Environment Minister warns of fire safety problems in other apartment complexes

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Minister Alan Kelly
Minister Alan Kelly

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has warned that fire safety deficiencies identified at an apartment complex in Dublin will be identified elsewhere.

The minister said he believes that the problems identified at the Longboat Quay apartment complex in Dublin have been replicated elsewhere.

Hundreds of residents at Longboat Quay face eviction from their homes, and bills of up to €18,000 to fix fire-safety deficiencies in the Dublin docklands development.

Minister Kelly today warned that similar problems will be identified elsewhere, including at one unnamed development in Co Kildare.

Blaming insufficient regulation in the past, Minister Kelly insisted that the Government has since improved legislation.

But the Royal Institute of Architects is warning that current building regulations do not provide adequate oversight and will not ensure these problems will be avoided in the future.

It is calling on Minister Kelly to urgently introduce a range of measures to improve building standards and better protect homeowners.

Minister Kelly also   said emergency legislation will be introduced if necessary to deal with the housing crisis.

Mr Kelly said he intended to have a “certain amount” of modular units (prefabricated houses) in place for people looking for homes before Christmas.

Emergency legislation, if necessary, would be introduced to fast forward planning, he told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics. 

The Minister was speaking after Fr Peter McVerry said TaoiseachEnda Kenny must accept responsibility for the homelessness crisis and must now intervene in it as a national emergency.

Fr McVerry said although Mr Kelly, got all the blame for the crisis, he cannot solve it on his own.

Meanwhile, the man responsible for the design of Longboat Quay has challenged claims that walls, smoke vents and fire doors are inadequate.

Architect Eugene van Jaarsveld told the Sunday Times he would move into the controversial Dublin development immediately if he had enough money.