Priory Hall residents to hold vigil
Former residents of the Priory Hall apartment complex in north Dublin will hold a vigil this evening to mark the second Christmas out of their homes.
The Priory Hall Residents Committee say homeowners are being “forced to live month to month with constant uncertainty over their futures”.
The 256 residents of the Donaghmede estate were forced out of their homes on October 14th last year by order of the High Court until remedial work to address fire safety and other problems was completed.
The repairs were begun by the developer Tom McFeely, but Dublin City Council applied to the High Court to have him ordered off site on November 4th because they were not satisfied with the work being done.
Dublin City Council has spent more than €2 million on accommodation for owner-occupiers in the past 14 months, as well as storage and security costs.
The council was ordered to cover these costs by the High Court, but is appealing this order to the Supreme Court. A date for the hearing has not yet been set.
Apartment owner and spokesman for the residents Graham Usher said the possibility that the order will be overturned was a “massive threat" hanging over the residents’ heads.
“Everyone is on tenterhooks, because if that appeal goes through and Dublin City Council is successful, we are going to have to find alternative accommodation again. It is another worry for families coming up to Christmas,” he said.
Some homeowners have moratoriums in place, but others are still liable for repayments on mortgages of up to €250,000.
A resolution process is under way between the lenders, the council and residents, but Mr Usher said there was an “unwillingness” among the mortgage providers to “acknowledge the unique circumstances residents face”, which is forcing them into further debt for homes they may never live in.
“There appears to be no sense of urgency in finding a solution for us, particularly among the mortgage providers, and that is what we are trying to highlight this evening,” he said.
The vigil will take place outside Priory Hall at 8pm.
Dublin City Council has applied to sue Mr McFeely, a former IRA hunger striker, over structural defects at the Priory Hall development.
Mr McFeely failed to overturn his bankruptcy last week after the High Court found he had failed to provide evidence to show his main centre of business interests was in the UK.
During the hearing, he said his marriage had broken up because of coverage by the “gutter media”.
His family home on Ailesbury Road in Dublin was repossessed last month in the High Court after he defaulted on his €9.5 million mortgage.