Thursday 27 October 2016

Dublin apartment owners told they must find €4m in less than a week or face being evacuated from their homes

Longboat Quay Apartments near dublin's Grand Canal Dock.
Longboat Quay Apartments near dublin's Grand Canal Dock.

Residents in a Dublin city centre apartment complex have been told to pay €4 million in less than a week - or Dublin Fire Brigade will move in to evacuate the premises.

Residents of the Longboat Quay apartments on Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin 2, were left horrified when the figure was disclosed last night - with owners told they would have to pay between €9,300 to €18,000 depending on the size of their apartment. The complex contains some 299 units and some 100 owners attended last night's meeting.

Speaking to independent.ie this morning, local Cllr Dermot Lacey (Labour), who was at the public meeting last night, said both Dublin City Council and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) have a "moral responsibility" to deal with the issue and not leave residents "in the lurch".

"I am horrified by the lack of engagement by public bodies in this matter. Dublin City Council are the moral landlords and the DDDA have a moral responsibility... and yet people are walking away from responsibility," he said.

"My job is to sit down with both Dublin City Council and the DDDA and try and resolve it and not leave people in the lurch," he added.

In the last six weeks, Dublin Fire Brigade have twice threatened to apply for a fire safety notice if remedial works to make the complex safe were not performed.

Last night, residents were told a tender for the remedial works has been accepted - but funding required for the work has not yet been acquired.

Residents were then told that a sum of €4 million was required or Dublin Fire Brigade could move in to evacuate the premises.

"I think the Dublin Fire Brigade are trying to be helpful here. They are trying to push for a resolution," Cllr Lacey said.

"The DDDA was a very successful company - and they do have some assets. There is funding there. It's not a lot of money but it could help," he said.

Cllr Lacey also claimed that some 18 apartments were owned by a receiver. The complex was constructed by Gendson, a vehicle for bankrupt developer Bernard McNamara, which has now gone into receivership.

Cllr Lacey suggested that these apartments could be sold in order to help residents with the funding required.

"The figures outlined last night at the meeting - whether they can find that money at the end of the week, it's a little unreal. We need to identify where such monies will come from in a very short period of time."

The 299 units in the development were built eight years ago by former developer Bernard McNamara who later went bankrupt. Most were sold to private buyers and some cost more than €500,000.

In February, it emerged serious shortcomings were discovered in an inspection last summer, including some walls deemed inadequate to contain a fire and an absence of some smoke vents needed if a fire broke out.

Consultations with Dublin Fire Brigade resulted in an evacuation of the blocks being avoided on condition that fire warden patrols were implemented.

One couple said their annual management fee for their one-bedroom apartment was increased by €200 a year to €1,200 for the next four years to pay for some of the work.

Read more here: Residents angry at new charges for fire safety work at Dockland homes

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