Priory Hall residents accept resolution deal

Proposals will allow residents finally leave behind unsafe apartments

The Taoiseach announced that Dr Martin McAleese has agreed to oversee implementation of the agreement. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

The Taoiseach announced that Dr Martin McAleese has agreed to oversee implementation of the agreement. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Thu, Oct 10, 2013, 20:21

Priory Hall residents have agreed to accept the Government’s deal which will allow them to finally leave behind the unsafe apartments from which they were evacuated two years ago.

Following a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny this evening residents’ spokesman Graham Usher said the firetrap north Dublin apartment complex built by former IRA hunger-striker Tom McFeely was a “national disgrace” and a “scar on this country”.

The Taoiseach announced that Dr Martin McAleese has agreed to oversee implementation of the agreement.

Under the deal the banks involved have agreed to write off their existing debts of owner occupiers and offer them new mortgages to buy homes elsewhere. Dublin City Council will take over the complex and refurbish it at a cost of €10 million, and buy-to-let owners will be given a two-year moratorium on mortgage payments pending the refurbishment.

“ After a two year battle the former occupants are looking forward to moving on with our lives and to paying mortgages on new and safe homes we can finally put Priory Hall behind us,” Mr Usher said.

The apartment owners were presented with the proposals last Monday and while owner occupiers were generally satisfied with the deal, those who had buy to let mortgages were disappointed that they would not to be able to relinquish ownership. However they have now “cautiously agreed” the plans, Mr Usher said.

“We have received concrete assurances from both the Taoiseach’s office and the Department of the Environment that the two year deadline imposed will be adhered to and the new development will be built to a high quality standard the owners have been guaranteed that they will be active participants in the implementation process.”

Mr Usher thanked fellow resident Stephanie Meehan who wrote to Mr Kenny after the death of her partner and father of her two children Fiachra Daly by suicide last July.

“It was Stephanie’s strength and dignity that made this Government finally take note of the national disgrace that is Priory Hall and it brought them to act the price that Stephanie paid is more than anyone should have to bear and every resident owes her a debt of gratitude.”

Ms Meehan tonight said the Taoiseach had been “very sympathetic” to her.

“He assured me myself and my two children will have a safe home to live in that’s all myself Fiachra and all the residents wanted from the very beginning”

She said she was looking forward to moving on with her life with her son and daughter.

“What I would wish for today is that Fiachra was here to celebrate this moving forward with me. The nightmare is over for all the residents but it’s not over for me.”

Priory Hall - a timeline


Priory Hall, an 187-apartment complex is built by Tom McFeely. Dublin City Council buys 26 of the apartments for social housing.

December 2009

The council evacuates its tenants because of fire safety concerns. To protect the others, it ordered Mr McFeely to carry out remedial work. He fails to do so. The council, as the Fire Authority, initiates legal action.

October 2011

High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns orders the evacuation of all 256 residents. The council is ordered to cover the accommodation costs of the residents. Mr McFeely is ordered to complete the work.

November 2011

The council tells the court Mr McFeely is not satisfactorily undertaking the work and asks the court to order him off the site. The city council appeals the order to cover the accommodation cost to the Supreme Court. The case continues.

April 2012

A mediation process between the banks and the residents is set up under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan. Resolution is not achieved.

July 2013

Resident Fiachra Daly dies after taking his own life.

August 2013

His partner, Stephanie Meehan, writes to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

September 2013

A new mediation process is established.

October 2013

The deal is agreed by residents.