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Calls for nationwide fire safety checks after discovery of Grenfell cladding on Cork County Council HQ

Cork County Council confirmed that its headquarters had the same cladding as Grenfell Tower.

Grenfell Tower
Grenfell Tower
Image: Sam Boal/Rolling News

CALLS ARE BEING made to extend fire safety checks beyond multi-floor social housing units following the discovery that the same cladding used in Grenfell Tower was used in the headquarters of Cork County Council.

The council confirmed today that a similar aluminium material used in Grenfell Tower is currently installed around the exterior of the council chamber within the main foyer of the building.

The cladding was installed during a €62 million refurbishment of the Council Hall which was completed in 2006.

The council released a statement claiming the panelling meets fire safety requirements:

The council’s facilities manager and chief fire officer have reviewed the matter and having regard to the limited extent of the use of the panel, the nature of the use of the building and the fire safety measures installed, the use of the panelling meets all fire safety requirements and does not pose any increased risk to the users of the building.

In light of this news, Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin TD said that Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy “must order a systematic re-check of fire safety in buildings”.

“It’s extremely worrying that the flammable cladding, believed to have contributed to the spread of the awful fire in Grenfell Tower, was installed here in Ireland,” she said.

While Martin welcomed Minister Murphy’s decision to check local authority multi-storey housing stock, but she questioned why a nationwide audit of all multi-unit housing was not taking place.

“These audits must now be extended, and a systematic re-check of high rise buildings must take place in light of this discovery,” she said.

“We need to know how this cladding ended up being installed, and if it was used elsewhere.”

The council has commissioned a report investigating the installation of the material in question.

A spokesperson for the council said that it will take any further necessary action should the report “raise a concern of any nature”.

The cladding used on the Grenfell Tower in London is being blamed for the spreading of the flames throughout the entire building.

So far, 79 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the fire.

Local Fine Gael councillor Derry Canty said that the cladding should be immediately removed.

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“If needs be, I feel [the cladding] should be removed altogether. We only have weekly meetings but I feel for health and safety reasons there should be right to remove it,” Canty told TheJournal.ie.

“We had a report sent to us yesterday saying that the cladding was around our chamber and we looked at it and said it would be only proper and right for it to be removed.”

Not all local councillors were of the same opinion as Canty, as Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Carroll said he was confident to remain working in the building.

“I think that, if it’s there, Cork County Council will get rid of it immediately. They’ll have to deal with it. I don’t have any major concerns about working there,” Canty said.

“I think all the electrical stuff is all in good order and I would be happy enough to wait until they remove it.”

Cork County Council stated that it has a number of fire safety measures in place in the building, including sprinkler protection, an automatic smoke ventilation system, automatic smoke detection and alarm system.

Read: ‘We will miss him forever’: Five-year-old boy confirmed as Grenfell Tower victim

More: Company withdraws sales of cladding linked to Grenfell Tower blaze

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