Thursday 27 October 2016

Mum living in Dublin fire-trap apartment: 'I'm afraid to leave my home in case I can't get back in'

Longboat Quay Apartments near Dublin's Grand Canal Dock.
Longboat Quay Apartments near the Grand Canal Dock.
Longboat Quay Apartments near Dublin's Grand Canal Dock

Mum-of-two Nina Buckley is living in fear of being put out of her Longboat Quay home because she can't afford a bill of €18,000 for works to make it safe.

Some 900 residents in the upscale development have been told that their homes could be closed by the fire brigade in less than a week if remedial work to secure it is not started immediately.

For Nina, who has been living in her home since 2009, it means she is facing a bill of €18,000 as she lives in a three-bed duplex - one of the larger apartment types in the development.

Residents were told on Tuesday that they would need to pay out €4m for the works as soon as possible.

Nina, a youth worker, lives there with her son who is a DCU student and her daughter (14) who is studying for her junior cert.

READ MORE: Residents in limbo as fire safety notice set to be issued today

She says she cannot afford to pay for the repairs and is not in a position to get into more debt to source the money.

The news that residents could be forced to foot the bill has left her panicked about what will happen if the fire brigade order an evacuation.

"If there are people who can afford to pay it, what does that mean for the rest of us, will we be put out of our homes?

"We all know what the homeless situation is like at the moment, if they evacuate the building we are talking about 900 people being made homeless," she said.

"Not to mention that we still have to pay our mortgages," she added.

READ MORE: Longboat developer Bernard McNamara out of bankruptcy and back building in Dublin

"Where are we going to go? I feel like a gun is being put to our head, that we are being forced to pay this," she said.

Management fees in the complex can reach up to €2,400, which is what Nina pays.


Though there was a public meeting held this week, Nina was critical of the fact that she did not get direct notice about it and said that she feels very much in the dark about the problems with her home.

"We're not receiving any information," she said.

"Not knowing what is going on is worse."

Longboat Quay Apartments near the Grand Canal Dock

Until now safety concerns were stressful on their own, without the added burden of footing the bill to fix the problems herself, she said.

"You're already afraid in case something happens when you're in your home," she explained.

READ MORE: Dermot Lacey: A shattered dream for residents – Council must step in

"Now everybody is afraid that if we leave the house, when we come back there will be a notice on the building and we won't get in."

READ MORE: Fire safety issues first raised at Longboat Quay eight years after build

She is one of dozens of people who bought her home through an affordable housing scheme with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, meaning that she is unable to sell it without settling a substantial portion of the sale to the authority.

Nina paid €245,000 for her home on the scheme in 2009.

Her children have been affected by what is happening in the complex.

"My daughter is only 14 she has enough going on without worrying about whether she'll be able to get into her house after school," she said.

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