Apartment block failed fire standards


SOME 28 tenants in a new apartment complex in Dundalk town have been told they must move out of their homes because of fire safety issues.

The five-storey Ard Dealgan complex in the Quay Street area of the town, built by Coalport Building Company Ltd, had failed to meet fire safety standards.

The company and tenants were served with a closure notice on October 6th by Dundalk Town Council and were given 28 days to comply.

Coalport appealed the notice to the District Court but the legal action failed on October 22nd and tenants were required to vacate their homes by yesterday.

The notice said the basement-level car park had not been provided with a suitable smoke ventilation system; the lobbies between the building and the basement level had not been fitted with appropriate fire doors or provided with the required ventilation; and vents had not been provided on stairways or corridors and had been omitted on the fourth and fifth floors.

Inspectors also found that fire doors throughout the building had been poorly fitted and were ineffective. The development did not meet the standards stipulated in the fire safety certificate issued to it by the council, standards that must be met before any property can be occupied.

The council carried out inspections of the development prior to tenants moving in and the company was asked to rectify the faults, but tenants were moved in during August and the improvement works had not been carried out. Following a further inspection, the council served the closure notice.

A spokesman for Coalport said it was carrying out the required improvement works. It had been in negotiation with the council, but once a closure notice was issued it was not possible to stop it.

Tenants, who paid €85 a week per person sharing a two-bedroom apartment, had not been housed in areas that were unsafe, he said.

Asked why tenants were moved in before the fire certificate standards were met, he said there may have been “wires crossed” or a communication problem within the company as it was very large.

The spokesman said the company had returned all the deposits to its tenants, including to 20 French and Swedish workers employed by National Pen Ireland in Dundalk. The workers had resisted being moved out as their contracts with the company only had a short time left to run.

Green Party councillor Mark Dearey said he accepted the council had done the right thing but he was concerned about the overseas tenants.

“Hopefully the council will find alternative accommodation for them until their contracts are finished, with the help of the local housing association,” he said.