Fears Newbridge fire estate is the 'new Priory Hall'

NewsBy Eamon Dillon
Destroyed: The scenes of devastation after the huge blaze swept through the estate
Destroyed: The scenes of devastation after the huge blaze swept through the estate

FEARS are growing that a housing estate could be another Priory Hall after a huge blaze swept through six homes.

No-one was injured in last week's fire which spread quickly through the houses where 21 people were living.
This week Councillor Willie Crowley said that the local authorities need to carry out a full investigation to reassure residents in the estate.
“Notwithstanding that the wind factor has been cited as contributory, it doesn’t answer the question nor does it allay any concerns that building regulations were adhered to.
There has been a safety concern which has to be immediately addressed,” he told the Sunday World.
“It’s my belief this should be prioritised if only to assure the safety of the residents living there.  It appears to be one of those estates where haste dictated matters,” he said.
“We don’t want to indulge in scaremongering until the facts are established – that’s why the quicker we can conclude a proper inspection and let people know the better,” he added.
The houses are part of the Millfield Manor complex built at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom. The development has been plagued with problems since it was completed while the property firm which built it went in receivership in 2012.
Bust developer Patrick Byrne this week was keeping a low profile and did not respond to attempts by the Sunday World to contact him. The massive mansion he built as his home stands in stark contrast to what’s left of the six houses in Newbridge.
Surrounded by two walls and dotted with CCTV cameras the only sign of life this week were the gun dogs barking behind the ornate gates. His company Barrack Homes was put into receivership by the National Assets Management Agency in 2012 with debts of €25 million.
The residents association previously fought a protracted battle over parts of the development being left incomplete as well as difficulties over legal and financial issues.
There were rows over structural issues and the water supply.
Cllr Crowley has been involved in coordinating a huge community response to help the families who lost everything in the blaze.
One resident Marcin Podmokli said he only had time to get the children out and grabbed the family’s passports.
“How did six houses go on fire so quickly?” he said.
Property developer Byrne was previously heavily penalised by the UK’s insolvency watchdog for transferring money to relatives and hiding assets before being declared bankrupt in Britain.
Byrne (44), with addresses in Thomastown, Caragh in Naas and Athgarvan, Co Kildare (pictured above), as well as Durham in the UK, was declared bankrupt in November 2011, with debts of almost €100m.