Sunday 17 December 2017

We don't have €4m for repair bill say 'fuming and disgusted' homeowners

Longboat Quay resident. Seamus Pullen
Longboat Quay resident. Seamus Pullen
Longboat quay

Desperate residents of the 'fire trap' Longboat Quay development "simply don't have" money to put towards a €4m repair fee for the apartment complex.

Talks are ongoing between the site's nominal landlords, the Dublin Dockland's Development Authority (DDDA) and the Longboat Quay Management Company Limited over repair costs.

The DDDA wrote to the management company yesterday with a "formal final offer" in an attempt to alleviate the financial burden on residents.

The receiver over the assets of Gendsong Limited, along with the DDDA, has offered to contribute approximately €2.75m of the estimated €4.75m cost of remedial work to the development.

This includes around €1m that has already been contributed to the repair bill, meaning the management company will have to finance around €2m.

READ MORE: Council must 'step up to the table as people's dreams on the line' - Burton

Residents are now expected to pay between €9,000 and €18,000, depending on the size of their property.

However, no official agreement has been reached and residents are fuming that the burden has been placed on them to contribute towards repair costs.

Last night, Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) said it was serving a fire safety notice on Longboat Quay Management Company, Gendsong Ltd and the DDDA.

The notice contains measures to be taken to "address fire safety issues identified" at the apartment complex.

Residents have within a given time frame - which sources have revealed could be as little as 21 days - to comply with the fire safety issues or else face being evacuated. However, a spokesperson for the Longboat Quay management company said that residents had not yet received a formal fire safety notice.

READ MORE: Now Longboat businesses are hit with demand for €60k each

One long-time resident has expressed his shock and anger at being told he would have to pay-up a five-figure sum to get the problems sorted.

"It is very stressful to be told that if you don't pay this money we could all be evacuated," Seamus Pullen told the Herald.

"Now they're saying there is no immediate risk of that happening, but the problem still needs to be sorted, and all I know is I don't have €18,000 to hand over. Why is the cost of this being pushed onto us? This is not a problem of our making.

"I work as a printer and I've taken two pay cuts and am still lucky to have a job. I could only buy the apartment because I got it on the affordable housing scheme because I'm on a low wage.


"I barely scrape the money together to pay for it. Where do they think I can get €18,000 from? I'm absolutely fuming and disgusted over this. Hundreds of people are in danger," he added. "This is an absolute scandal."

Some 900 people who live in the 299 apartments and duplexes in the upscale development were informed earlier this week that a second round of remedial work was needed on their homes. The apartments were built by Gendsong, which boom-time developer Bernard McNamara was a director of until early 2011.

READ MORE: Development authority offer Longboat Quay residents €2.75m towards €4m building works bill

The management committee, on behalf of the owners of Longboat Quay, has said it is taking legal advice.

Meanwhile, the husband of former President Mary McAleese has stepped down as chairman of a board set up to implement changes at the fire-trap Prior Hall apartment complex. Dr Martin McAleese said his position on the Priory Hall Implementation Oversight Group had become "untenable" after he and his wife became embroiled in the Longboat Quay issue.

Dr McAleese stepped down after it emerged the McAleeses' bought two apartments at the Longboat Quay complex in 2006.

The couple handed over transferred ownership of one of the apartments to their daughter Sara McAleese a year ago.

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