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More Priory Halls feared as developer's passport is confiscated

THE former IRA hunger striker behind the controversial Priory Hall development was today forced to hand over his passport to the authorities.

Developer Tom McFeely, who for years enjoyed the Dublin 4 high life, has admitted that he does not have the funds available to cover the €200,000 hotel bill for more than 100 residents.

Distraught families woke up today in the Regency Hotel after learning their Donaghmede homes are suffering from serious fire safety risks.

McFeely has apologised, claiming he will put the resources in place for the repair works. However, there is major doubt over his ability to fund the repairs with his Irish Nationwide loans believed to been taken over by NAMA.



plight

And residents of another one of McFeely's developments, Aras na Cluaine in Clondalkin, have today spoken out about facing the same plight earlier this year.

In February, McFeely's Coalport development company was forced to carry out works at the development or risk having the residents evacuated by the same judge who has ordered the evacuation of Priory Hall.

"Fortunately for us the problems weren't as huge a task to fix, and McFeely got them sorted when he learned that everyone might be evicted," one member of the Aras na Cluaine residents' committee told the Herald. "We really feel for the people in Priory Hall, because we faced eviction ourselves," he added.

The Herald can also reveal that another Priory Hall debacle could hit Dublin apartment dwellers after it emerged that thousands of properties built during the boom could be failing to meet fire requirements.

A group of Irish surveyors reviewed a range of houses and apartments in the city and surrounding commuter belt built during the property boom.

The worrying findings revealed that many developments fail to meet fire safety requirements with a lack of proper fire doors, smoke alarms and disconnected smoke vents.



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As a result of the spot checks, the expert panel called for more frequent inspections and adequate enforcement methods in order to combat the very serious breaches in fire regulations.

One of the buildings reviewed included a two bedroomed duplex apartment in North Dublin which had been built in 2005 and 2006.

A second Dublin apartment in South Dublin, which was built in 1999, also raised issues about fire safety. The surveyor in that case said:"The most serious issue we found was in the common areas where none of the fire panels were locked in place around the service risers and ducts. This allows fire to spread horizontally through the block. For obvious reasons, this is quite serious," he said.

"The building is also in breach of fire regulations. I found that the top-floor automatic smoke vent had been disconnected -- an issue for the management company rather than the builder."

hnews@herald.ie