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Priory Hall residents concerned over Supreme Court appeal

Evacuees are worried that if Dublin City Council’s appeal is successful, they will be forced further into financial strife – and may even have to default on their mortgages.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

RESIDENTS OF THE ill-fated Priory Hall complex are becoming increasingly worried about their financial situation as Dublin City Council appeals a High Court ruling in the Supreme Court.

Earlier today, the council asked the Supreme Court for an urgent appeal against a previous ruling which ordered it to pay the accommodation costs of the 240 evacuated residents, reports 98FM.

Residents remain evacuated from their 187 apartments, on the order of courts which had heard that the complex was a major fire risk. The council is currently covering the cost of the alternative accommodation in Dublin hotels and NAMA houses.

Graham Usher of the Priory Hall Residents Committee told TheJournal.ie that he is worried that a successful appeal by the council could plunge him – and other residents – further into financial strife.

“We will be forced to default on our mortgages, shut out from the banking system, condemned to live from week to week with no prospect to invest in our and our families futures. All we ask is that we, as tax-payers, are offered some protection from the greed and incompetence of others,” he said, adding that it was not the apartment owners’ choice to “turn to the State for help”.

The council has argued that the temporary housing for the Priory Hall residents has already cost €350,000. It is also worried that a precedent will be started that other developments in Dublin with similar safety issues will become their financial burden.

The council wants to ensure that there will be no hesitation in the future from local authorities to carry out similar evacuations if needed – and not be put off by the cost.

The residents association expressed its incredulity at the argument, stating it is “reprehensible that any local authority would even suggest that they might hesitate in bringing such an order due to consideration of cost rather than protection of human life”.

The dire circumstances that the residents of Priory Hall find ourselves in are not of our making. They are the inevitable consequence of a rogue builder, a Government who implemented a lax system of self-certification, whilst having inadequate oversight to protect the homeowner and a local authority who could not or would not use the powers of inspection and enforcement available to them.”

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Other residents have previously told TheJournal.ie that they fear they could be left homeless for Christmas as they could not afford to pay extra rent and continue to service their mortgages.

According to The Irish Times, Chief Justice Susan Denham told lawyers for the residents that they could make submissions on the appeal.

Last week, the complex’s developer Thomas McFeely won a reprieve against the High Court’s three-month prison sentence and €1 million fine.

More: Minister for Environment refuses to meet Priory Hall residents>

Read more: Priory Hall developer granted stay on three-month sentence>

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