09 October, 2013

My sister. My sister and Priory Hall.

This is the story of my sister.  My sister and me, and our ma and da and brother too.  Mostly though, it’s about my sister.

She bought an apartment in Priory Hall back in 2007 or 2008, I can’t remember when I just know she paid €325,000 for it.  I advised her to not buy it and to lose her €10k deposit but, because I am her sister she didn’t listen to me.  But that’s who we are.  We each think we know more than the other.
Where do my brother and parents come into this?  Well, we three are unfortunate enough to be orphans.  If one can be an orphan at our age.  Our mother died in 1997 and our dad in 2004.  All they had to leave us was a house in Sandymount.  The house was nothing special, it required a lot of work, but it was in Sandymount and therefore it sold in March 2006 for a truly wonderful sum.  I used my share to buy my house, Fiona used hers to buy a house here, go travelling and have a lot of fun.  As you do when you are 30.  My brother, well, he lent my sister money to help her buy the place here, he travelled the world and is now happily married in Brazil.
My sister.  I babysat for her tonight.  Her daughter Dilan has a cold and is bloody miserable.  Her husband is currently visiting family in Turkey.  She’s here alone.  So, tonight I babysat for her.  She was on a bit of a buzz going out.  She was going to a meeting to find out what the final outcome of Priory Hall was going to be for her and the other residents.  As she left she said “enough to pay Eoin back and buy a small house here (I’ve been looking in Balbriggan, Finglas and Meath) and . . . yeah, that’s all.  It will be finished.”
She came home an hour or so ago.  It has taken an hour or so to help her stop crying.  It has taken an hour to get to the bottom of how that meeting went.  An hour to work out why my sister was hysterical.
This is the story of the outcome of Priory Hall for both my sister and the other owners of apartments in Priory Hall.

·         If you bought an apartment in Priory Hall and have a mortgage, and can afford to continue to make mortgage repayments, you get a brand new 100% mortgage and the old mortgage is killed off.  You can buy a house wherever you fancy.  This really is good news.  However,  this doesn’t apply to my sister, she never had to get a mortgage.  She inherited money , borrowed some too, she owns her house outright AND lived in it.

·         If you have a mortgage but can’t make the payments you are entitled to a state owned house (council housing in other words) for which you pay a nominal rent.  You, to some degree, have a say in what area you would like to live.  You will never own this property, your children will never inherit it and, I assume, you can’t sell it and move somewhere else during your lifetime.  The house effectively dies with you.  You also sign away your apartment in Priory Hall to Dublin City Council.  Again, this doesn’t apply to my sister, she never had to get a mortgage.  She inherited money , borrowed some too, she owns her house outright AND lived in it.

·         Owner Investors.  If you are one of these then the mortgage you currently have on Priory Hall is frozen for two years and, when completely refurbished,  they will be given back your apartment in Priory Hall.  Yes, the plan is to fix it.  Make the development bigger and better than ever!  Their credit rating will be restored to 2011 standing.  These poor people were up in arms tonight apparently.  They don’t want to be held to ransom over Priory Hall.   But, I don’t really give a thought to them.  Their investment property went tits up.  Investments do that.  They never lived in Priory Hall.  They rented it out.  They still live in the house they lived in before all of this fell apart. Again, this doesn’t apply to my sister, she never had to get a mortgage.  She inherited money , borrowed some too, she owns her house outright AND lived in it.

The big one.  The one that interests me most.

·         Fiona and Paula.  The only two people in the entire development that own their properties outright.  Fiona owns hers because she inherited money and because our brother lent her some.  I don’t know how Paula owns her house but I do know that everything she had, and has, is tied up in it. 

These two people have been given two options:

Live in their current accommodation for another 2/3 years whilst Priory Hall is repaired and move back into the refurbished building.

 Retain their apartment in Priory Hall but live in Council housing for life.  Paying that nominal sum again.  This means, they would own Priory Hall property (eventually, if it is ever fixed) but they will never again live in it.  They can let it, leave it idle, do what they want with it but they will always own it.  For what it’s worth.

So, as far as I can see, my sister is being treated like an investor.  She isn’t an investor.  She is someone who never needed a mortgage.  She was lucky enough to have dead parents and bought an apartment.  She is the one being held hostage here.  Both her and Paula.
She can’t move on.  She is bloody stranded with this albatross around her neck and I could scream.  I could scream at her for not listening to me in the first place and I could scream at bloody Enda Kenny with all his ‘Let’s give the people of Priory Hall their lives back”.
My sister hasn’t got her life back.  She is stuck, in rented accommodation for another 2 / 3 years before being given back an apartment that is . .  . .  huh?  Words fail me. 
My sister is one of two people who is not being allowed to move on.  She cannot get a mortgage as she is back in College.  She cannot get a mortgage because she has no collateral.  Jesus, if she moves into the council housing she will have to pay rent.  Why, in the name of God, should she have to pay rent when she bought a property in good faith?
My sister, she drives me mad.  I love her as much as I mislike her but right now my heart hurts for her.  It’s destroying her.  I love her and I cannot bear how lost she is right now.  She is devastated.  All because someone didn’t d their job properly.  Then someone else failed to do their job properly and, before you knew it, my sister was asked to evacuate her home two years ago.  Just over two years to be precise. 

This is not right.  You shouldn’t be penalised for being sensible.  She didn’t invest in anything other than herself and her small family.

01 8074379 / 0876919838


  1. Wow, so upsetting for all. It appears she did what we have all been taught. By a home, build equity. So sorry it turned out so badly.

  2. Niamh as a buy-to-letter that was at the meeting last night, I was heartbroken for your sister. It's not acceptable for any of us to be left carrying the Priory Hall monkey on our backs for another God knows how many years but your sister should at least have been given an alternative home immediately. Her poor little girl was born when all this happened and it must be awful not to have a permenant roof over her head even though they own a property. I really hope your sister gets a revised deal.
    p.s. I found your blog when I did my ritual google search of PH and it's really enjoyable! I'll put it in my favourites :-) Janet

  3. It's a dreadful situation. Apparently there has been a one to one meeting organised for her tonight, perhaps (hopefully) the other woman who owns property will be invited too. So, fingers crossed this all works out for her and everyone else. It's wrong that this has gone on as long as it has.
    Janet, I hope you enjoy the blog. It's not normally this angry and dismayed.