Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (442, 443, 444)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

452 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will respond to a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34658/12]

View answer

Terence Flanagan

Question:

453 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will respond to a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34661/12]

View answer

Terence Flanagan

Question:

454 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will respond to a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34665/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 452 to 454, inclusive, together.

Legal proceedings in relation to various aspects of the situation at Priory Hall remain before the courts and it would be inappropriate to anticipate the outcome of those proceedings at this stage.

The recent adjournment of the appeal by Dublin City Council against an order of the High Court in relation to the accommodation and ancillary charges of vacated residents to allow for a conciliation process chaired by Mr. Justice Finnegan provides an appropriate context for the parties concerned to work together towards identifying a way forward in relation to this complex problem. The outcome of this process is awaited and it is important that all concerned afford Mr. Justice Finnegan the opportunity to complete the task which he has agreed to undertake.

Dublin City Council has made significant efforts to provide for the needs of residents to date and will continue to work proactively on their behalf towards achieving the much needed resolution of the issues at Priory Hall. Annual Fire Prevention Statistics are published on my Department's website www.environ.ie. The statistical returns for 2009, the most recent year for which returns are currently available, show that 12 prosecutions took place in that year alone. It is the case that the legal proceedings at Priory Hall arose from enforcement action undertaken under the Fire Service Acts of 1981 and 2003. This is in complete contrast to the situations at Belmayne and The Laurels where the respective parties concerned have both faced up to their responsibilities and are cooperating fully with the relevant local authorities in relation to planning and executing the necessary remediation works, and bearing the full costs of such works together with the costs of alternative temporary relocation for affected residents.

Local authorities have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Building Control Acts, the Fire Services Acts and the Planning and Development Acts and have already used such powers on a number of occasions in recent times where concerns in relation to a number of developments have arisen. While neither I, nor my Department, have any direct role in relation to such inspection and enforcement activity, I urge local authorities to continue to use all of the powers currently available to them to address issues of building standards compliance, including in relation to fire safety, on behalf of affected residents in buildings where concerns arise.