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Enda Kenny urged to help resolve plight of residents in 'fire risk' complex

Published 30/09/2015

Enda Kenny called for talks to resolve the safety problems which could see families evicted
Enda Kenny called for talks to resolve the safety problems which could see families evicted

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been called on to ask a developer to stump up the four million euro required to solve deadly fire hazards in an apartment complex.

More than 600 residents, including families, face the threat of being homeless if fire chiefs order their evacuation from Longboat Quay in Sir John Rogerson's Quay in the Dublin docklands.

The complex of almost 300 apartments was developed by Bernard McNamara in 2006.

Each owner has been told to come up with 18,000 euro in less than a week to fix the fire traps and defects in the original build which include creating firewalls in areas susceptible to the spread of fire.

The scandal has echoes of the Priory Hall complex in north Dublin which was developed by former IRA member Thomas McFeely and is being repaired at a cost of 27m euro after being condemned.

Mr Kenny said it was years since he had spoken to Mr McNamara, who declared bankruptcy in London in 2012 with debts of more than one billion euro.

"Because of the rush to cut corners and the rush to make money people now find themselves, years afterwards having paid very good money, having mortgaged themselves for that, that the house they live in is a fire trap," Mr Kenny said.

"This is grossly unacceptable. It's not an easy situation to sort out now."

The Taoiseach said he wanted talks involving Dublin City Council and Environment Minister Alan Kelly on the Longboat Quay scandal.

One of the most serious faults with the complex is a lack of fire-stopping material in walls to create blocks and breaks if a blaze breaks out.

Inadequate fire alarms have been changed and fire wardens have spent months on site monitoring halls, stairwells and communal areas for fires 24/7.

It is understood a deadline for the rest of the fire safety works is tomorrow.

Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Fein deputy leader, called on the Taoiseach to contact Mr McNamara and put him under pressure to foot the repair bill.

She described the plight of Longboat Quay residents as "dire, stressful and utterly unacceptable".

"The last thing this city and this state needs is up to 900 more people evacuated from their homes," she said.

Residents in the complex include some people who bought apartments under the affordable homes scheme, others who paid 250-600,000 euro for a home and at least one person who bought a property during an Allsop-Space auction.

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority, which was involved in the Longboat project, has already paid more than 1m euro in fixing defects.

Mr McNamara, originally from Clare, was a major player in development circles.

He bought into hotels but his biggest venture was being part of the controversial purchase of the old Irish Glass Bottle site near the Dublin docklands for more than 400m euro.

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