'No role' for Hogan in Priory Hall legal process

Fri, May 11, 2012, 01:00

THE GOVERNMENT has reiterated its call for the chairman of the Priory Hall resolution process to be allowed to complete his job and for all stakeholders to “fully engage” in the process.

Speaking for Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd repeated in the Dáil that Mr Hogan had no role in the legal process for the Priory Hall apartment complex, which had to be evacuated last year because of fire safety risks to residents.

He told Dublin North East TD Tommy Broughan that the “priority continues to be to facilitate the return by the residents to their homes as early as possible”. He added that “it will be necessary to ensure these homes are made fit for purpose and that the costs of doing so fall where they should”.

Mr Broughan said the Taoiseach had told him in the Dáil last week that Mr Hogan had got confirmation from the banks with whom Priory Hall residents have mortgages that they would engage in the process. He said, however, that the residents had not received confirmation of this.

The Supreme Court adjourned proceedings on the case for three months to allow a conciliation process and Mr Broughan said “residents are clearly very anxious to get further details on the current status of the resolution process”. He asked if the three-month adjournment in legal proceedings meant a three-month deadline with a conclusion in July.

He also asked if the 187 financial stakeholders in Priory Hall should be present and participate in the process, and if this should include the original developer.

Mr Broughan asked the department’s view on a cost-benefit analysis of whether “a rebuild of the entire complex might be the best way forward”, and if Dublin City Council would have a role in that.

He said the council was preparing a new local area plan for the Dublin north fringe district and asked if the department should engage with the council to make “the resolution of the Priory Hall issue” part of the area plan.

Mr O’Dowd said he would bring the TD’s concerns to Mr Hogan and acknowledged that the apartment owners had “been put at a very serious disadvantage”. But he said it was important “that the independence of the conciliation process chaired by Mr Justice [Joseph] Finnegan is respected”.