Taoiseach willing to meet Priory Hall residents

Government under pressure to help mortgage holders forced to leave apartment complex

Former Priory Hall resident Stephanie Meehan, whose husband Fiachra Daly took his own life in July. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Former Priory Hall resident Stephanie Meehan, whose husband Fiachra Daly took his own life in July. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tue, Sep 10, 2013, 16:45

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he had stood in “200 kitchens” with people bereaved by suicide as he signalled his willingness to meet former residents of the Priory Hall apartment complex in Dublin.

Some 65 families were forced to move out of the complex in Donaghmede in October 2011 after experts deemed it a fire hazard and a string of construction defects were found.

On National Suicide Daytoday, Mr Kenny noted the case of former resident Fiachra Daly, who took his own life in July.

Mr Daly’s partner Stephanie Meehan believes pressure to pay arrears on their apartment appeared to be a factor in his death. They had not been able to live in the property for two years after the complex was evacuated due to fire risk in October 2011.

“I might say I’ve been in 200 kitchens over the years when this tragedy inflicted itself on families,” Mr Kenny said.

He said the Priory Hall case represented the worst of the Celtic Tiger excesses, “where financial institutions lashed out money, where developers were allowed without examination to build what were effectively firetraps”.

The Taoiseach said he had asked for time to see the matter settled but had made it clear that the Government was going to do something about the problem.

“I want to be very clear that when Government make a decision about this that we’re clear in what it is we want to do for the residents of Priory Hall,” he said.

“I’ve been questioned about meeting the residents of Priory Hall. I don’t have any objection to meeting the residents. I’ll put it this way for you. I’ve met with people from east Fermanagh. I’ve met with people from Enniskillen.”

Mr Daly took his own life in July. His partner Stephanie Meehan said he had been under stress following the evacuation from their home.

Mortgage lender KBC Bank recently dropped plans to pursue the bereaved mother-of-two for almost €17,000.

She claimed she received a letter from the bank about being in arrears days after she publicly revealed Mr Daly had taken his own life. She said the letter stated she still owed €16,803 even after a life insurance policy paid the balance of the mortgage. The bank later confirmed it would not pursue the remaining balance.