Sunday 23 October 2016

Council won't use tax cash to fix fire-safety problems at Longboat

David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation talks to residents of the Longboat Quay complex
David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation talks to residents of the Longboat Quay complex

Dublin City Council has ruled out using cash from the Local Property Tax to fund the total cost of all the remedial fire-safety works required by the Longboat Quay apartments.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly wants to channel a portion of the council's property tax proceeds towards carrying out the urgent repair works at the apartments, it emerged last week.

Mr Kelly's officials believed that the country's largest authority has the funding available through property tax receipts to resolve the safety defects.


However, in a statement released to the Herald, the council rejected the idea.

It said that it has noted recent comments in the media in relation to Longboat Quay.

"We fully sympathise with the plight of the residents and understand that every option is being considered in relation to resolving the problems with the development.

"However, the suggestion to use the Local Property Tax to fund the full cost of the required remedial works at Longboat Quay is not an option due to the low level of funds from this source that are available to the City Council to spend at its discretion," the statement said.

The distressed residents of Longboat Quay said that €4m was required to repair the defects.

They said that they have found themselves in a nightmare scenario not of their making. Last year, serious fire safety issues were identified in the development.

Residents held a meeting on Friday night to discuss the crisis, which was addressed by David Hall of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation.

"This is a crisis that many of you have never been involved in before, and never wanted to be involved in, but the reality is, it is here now," he said.

Mr Hall told residents that safety was the number one priority. "The priority here is to ensure safety and, respectfully, the value of the property," he said.

He advised the residents to seek independent advice on their own particular set of circumstances.

Meanwhile, Mr Hall said that the next two weeks will be crucial in preventing the matter escalating.

The remedial works identified by the fire service have to commence by November 1 and be completed by next year.

In the event of an evacuation order, there is no accommodation for the people affected, Mr Hall told the Herald. "Many of the residents only understood the seriousness of the situation about two weeks ago," he said.

"A massive amount of remedial work was done earlier in the year and everyone assumed that given the amount of work and the costs involved, that it went to correct the issues that were highlighted," he said.

But many only recently found how serious this issue is. "Ultimately the safety issue has to be absolutely paramount," he said.

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