BEREAVED PRIORY HALL resident Stephanie Meehan bluntly confronted the Minister of State Kathleen Lynch over the Taoiseach’s failure to meet with residents telling her this morning: “I am sick to death of your excuses and your government’s excuses.”
Speaking on the Marian Finucane programme on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning Meehan, whose fiancée Fiachra Daly took his own life in July, told programme guest Lynch that the Taoiseach “should have the humanity and the decency to meet with residents”.
Her comments came amid a number of reports in the Sunday newspapers today which underline the crisis affecting the 256 former residents who were evacuated from the dilapidated Donaghemede complex in October 2011.
The Sunday Independent reports that Meehan received a letter from her bank saying she owed €17,000 on a property she and her young family have not lived in for two years shortly after her fiancée took his own life.
Meanwhile the Sunday Business Post says that the mediation process being chaired by a former High Court judge collapsed a month ago and claims some banks are using debt-collection agencies to demand arrears payments from residents.
Lynch told Meehan she believes a meeting with the Taoiseach “is going to happen very shortly” but said “at the end of the day the law of the land has to be complied with”.
- Explainer: What is happening with Priory Hall?
Call for Taoiseach meeting
Residents today called for a meeting with Kenny in a strongly-worded statement, saying: “Things have gone to far and the toll on the residents has been too high, none more so than Stephanie Meehan and her family.
“The banks are adopting completely different approaches to the residents and there will be no collective approach without state intervention.”
The residents now believe that the mediation process “has descended into utter chaos and confusion” and said that the government – which said this week it would await the conclusion of the mediation process – “does not seem to know the details”.
“[Environment] Minister [Phil] Hogan is waiting on a report that does not exist. The residents are completely in the dark,” they said.
The residents said that AIB chief executive David Duffy’s evidence to the Oireachtas Finance Committee “set the tone for what needs to be done”.
“From their [AIB's] comments at the Finance committee it seems that they are considering mortgage transfers. That is what the residents want. A chance to get on with our lives. To have a home for our families and to pay our mortgages,” the residents’ statement said.
The residents are also calling for a confidential discussion with the Taoiseach.
“We are asking the Taoiseach for his help. What we’re suggesting is that he sits down with a small group of residents, that we put all legal issues off the table, to have a confidential discussion on how we can set out a clear roadmap to resolving the mortgage issues quickly,” the statement said.
“The other problems can wait. The residents can’t take on the banks alone, we need our governments help. If the political will is really there, we can get this done. Lets try to ensure families will not have to spend another Christmas worrying about their future. ”
First published 11.20am