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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
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Academy Square

Up to 100 people left homeless after fire at Navan apartment building

A spokesperson for Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said that his thoughts were with the impacted residents.

MEATH COUNTY COUNCIL is making urgent arrangements to house residents from the Academy Square apartments in Navan after over 30 apartments were damaged during a fire on Monday evening.

Oriel Property Management, which manages the apartments have said that electricity, water lines and sewage lines were damaged by the fire which began in the building’s basement.

Two blocks of apartments are now uninhabitable, while a Garda investigation is underway into suspected criminal damage.

One resident at the apartments, Ross Kelly said that he considers himself lucky because his apartment of 16 years was on the opposite side of the building to where the fire started.

“The management company of the apartments came to us after it was put out and said that 32 apartments would have to be evacuated for the next couple of months because of the damage,” he said.

Kelly only had to spend one night with relatives before returning home but he’s concerned for how other residents will be treated.

“Some people who didn’t have family in the area were sent to emergency accommodation in Drogheda. But a lot of the people here in the apartments don’t really have friends or family in the area,” he said.

“So a lot of them have to be sent over to Drogheda with their kids, waiting for landlords to reach out and offer alternative accommodation.”

Residents were invited to a meeting with Meath County Council yesterday and many were invited to stay in a local sports hall for the night, he said.

“A lot of them didn’t know where to go and what to do. You have people with five kids or four kids, couples, there’s single people and they’re all kind of being told different things about where to go.”

Aontú councillor for Navan, Emer Tóibín attended the meeting between residents and the council’s housing staff but said that accommodation arrangements were still being planned.

“It was brought up about food, how are they going to cook?” she said.

“They said they weren’t sure yet. I asked about laundry and they didn’t know.” “There’s next to no emergency accommodation in Meath, people have been sent to other counties for months,” Tóibín explained.

The limited accommodation options available to residents of Academy Square aren’t good enough and there’s no way to know how long they’ll be necessary, she added.

“You could put up with a certain amount of hardship if you had some light at the end of the tunnel, but we don’t know when they’ll be able to return home.”

“Parents understandably don’t want to live with their children in a big shared room, lots of them would prefer to stay in their apartments if they had the choice, even if there’s no running water of electricity,” she added.

“I spoke to a few parents. I spoke to a few foreign nationals living there who have no one to lean on. There are people who just moved in last week who now have to uproot their lives.”

The Department of Housing has issued the following statement:

“Minister O’Brien’s thoughts are with the residents of Academy Square who have been impacted by the fire. The Minister is relieved that there were no injuries reported and is grateful to the members of the Fire Services who responded quickly and extinguished the fire.”

“The Minister understands Meath County Council is working with the management company in assisting impacted residents to secure alternative accommodation until such a time as they can return to their homes.” 

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