Dundalk residents face eviction on fire safety grounds
Chief fire officer cites ‘absence of cavity barriers and inadequate safety equipment’
Residents of the Ath Lethan apartment complex in Dundalk will be briefed on their options. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Residents of an apartment block outside Dundalk have been warned they will be evicted unless €1.4 million in fire safety works are carried out.
Louth County Council chief fire officer Eamon Woulfe has written to the management company responsible for the Ath Lethan apartments at Racecourse Road, warning the council will take action under the Fire Services Act “to prohibit the use of these buildings for residential purposes” unless remedial works take place.
Residents are to be briefed on their options at an extraordinary general meeting at the Ballymascanlon Hotel on May 10th organised by Racecourse Residents Management Company.
Ath Lethan was built in 2005 by McGreevy Enterprises, controlled by Northern Ireland- based brothers Gerald and Seán McGreevy. The estate is a mixed development of some 200 homes ranging from five-bedroom detached houses, to terraced, two- and three-story houses and 72 apartments in nine blocks.
Difficulties with the apartments emerged last month in a fire safety report commissioned by a potential purchaser of a number of apartments in Block A. The report from Pro-Fire & Design refers to cavity barriers not being “provided as outlined in the granted fire safety certificate application”. It noted “numerous issues where there were penetrations through fire rated walls and floors that were inadequately firestopped to maintain the integrity of the fire rated walls and floors”.
While the report is based on Block A, Mr Woulfe, in a letter to the management company, said it was likely all other blocks would have similar deficiencies.
Alan Grehan of Oriel Property Management, which manages Racecourse Property Management, said remedial works would cost about €1.4 million. He said it was his company that brought the fire safety deficiencies to the attention of the chief fire officer.
Attempts to contact McGreevy Enterprises were not successful. Company records show the appointment of a receiver, Brendan O’Donoghue of accountants Russell Brennan Keane. However Mr O’Donoghue said his appointment to “certain assets of McGreevy Enterprises Limited does not extend to the Ath Lethan development”.
Fire safety defects at Longboat Quay, a Dublin docklands complex built in 2006, which are expected to cost €3.5 million to remedy, emerged last year. Some of its problems were similar to those found in Priory Hall, the north Dublin apartment complex evacuated in 2011 because of the fire risks.