ALMOST three months on from their meeting with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, local owners of Celtic Tiger-era apartments with defects are still waiting for emergency funding.
On February 22, Sam and Odette Doran from ‘Not Our Fault Campaign’, who own an apartment with defects in Park West, met with Minister O’Brien in his office in Leinster House.
The meeting took place following the announcement in January by Minister O’Brien that there would be 100% redress for owners of apartments with defects.
He also said at the time that there would be emergency funding and interim measures in place until the scheme is up and running.
Now it’s May, and there has still been no indication when this emergency funding will be allocated.
“Since we last chatted it’s been over 100 days now since the Minister announced that he would have emergency funding and interim measures in place and still to date there is nothing to help us,” Odette Doran told Southside People.
“We have engaged with a new fire engineering company to do a second survey of our building as the first one wasn’t detailed enough.
“We will be ready to commence works on the means of escape in our building to give people a safe passage to get out of the building in the event of a fire breaking out.
“These works are going to cost approximately €300k for this portion of the works and we need the emergency funding to be in place for us to make our building safe.
“We had a press conference in Buswell’s on April 19 and a protest afterwards outside the Dail. We have been out protesting outside the Dail every Wednesday with the Not Our Fault Campaign and will continue every Wednesday until the Minister has emergency funding in place for us as we are the ones experiencing the financial and stressful consequences of the government dragging their heels on this urgent matter.
“Our management fees have gone up to cover the new fire alarm that we have, ESB bills have gone through the roof, mortgage rates have gone up so people simply cannot afford to fund these large projects to get the buildings safe to live in again.
“Last week I received an email from the Ministers office after I called him out for ignoring our urgent calls for emergency funding.
His latest reply was:
‘The Working Group the Minister established to examine defects in housing, recognised that interim measures will be required in certain cases pending the implementation of full remedial works.
In this regard, the Minister encourages Owners’ Management Companies to engage the services of competent fire safety professionals to determine and prioritise interim remedial work necessary from a life safety point of view pending the implementation of full remedial works.
Such works should be agreed with local authority Fire Services.’”
Odette says the apartment owners have emailed the Minister to clarify where do they apply for this emergency funding as they have engaged a fire engineering company to prioritise works.
They have also been in contact with the fire officer so they are ready to go but they feel the Minister isn’t.
“All we are getting is empty promises from him and his department,” Odette says.
“The lack of urgency on this matter is very concerning for us owners of affected properties and the longer this goes unresolved people are always living in fear of a fire or tragedy happening in one of these buildings.
“We have gathered further support from Senator Mary Seery Kearney and Senators Mark Wall and Senator Timmy Dooley, Eoin O Brion TD Patrick Costello, Ivana bacik, Paul Murphy and many others they all don’t understand why the minister hasn’t set this up as the funding is there ready to go as he had no problem to swiftly remove the levies on builders last week the guys that contributed to our cause by not building according to plans and cutting corners.”
Southside People contacted the Department of Housing for a comment in regard to this story but hadn’t received a reply at the time of going to print.