Friday 28 October 2016

Roof blows off McFeely-built apartments in high winds

Storm damage at Aras na Cluaine, the complex that was built by a company owned by
Tom McFeely (Photo: Collins)
Storm damage at Aras na Cluaine, the complex that was built by a company owned by Tom McFeely (Photo: Collins)

A roof at a west Dublin apartment complex built by controversial Priory Hall developer Tom McFeely was blown off during Storm Frank.

Dublin Fire Brigade crews raced to the Aras na Cluaine development in Clondalkin, where the roof was torn from a top-floor unit at the complex built by the former IRA hunger striker's firm, Coalport, in the mid-noughties.

The development was previously at the centre of fire safety fears, with the High Court ordering an evacuation if additional safety works were not carried out.


There were no injuries in yesterday's incident, which happened at an apartment that has been empty for some while. A number of nearby properties were evacuated.

Photos show a fully-laid dining room table covered in debris beneath where the ceiling used to be.

A resident of Aras na Cluaine, who lives in an apartment near the affected part of the building, said the incident happened in the early hours when gale force winds were at their peak.

"The fire brigade has been on site all day and the fire marshal is here assessing the damage," she said.

"The apartment is the very last one on the top floor, so the two apartments adjoining it were evacuated during the night due to safety concerns.

"Thankfully, the place that lost its roof is unoccupied as it's up for sale at the moment."

The resident, who did not wish to be named, said discussions were continuing as to whether further apartments should be evacuated.

"There is concern that more of the roof could be swept off as the winds haven't died down yet," the woman said.

The Aras na Cluaine complex, on Yellow Meadows Road, was launched at the end of 2004 with prices for one-bedroom units starting at €215,000 and two-beds from €245,000.

It was built by McFeely's firm, Coalport Building Company Ltd.

The company, where he was a director between 1997 and 2012, was dissolved last year.

In February 2011, the High Court ordered that 198 apartments at Aras na Cluaine be evacuated within three weeks if fire safety works were not carried out.

Dublin City Council (DCC) had sought the prohibition of the occupation of the complex pending the installation of fire detection and alarm systems in some areas and emergency lighting, signage and fire door assemblies in others.

The following month, the development's management company posted on its website that the required works had been carried out, the apartments had passed a DCC fire inspection and "no evacuation is necessary".

It was later in 2011 that the evacuation of the firetrap Priory Hall apartments in Donaghmede, north Dublin, took place. That development was also built by McFeely's firm.


In 2013, evacuated residents agreed to a government plan that saw former Priory Hall apartment owners having their debts written off.

The families were rehoused by the council at a cost of €3m.

DCC agreed to redevelop the complex, located on the Hole in the Wall Road in Donaghmede, following a protracted dispute-resolution process.

The apartments have undergone a €27m refurbishment and are to go on sale next year.

A total of 60 of the units will be offered early in the new year, with 124 going on the market later. In an attempt to remove its association with shoddy building work, it will be renamed New Priory Donaghmede.

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