Council plan for Priory Hall residents under way


DUBLIN CITY Council has begun assessing more than 300 apartments and houses for their suitability to rehouse residents removed from the dangerous apartment complex Priory Hall.

Residents of the 187 apartments in Donaghmede had until last night to leave the complex, which has been revealed to have significant structural deficiencies and poses a serious fire safety risk.

Developers Thomas McFeely and Larry O’Mahony are required to submit statements of means to the High Court today after earlier being ordered to surrender their passports to the court.

The National Asset Management Agency has submitted a list of 332 apartments to Dublin City Council for consideration in rehousing residents, of whom about 180, including 49 children and babies, are staying in the Regency Hotel, Whitehall. The council has also identified 22 housing units within its own stock which could be used to accommodate the residents.

However, a spokeswoman for the council said yesterday no residents had yet been allocated accommodation, either from the Nama list or from the council’s own stock. “The council will now look at the suitability of the location and the nature of the units on offer and match them up with the individual needs of residents of Priory Hall. This is not a simple process but it is hoped that significant progress will be made by next week.”

The council would also continue to identify potential properties from other sources and every effort would be made to match properties with the individuals concerned, she said.

A large number of the apartments and houses identified by Nama are close to the Priory Hall complex. Some 66 units are understood to be available in Belmayne, off the Malahide Road; 12 units in Belmayne Park; 38 units in Clongriffin; and eight units in Clongriffin Town Centre, all of which are in Dublin 13. There are also units in Finglas, Baldoyle and Northern Cross on the Malahide Road.

Several TDs and Senators have called for the mortgage payments of the Priory Hall residents to be suspended. A spokesman for Minister for Environment Phil Hogan said he would be asking his officials to make contact with the city council in relation to engaging with the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Finance on the issue of relief for residents in relation to mortgages and rent payments.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns last Friday ordered the evacuation of Priory Hall on safety grounds. He also ordered that the city council pay the accommodation bills of the 294 residents until November 28th, when the work to fix the deficiencies is due to be completed.

Mr McFeely, whose construction company Coalport built the Priory Hall apartment complex, undertook to carry out a schedule of remedial works agreed with the city council’s fire officer, Donal Casey, but said he did not have the funds to cover the residents’ hotel costs. Mr O’Mahony, who was said to have supplied the land for the Priory Hall scheme, was described in court as a bankrupt in the UK.