00122463Priory Hall resident Stephanie Meehan with her children Oisin (right) and Cerys (then six months) at the Regency Airport Hotel , Swords Road, Whitehall, Dublin in September 2011.

Stephanie writes:

I have emailed you on many occasions, regarding my situation in Priory hall. You have replied once.

On July 15th mine and my children’s lives changed forever, my beautiful, kind, caring Partner and father to my children took his own life. His name is Fiachra Daly. We miss him terribly.

My life will never be the same. My children’s lives will never be the same.

Fiachra was the happiest man on earth, he lived for myself, Oisin (7) and Cerys (2), he never suffered from any form of mental illness or depression, we had been together for 17 years and I never once witnessed any signs.

That is up until the week prior to his death, when we received demands from banks, looking for payment of arrears on a property that we can’t live in, asking us to fill out, yet again, forms to request an extension of our moratorium, all for a property we can’t live in through no fault of our own. The stress, the worry of not being able to provide a safe home for us, his young children, eventually took its toll, as it has on every resident.

He was obviously a silent sufferer, he never complained, he supported me, when I was feeling low, he hated the idea that he couldn’t provide a safe home for us, that I do know, but I thought we’d battle through this together. How wrong was I?

I now have no home, my children have no permanent home, but most importantly, I have no partner and my children have lost their wonderful dad. Our future, security and certainty changed the minute we were evacuated and not one thing has changed in two years, every email, phone call, letter seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

So I ask you, what will it take now for someone to listen and act on something that should’ve been dealt with two years ago and saved a lot of tax payers money and most of all saved a life?

Tom McFeely  {Priory Hall developer] walks around scot free, he’ll never suffer how we are suffering, he’ll never lose what I’ve lost. He’ll start again, I am left with a lifetime of heartache and my children will inherit that too.

Is there any justice in this country?

I’ve lost Fiachra, but I’ve not lost my voice.

Stephanie Meehan

Support The Priory Hall Residents (Facebook)

Previously: Priory Hall on Broadsheet

(Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

Thanks Orla

179 thoughts on “Dear Enda

    1. Colette

      Dear Stephanie and children, I feel for ye this night, I want to help but I do not know how. I heard your recording on tv tonight and I cried. You are a brave woman and a wonderful mother. God bless you and
      your children and every opportunity I get I will spread the word about your cause and that of the other Priory Hall tenants but particularly you Stephanie. Again God bless you and take care of you and your little ones.
      xx Colette

    2. MOJH

      Well done Stephanie for writing this letter at such a difficult time. Best wishes to you and your family.

    3. Margaret Mannering

      I cried for you and your children last night listening to you tell your terrible sad story on The Late late show There’s no words I can say, I just hope the likes of Tom Mc Feely and others who are to blame will pay big time for what they have done to you and others. All I can do is say a prayer for you. God Bless you and your children xx

  1. Mikeyfex

    Very, very tough. People can say all they want about buying off plans with 100% mortgages but when no one in positions of power seem to care that the people you could say are responsible are seeing fewer effects (mentally or financially) of these events than those affected it must be incredibly frustrating. Puts things in perspective.

    1. cluster

      I feel very sorry for them but people really need to take more responsibility when they make the biggest financial investment of their lives. People take more care when purchasing an ipad than a house.

      Research your developer, architect, engineer, builder.
      Hire an engineer/surveyor to do a thorough check.
      Check for historic flooding.
      And do not buy off plans.

      It really is an awful situation they are in now, however.

        1. cluster

          My comment wasn’t aimed at Stephanie. I feel really sorry for her situation. I am sure there are many others in a similar situation who have been stiffed by scumbags like McFeely. There are probably many others, too, who were equally hasty and have been lucky.

          It really is something that we, as a public, should be taking on board for the future. Many housing developers did similar things in the 80s, declared themselves bankrupt and set up new companies with their wife’s/son’s name and started all over again.

          1. the100

            Cluster, you are without doubt a complete Plonker. There is a time and a place for everything and this isn’t it.
            Seriously, pretend for one second that everyone who has commented here is in a room, and someone just made that comment that you made. Can you even begin to comprehend your unbelievable lack of social skills? Are you seriously this stupid in person too? Are you so stupid that you don’t even realise it?

            ——
            On a serious note I will be contacting my TD regarding this. I’m not from Dublin but I will be asking why it’s not sorted out. It could happen to anyone.

