Four Celtic Tiger developments that had fire and safety issues

Oireachtas committee to recommend fire risk assessments on boom era builds

Priory Hall. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Priory Hall. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

The Oireachtas housing committee will on Wednesday recommend a programme of fire risk assessments on Celtic Tiger-era building developments amid concerns about safety issues.

It is not the first time such issues have been raised since the building boom of the 1990s and 2000s. Below are four of the most high-profile developments, about which concerns have been raised.

Priory Hall More than 250 people were evacuated from the Priory Hall apartment scheme near Donaghmede in north Dublin because of fire safety risks in October 2011.

The complex was built in 2007 by developer and former IRA hunger striker Thomas McFeely. Residents were evacuated by court order, while McFeely was declared bankrupt by the Supreme Court in July 2012.

In October 2013, Dublin City Council agreed to undertake the refurbishment following an 18-month mediation process involving residents and banks, chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan.

In 2013, then taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “Priory Hall, in my view, is the worst of what occurred in the so-called Celtic Tiger years where people, through no fault of their own, were effectively put into houses that were death traps.”

After the remedial works were complete, the first batch of apartments in “New Priory” were put up for sale by the council last November. McFeely is due to exit bankruptcy in March 2020.

Millfield Manor

A fire spread through six terraced houses at Millfield Manor estate in Newbridge, Co Kildare within 25 minutes on March 31st, 2015. Nobody was injured during the blaze. A report, which examined a number of homes on the estate, released last year found they were not in compliance with building regulations.

The report raised concerns about the potential spread of fire between the dwellings and found poor workmanship. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said last September that the department is working with Kildare County Council to estimate costings to ensure “residents can make informed decisions and seek value for money regarding any potential remediation works to their properties”.

Longboat Quay

Concerns over fire safety in the Dublin docklands complex arose in February 2015. When repairs were not carried out by the following October, Dublin Fire Brigade issued a fire safety notice ordering that work, including the installation of a smoke ventilation system and fire-stopping materials, be done.

Dublin City Council owned common areas in Longboat Quay and had an interest in the 37 apartments bought under the affordable housing scheme.

The council agreed to contribute €1.85 million in December 2016 for the remedial work, while receivers to developer Bernard McNamara’s building company, Gendsong, agreed to pay €1.25 million to fund the repairs.

Beacon South Quarter

More than 800 apartment owners at the Sandyford development in south Dublin were hit with a €10 million bill at the beginning of 2017 in relation to safety works.

About 250 owners at the Beacon South Quarter development voted to pay more than €10 million to fix fire safety and other structural defects at the complex last April, despite opposition from some owner-occupiers who said they could not afford the costs.

The vote followed a warning by Dublin Fire Brigade that owners could face legal action if they did not undertake fire safety works at their homes. The city’s chief fire officer, Patrick Fleming, had written to owners to say the fire brigade had been alerted to “fire deficiencies” in the development, built in 2005 by developer Paddy Shovlin’s Landmark Enterprises.