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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020
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Longboat Quay residents will still have to find '€2 million' for repairs after final offer of help

The Authority said it would contribute some of the costs.

Image: Google maps

Updated at 7.39pm

THE DUBLIN DOCKLANDS Development Authority has said it will provide financial assistance to help carry out required works on unsafe apartments at Longboat Quay.

However, it has been branded as “wholly unacceptable”.

In a statement this afternoon, it confirmed a “formal final offer” of €2.75 million towards the repairs, which will cost €4.75 million.

This would still see the homeowners having to fork out €2 million to ensure they can live in the property.

However, one group of residents, the Longboat Quay Owners and Residents Group, have contested this. They are argue the outstanding amount is in the region of €3.25 million, as this evening’s offer involves just €1.5 million of “new money”.

The Longboat Quay apartments, built on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay by developer Bernard McNamara, have major deficiencies with their fire safety standards. Residents were told at a meeting on Tuesday that it would take around €18,000 each to fix the problems in the 299 apartments.

Today, the DDDA said that between its contribution and that of the receiver (who owns 18 apartments in the complex), 58% or €2.75 million will be granted to the residents.

The remaining €2 million of the estimated costs will need to be financed by the management company and the apartment owners.

Reacting to the statement by DDDA, the Longboat Quay Owners and Residents group said that while the offer is welcome, “we believe it is wholly unacceptable”.

The terms and conditions attached to this offer are equally unacceptable, not least the demand to transfer responsibility for the common areas to the owners.

“Given these realities, we remain unable at this point to award a contract to rectify the defects and therefore avoid enforcement action by Dublin Fire Brigade.”

RTÉ News reports that Martin McAleese, husband of former president Mary McAleese, has signed as chairman of the Priory Hall Implementation Oversight Group, as he owns an apartment at Longboat Quay.

Earlier… 

Nama said that it spent millions of euro repairing other properties relating to Bernard McNamara, the developer behind the Longboat Quay apartments.

Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee this afternoon, Nama’s CEO Brendan McDonagh says 18 of the 300 apartments in Longboat Quay are controlled by receivers who will likely make a contribution towards their repair.

“This is taxpayers money at the end of the day, we’ve got 18 of the 300 apartments. So the receiver is working with Dublin City Council and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority to find a solution where there would be a meaningful contribution made by the receiver,” Mc Donagh said.

“And let’s be honest about it, the receiver doesn’t have the money, it’s us giving the money to the receiver, towards meeting the cost of re-mediation, it has to be re mediated. It is a terrible situation.”

Asked by Fine Gael deputy Patrick O’Donovan whether there were previous issues relating to the same debtor as Longboat Quay, McDonagh said that there were.

“Another major block built by that debtor had some issues and we have spent millions of euro fixing that issue to the satisfaction of the fire safety authorities,” McDonagh replied.

Tánaiste Joan Burton was also asked about the Longboat Quay this afternoon, saying that she knows some of the residents at the property and hopes it can be resolved “as quickly as possible”.

Burton described the properties as a “beautiful development right on the banks of the River Liffey.”

She said, however, that Dublin Fire Brigade has pointed to “serious issues relating to fire safety”, adding that she thinks there is scope for Dublin City Council to fix the problem.

I think the solution is there, we have to bring the city council and the Docklands Authority, which is moving into the council. They have to come together. This is in the hands of the city council to take action as a responsible city authority.”

Burton was challenged by Sinn Féin deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh about why there hasn’t been any new legislation to deal with sub-standard housing.

The Tánaiste said that even if there were it wouldn’t help those in Longboat Quay right now.

“I don’t have an objection to more legislation but I don’t think that it’s needed to address the problems that the families have in the here and now,” she said.

Speaking to Today with Seán O’Rourke this morning, apartment owner and landlord Erica McKerrow-Berthon said her tenant is “terrified” of being evicted.

“She’s one of these hundreds of vulnerable tenants who are living in the complex who – if they do have to move out – won’t find anywhere else to live. Obviously, she’s terrified. She doesn’t know what’s going on,” she said.

“It’s not fair. There were failures in our building regulation control. It shouldn’t be our problem. We are people who work, we’re honest people. We already pay a fortune in management fees. We pay our property tax, we pay for water charges. What kind of country is it that this happens and people have to pay for it? It’s scandalous.”

Additional reporting by Sinead O’Carroll and Nicky Ryan

Read: Residents told to pay €4 million or face being evicted over poor fire-proofing >

Read: Property tycoon Bernard McNamara to be discharged from bankruptcy today >

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Rónán Duffy

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