      1. Original Cynic

        DCC also bought apartments in the building – how much research did they do? Have person(s) responsible been sacked for incompetence?

          1. Mario Balotelli

            Yep, second post in on a tragic story and the ‘told-you-so’ brigade are out. Genuinely amazed.

          2. cluster

            This isn’t told-you-so.

            If we don’t learn from these mistakes and this difficult period we are going through, we will be back in the sh!t in another decade or so.

            Sympathy for the suffering should not preclude diagnosis.

        1. cluster

          I doubt anyone in DCC has been fired or even reprimanded for that blunder, although I agree that they should be.

          The real crime of our public service is that good, conscientious workers are treated the same as the incompetent and the lazy.

          1. Sgt. Bilko

            “The real crime of our public service is that good, conscientious workers are treated the same as the incompetent and the lazy.”

            Quite often, the good conscientious ones aren’t treated the same, rather they are victimised and isolated for their superior work ethic, greater intelligence and ability and higher moral and ethical standards. Same thing in large private sector organisations. They “cause trouble”.

      2. Tristan

        How can an engineer do a thorough check off plans? 99% of people don’t go through all those checks you so helpfully suggest. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have protection. I presume you are the one person in the world who has read the full T&Cs for iTunes for example?

        Cluster, developers and builders have a care of duty and they (and you) can’t hide behind shiftin the onus on to they purchaser for full detailed checks which, in the real world, people infrequently carry out.

        You should be ashamed of yourself with that comment on this thread when Stephanie has put herself out there like that.

        1. Brendan

          Tristan,

          I would (and would expect everyone else would too) read the terms + conditions for my iTunes if it cost me several hundred thousand euro and i had to live in it for the rest of my life…

          seriously you cannot expect the IRA MAN WHO IS SELLING TO YOU will ensure your home will be ok / fire safe/ not a shithole.

          this is why we have solicitors, engineers, etc. Buying a home without getting it checked is madness.

        2. cluster

          Firstly, an engineer can do a check of the plans. Engineers do reviews of projects (of various levels of complexity) pre-construction all the time. Bridges, for example, undergo a full re-analysis by a separate engineer’s office before construction goes ahead.

          Secondly, residential construction, both here and abroad, is beset with cowboys. Buying off plans is never a good idea for individuals.

        3. cluster

          Tristan, you are making my point for me. Comparing buying a house or apartment with a music download is facile.

          If your iTunes T&C turn out to be very unfair, the worst that happens is that you might lose a few hundred euro of downloaded music.

          For most people, their home is by far and away the most expensive thing they will ever purchase and if they have to pay for a dud home while renting elsewhere they will be in big trouble.

        4. durt

          Surely every mortgage holder had to employ a quantity surveyor to snag list and certify that the property is sound and is a mortgageable asset. Why can they not now sue the Q.S’s?

      3. AmeliaBedelia

        What Cluster? Really? It was the fault of self-certification in the Building Certification Act which allowed developers to assess their own compliance with building regulations rather than with the adjudication of an outside body. This was the case with Priory Hall and other developments and the blame does not lie with potential residents. It would be assumed that certification meant that the building had passed rigorous and independent testing of construction standards, indeed, the dwelling could not be offered for sale without it. And of course, Priory Hall is not an exception: http://lennyantonelli.ie/priory-hall-is-not-an-exception/

        1. cluster

          I agree that self-certification was a silly idea, especially given that residential developers have long had a reputation both for being cowboys and going bust.

          That being said, even if we had retained a Building Control, this is really only ever an audit and anybody about to tie themselves down to a long-term mortgage would be well advised to spend a bit of time and money satisfyign themsleves that it is a good purchase.

          1. Lush

            You went out on a limb there Cluster.
            Unfortunately, I find you are spot on.
            The tragedy that has unfolded as a result doesn’t change the facts.

            We all partied.

          2. Gooner

            As sick to the stomach as I am for Stephanie and her situation, I totally agree with Cluster. Buying a home off plans is madness. That said, does not mean one bit that these people deserve what they got. Tom McFeely should be locked up, not that that will be any use to the Priory Hall residents. The government should at least be writing off their mortgages with the banks, after all it was their employees who signed off on the safety report when the apartments were first built.

