Belfast Telegraph

Cover-up claim over blaze risk

City authorities have been accused of a scandalous cover-up over fire hazards at hundreds of apartments in north Dublin.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins claimed Dublin City Council and developers lied about the issue when they discovered blaze risks at the Belmayne development in Balgriffin.

Around 100 residents were told this week they will have to leave their homes while repairs are carried out. In a similar scenario, residents from nearby development Priory Hall were moved out of their homes before Christmas, while fire safety defects had to be corrected. They have not yet returned.

"For a full year there has been a cover-up by Dublin City Council of scandalous breaches of fire safety regulations in Belmayne," said Mr Higgins in the Dail.

Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan had repeated information given to her by the council that the issue of fire hazards first arose in January, he said.

Mr Higgins alleged the information was a "blatant lie", claiming the Dublin chief fire officer held a meeting with residents informing them of the dangers in March 2011. "This problem, these serious issues were unveiled and acknowledged, a fire officer saw the full extent of the problem," he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny advised Mr Higgins to take his allegations to Dublin City Council directly. "If there is a cover-up here and you are prepared to repeat your assertions outside this house with Dublin City Council, then Dublin City Council I'm quite sure will answer you," said Mr Kenny.

The Taoiseach compared the situation to Priory Hall, where serious fire safety defects have left some apartment owners worried they could lose their homes forever.

Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely was declared bankrupt by a court in London last month.

"I feel for the tenants who have to leave Belmayne for a number of days to get this matter rectified," said Mr Kenny. "I also feel for the tenants of Priory Hall whose apartments were constructed by a now bankrupt developer."

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