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Dublin City Council: We've acted in the best interests of Priory Hall residents

The council has re-released a statement issued last week in response to criticism of its handling of the situation which has seen hundreds of former Priory Hall residents living in temporary accommodation since 2011.

Some of the former residents outside the Four Courts last week
Some of the former residents outside the Four Courts last week
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has defended its actions in relation to its handling of the situation at Priory Hall insisting that it has pursued the issue through the courts in an attempt to clarify matters.

The council released a statement to TheJournal.ie last night carrying much of the information that was in a statement released prior to last week’s hearing at the Supreme Court where judges ruled that a decision on whether the council should continue to meet former residents’ accommodation costs would be made in October.

Over 250 former residents at the now dilapidated apartment block in north Dublin have been living in temporary accommodation since October 2011 when they were evacuated from their homes over fire safety concerns.

It was anticipated that developer Tom McFeely and his company would carry out remedial works within five weeks but nearly two years later no work has been carried out, the complex has fallen into even greater disrepair and McFeely has gone bankrupt.

The Supreme Court last week postponed a decision on whether the Council should continue to meet costs until 15 October with the council committing to pay costs – which have already reached nearly €3 million – until November.

“Dublin City Council, in the interest of all Fire Authorities,  sought clarification in the Supreme Court on the extent to which Orders are capable of being made under the Fire Services Act, following the High Court Order issued on Priory Hall in October 2011,” the council said in a statement.

“The City Council needed to do this for legal clarity as to the scope of its functions.”

The council said it was committed to finding a resolution for residents and said it is “fully engaged” in a process being overseen by retired judge, Justice Finnegan, which is seeking to solution for the former residents who have mortgage obligations on properties they can’t live in.

Referring to the application to the courts in October 2011 to have the complex evacuated, the council said: “It is difficult to see how the action by the City Council to prevent the loss of life to fire, can be construed as anything other than acting in the best interests of the residents.”

The council said that it should be noted that “has at all times complied with the Order of the High Court in dealing with the accommodation of evacuated residents”.

These costs now stand at €2.9 million which covers the cost of emergency lettings, storage costs, and security at the complex. These costs breakdown as follows:

  • Salaries – €10,624
  • Hotel Accommodation – €398,577
  • Security €1,053,993
  • Engineering/surveys – €357,816
  • Apartment Leasing – €972,357
  • Miscellaneous Costs – €119,785
  • Total – €2,913,152

Read: Priory Hall in ruins as residents left ‘in limbo’

Priory Hall: “They’ve already tried to put us on the streets once, they can’t try it again”

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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