Docklands residents face €4m bill over fire risk

Longboat Quay apartment residents told €18,000 needed from each to fix safety defects

More than 600 residents of a Dublin docklands apartment complex face evacuation from their homes on Thursday on the orders of Dublin Fire Brigade, if they cannot fund €4 million of fire safety works.

The residents of Longboat Quay, a complex of 298 apartments built by developer Bernard McNamara on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, were told on Tuesday night they needed to pay up to €18,000 each in order to fix serious fire safety defects including problems with fire-stopping material in utility services linking apartments and the “compartmentalisation” of common areas to prevent the spread of fire.

Some of the problems are similar to those found in Priory Hall, the north Dublin apartment complex evacuated in 2011 because of the fire risks posed to residents. Resolution of the faults in that complex, built by Thomas McFeely, is costing Dublin City Council more than €27 million.

The city’s chief fire officer wrote to the Longboat Quay Management Company earlier this month warning the building may have to be evacuated if work to fix these problem was not under way by Thursday.


Fire alarms

Defects came to light last year when a fire engineer working for the receiver of an apartment reported the lack of fire-stopping material to Dublin Fire Brigade.

Subsequent investigations revealed the extent of the problems. Inadequate fire alarms have been upgraded, but the substantive works ordered by the fire brigade have not been completed.

The complex was built by Mr McNamara in 2006. His company Gendsong subsequently went into receivership. As a result, the common areas remain with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA). The authority also has ownership of a small number of apartments in the complex.

A DDDA spokesmansaid it had already invested €1 million, including on the installation of the fire alarms and the contracting of fire wardens. Discussions would have to take place in relation to any further contribution it could make, he said.

Residents were told on Tuesday of the extent of the costs.

Richard Eardley, a resident and director of the management company, said the money would have to be found. “Unfortunately, if there are defects in your apartments, it’s not your fault, but it is your problem.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter