Fire defects in Meath estate could cost more than €1.5 million

Riverwalk Court development in Ratoath built by Michael Ryan

Residents of a Co Meath development whose homes need more than €1.5 million in fire-safety work, will learn today if Meath County Council is to take action against the developer. Riverwalk Court, a scheme of 16 duplexes and 26 apartments in Ratoath, was built in 2002 by Michael Ryan's Saltan Properties.

Mr Ryan was acquitted in 2013 of bribing Fred Forsey jnr, who was then a member of Dungarvan Town Council, with €80,000.

Mr Forsey jnr received a six-year prison term, with two years suspended, for receiving corrupt payments. He is pursuing an appeal.

Defects discovered in the estate are similar to those in the Dublin docklands development Longboat Quay, including lack of fire-stopping material between walls and structural failures in the “compartmentalistion” of common areas designed to prevent of fire.


Mark Fitzmaurice, an apartment owner and management company director, said the county council was made aware of the defects in 2011 but has failed to enforce an order against Mr Ryan to fix the units.

“The residents took over the management company in 2009 and there was already a claim in with HomeBond in relation to render slipping.”

This led to further engineering investigations which uncovered the fire risks. “We put the council on notice of the fire-safety issues in 2011, but were literally ignored,” he said.

However, he said that earlier this year the council did take action. “Three months ago they gave Mr Ryan three weeks to come up with a solution.”

This deadline remains unenforced, he said.

A legal representative for Saltan Properties said it was “untrue that Saltan has been ordered by the fire officer of Meath County Council to undertake remedial fire safety works to the apartments”.

Saltan Properties had been refused access to the homes to investigate the allegations, he said.

“Insofar as we are aware, there is a construction company on site carrying out whatever works are required . . . but we and Saltan Properties Ltd have been refused information about these works and cannot say exactly what is being done or what is not being done.”

Meath County Council did not respond to queries yesterday.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times