents were forced to abandon their homes almost a year and half ago after authorities deemed the apartment complex unsafe to live in.

Some 65 families affected are still living in temporary accommodation as a mediation process with Dublin City Council and the involved financial institutions continues.

The former residents have claimed they are living in limbo and saddled with mortgages for a home they cannot live in due to serious safety defects.

Council tenants in the botched complex, built by bankrupt developer Tom McFeely, were the first to be evacuated from the building.

The remainder, including private residents with mortgages, were ordered to leave in October 2011.

The Environment Minister insisted the Government had not forgotten those affected and that his department would continue to provide financial support to them through Dublin City Council.

Mr Hogan said: "They are not being ignored by me. There is certainly an impatience and frustration on behalf of the residents. It's understandable."

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