Hogan sets deadline for Priory Hall resolution

Talks involving Dublin City Council, Irish Banking Federation, Nama and ex-residents ordered

The Priory Hall complex in Donaghmede, north Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The Priory Hall complex in Donaghmede, north Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 15:02

A three-week deadline has been set for a resolution to the long-running dispute over the future of the condemned Priory Hall development.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he wants to see a fair and equitable plan for the families forced from their homes in the north Dublin complex and left with mounting debts.

He has ordered talks involving Dublin City Council, the Irish Banking Federation, Nama, former residents and other stakeholders.

Judge Joseph Finnegan had been asked to look at the issue of families and homeowners being forced out of their properties due to the complex being considered a fire hazard, and he was due to report by mid-October. Residents claimed he had not been given the power to order how the matter should be resolved.

But the Minister said he has been told the judge has not been able to find a solution to the crisis of dozens of families being forced out of their homes and left with very large levels of mortgage debt.

“I have become aware recently that, regrettably, the resolution process under Judge Finnegan has not identified a basis on which the parties could agree to bring to a conclusion the various matters at issue at Priory Hall,” Mr Hogan said. “The most pressing need is to identify a solution to the unacceptable position in which the former owner-occupiers find themselves.”

Mr Hogan has not met any residents of Priory Hall since they were forced to abandon their properties.

Former resident Fiachra Daly died by suicide in July. KBC Bank, which loaned Mr Daly and his partner Stephanie Meehan the mortgage, have said they will not pursue her for any further debt. Other banks have said they will deal with other families on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Hogan has asked those involved in the Priory Hall dispute to show “good faith”.

“The full resolution of the Priory Hall situation is the ultimate goal. However, after two years in personally very difficult circumstances, it is vital that the former residents are facilitated in as timely a manner as possible in getting on with their lives,” he said.

“I have set down a short period of time to reach conclusions and I would urge all parties to work together constructively.”