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I was forced to end our honeymoon to abandon Priory Hall

A DUBLIN bride had to cut short her honeymoon after she discovered that her apartment at Priory Hall had to be evacuated.

Nurse Emma MacBride was enjoying a romantic honeymoon in northern Thailand when she found out about the court order which forced residents of the complex to leave their homes due to safety concerns.

More than 240 people living at Donaghmede development had until last night to remove all their belongings from the flats before being rehoused in emergency accommodation.

"We were in the jungle and had no phone signal and it was only when we got back to the hotel I found messages from the tenants saying they were being evacuated," Emma said yesterday.

"We didn't have much choice except to come back and try to sort things out."

Emma, who is a midwife, bought her apartment six years ago and she has been renting it out for the past three years since moving in with her husband Graham.

She now worries that she will never be able to rent or sell the flat, but she will still have a substantial mortgage to pay.

"I held on to my apartment and rented it out but I'm sorry now," the new bride said.

"Even if it can be made safe -- and I'm not convinced it can be -- the publicity means I'll never be able to rent it out or sell it.

"At the moment it's worth zero and I'm not sure it will ever be worth anything but I still have the mortgage to pay.

"This was my nest egg, but now it's a noose around my neck."

NAMA has given a list of 332 apartments to Dublin City Council so it may assess which ones may be suitable to rehouse Priory Hall residents.

The council is also examining 22 of its housing units that may be suitable for the residents.

In the meantime, around 180 people have moved into the Regency Hotel in Whitehall since Monday while they wait for Dublin City Council to provide them with emergency accommodation.

The council is set to foot the €4,000-a-day bill for the residents' stay at the hotel.

The High Court has ordered developers Thomas McFeely and Larry O'Mahony to submit statement of means today.

They previously surrendered their passports after admitting they did not have the funds available to cover the €200,000 hotel bill.

Last April, McFeely was briefly jailed for the breaches of fire regulations at the Priory Hall complex.

He was placed in custody pending sentencing for the offences and later received a six-month suspended prison sentence and a €3,000 fine.

It has also emerged that, in 2009, 28 tenants in an apartment building in Dundalk had to move out after the council served a closure notice on McFeely's company Coalport over fire safety standards.

hnews@herald.ie