14 October, 2011

Now I'm pissed off

My sister, along with her husband and my gorgeous niece, live in Priory Hall, Donaghmede.  Today a judge ordered that her apartment building is so dangerously built that she, and everyone else in the complex (137 of the 187 units are occupied) must evacuate by Monday!
The apartment complex was so badly built that a fire, should one start, would rip through the entire complex in minutes.  Think Towering Inferno only not so tall.
Now, what I don't understand is . . I'll give you a list:

  • Who signed off on that Building?  Which Architectural firm were responsible for this building?  I worked in an Architect's office for many years and I can remember  the i's that had to be dotted and t's that had to be crossed for South Dublin County Council.  I can remember lots and lots of information that I absorbed via osmosis about Fire Regs.  So, my question is. who were the Architects responsible for this building's non compliance with Fire Regulations?
  • Who, from Dublin City Council signed off on this building?  Someone must have.  Again, from what I know and remember, some Officer within Dublin City Council was responsible for seeing that this development was compliant with Current Building/Fire Regulations.  Who are they and why aren't they being named?  And HOW in God's name did a Planning Official not see what I saw when I did the snag for Fiona?  Jesus, I'm not an Architect but even I had concerns (and I did voice them) regarding Public Lobbies and Fire Doors.  I had issues with the stairs and the lift.  I had problems with ventilation and the fact that there wasn't one right-angle in the place.
  • Who, in Bord Gais, signed off on this building?  According to the leaked reports pipes aren't bedded in properly and are liable to be punctured should you try and put up shelves etc.
  • Ditto ESB.
  • WHY have remedial works, ordered in 2009, not been carried out?  Did Dublin City Council simply say 'you must fix this building it's unsafe' and then file and forget it??  In 2009 the Fire Officer ordered remedial works be carried out.  Here I am, typing in 2011, telling you that nothing has been done.
My sister, and many like her, bought these apartments in good faith and instead they have been left living in a development that has never been completed (roads were never brought up to level etc).  A building which is unsafe to live in.  It's structurally sound insofar as it's standing but it's a fire trap.  
A fire trap that several people have signed off on.  So, to me, several people appear not to have done their jobs properly.  Because several people didn't do their jobs properly everyone who lives in those buildings are going to be homeless come Monday.  Equally, if not more so, galling is the fact that the shysters that are responsible for this development didn't even have the decency to be in the country for the hearing.  One's in Portugal and the other in the UK.
A great friend of mine once worked in a Solicitors office in the city and whilst there she worked for a wonderful Solicitor (I know she's wonderful because she looked after my parents Will).  This Solicitor once said of the apartments that were being flung up all over the city at the time (c.1992) that these apartments were the tenements of the future.  She was right.

An RTE report reads as follows:
The High Court has ordered the evacuation of an apartment complex in Dublin because of serious concerns about fire safety.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns put a stay on his order until Monday, but ordered the fire service to maintain a presence at the complex over the weekend.
He said it was as grave a matter as he had ever seen in any court case.
The judge froze the assets of the developers until further notice and ordered that the papers in the case be sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions before close of business today.
Dublin City Council had asked the High Court to evacuate the complex.
Fire Officer Donal Casey told the court that because of defects in the external walls of the Priory Hall complex in Donaghmede, fire could spread through an entire block within minutes.
Mr Casey also said the entire external wall of the development would have to be removed to fix the most serious problems. He said that part of the work would take around a month to complete.
He said a schedule of remedial works was originally agreed with the developers in December 2009 but it was never carried out.
There are 137 units occupied in the 187-unit development, which was built by development company Coalport Building Company.
Neither of the company's directors - Thomas McFeely and Lawrence O'Mahony - were in court.
A solicitor told High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns that Mr O'Mahony was in the UK and Mr McFeely was on his way back from Portugal.
Mr Justice Kearns asked what would happen to the owners and occupiers of the apartments. He said they were completely blameless.
He said it was extraordinary that Mr O'Mahony and Mr McFeely were not in the jurisdiction and had not given instructions to their solicitor.
Mr Justice Kearns has asked lawyers for Dublin City Council to find out what accommodation can be provided to those who will have to leave their homes. The judge said this was a very, very serious emergency.
He said he was disposed to grant the order sought by the city council but defer it until Monday.
However, the judge said he would be asking the Dublin Fire Brigade to maintain a presence at the development until Monday.
He said he did not want residents to be panicked or terrified. He added that they were being asked to pay an incredible penalty for something they had no control over.


  1. This is an ABSOLUTE disgrace.. I have no words to convey my anger for the situation of these people in Priory Hall, another example of companies making a quick buck from the property buyer, fucking boils my blood, I hope these people unite and do not take this lying down.. a disgrace... shame on you who took advantage of these people, shame on you