          3. Patrick

            Cluster seriously what the fuck did yea even have to bring that up for. I think the whole point of the letter is the fact that nothing has been done about this, and its after taking it tole on her family and all the residents at priory hall, i do pass by them often enough to see the state of them and the neck of the banks looking for mortgages to be paid is sick, nothing has been done the people are been pushed to the side and left with the weight of all this on there shoulders with no help. this girls family has been torn apart by everyone involved in the building and financing of priory hall that includes the ones with the power to help them get justice and rehoused,m its a disgrace how no one is accountable for this apart from the owners yet they having a pot to piss in. And to top it off you come on here and say well yea should of having more sense to check this and that, leave your dickhead comments at home none of us want to no about them going on like an ejit,

            feel terrible for Stephanie i just hope she has a strong family and friends to support here through this tough time,

      4. M

        That makes sense in a country where the people who are supposed to do the building regulation checks during the building phase actually do there job!

        Here they didn’t and no survey etc would have picked up on the issue without taking down internal walls to see that the fire proofing material was missing.

        There were too many short cuts being taken by builders and no one stopping them. This is the result, individuals left with sub standard housing and a hefty mortgage to pay.

        1. cluster

          Who was supposed to do the building regulation checks? The Council do occasional inspections but these will never amount to any more than an audit.

          Generally the architect/engineer signs off on the design and the contractor states that he has built the works in accordance with the design.

      5. Amanda

        Money is not the point she is making they had their home, however they cannot live in it
        The stress of that alone took that man’s life please have some manners towards her and her two children when you stand on your plinth preaching what you would do better.

      6. ann glasgow

        @ cluster you really are something else! the family have suffered at the hands exactly from people like you, insensitive, uncaring you are the kind of peolple that are employed in these agencies that feel its the ordinary persons fault……all of us tried to better ourselve, buy property invest in our families and all want to work…cluster you make me sick to my stomach that you would post such a thing regarding this very brave woman…shame on you

      7. Terry

        Oh get off your moral high horse would ye,the public are not bloody engineers or architects,they trust that the relevant standards are in place ……………… what happened this family is a disgrace and your pious ire would be better directed where it truly belongs!!

        1. cluster

          I have no ire for this family. I feel desperately sorry for what they have endured and I would like to see them helped.

          My actual ire is directed towards scumbags like McFeely and the FF govt. which introduced self-certification without thinking it through all the while inflating a property bubble.

          It is still worth pointing out that there is a culture in Ireland of everybody wanting to buy property but doing so without appropriate levels of care and attention so that others may avoid what Stephanie and her family are going through.

      8. kiwicharlie

        Good god, how can you even leave such a comment – you have absolutely NO idea what this family is going through and others like them who have bought into this development. People like you disgust me. We should be supporting this family and others like them, not giving poor misguided advice such as yours. Shame on you.

      9. Alex Staveley

        “Research your developer, architect, engineer, builder.”

        What a ridiculous thing to say. How the hell is the average person supposed to know how all of this? These professions should be much more regulated but they there is so much greed in this country they are not. There should also be safeguards in place by the local authorities – isn’t that what we pay taxes for.

        Ireland is a terrible country full of me feiners all trying to scam each other and sneer at other’s misfortune.
        Do you think your great because you were so smart not to buy in Priory Hall? Pathetic. Go and help someone if you are so great.

  2. The Citizen

    I felt out of breath reading that. I can’t imagine that level of pain.
    Can I ask who letter was sent to that only replied once?

  3. Duwayne

    This country is messed up in so many ways. What happened to the basic difference between right and wrong?

    1. Ahjayzis

      It was retired and replaced with the concept of Moral Hazard. i.e. sure we can impoverish the next 5 generations to help the banks, we can write off debts for developers, local authorities can’t be held responsible just because they were responsible for enforcement of regulations – but helping a homeowner like this who has done no wrong? Well sure that would be rewarding bad behaviour and we can’t have that.

      1. cluster

        Moral hazard would have meant letting the banks go to the wall.

        Sickeningly, right or wrong, we felt we couldn’t do that.

  4. Original Cynic

    We should all be marching on the (empty) Dáil and pounding on our (holidaying) TD’s offices on behalf of these people.

    Shame on every one of us.

    1. Seanny59

      I fully agree, march & shame the Kildare Street residents. If that`s possible. God help that poor woman & her family.

  5. Brendan

    Very tragic. Poor woman.
    However it has nothing to do with Enda Kenny. What exactly does she want the government to do? Why should the tax payer pick up the tap?
    Genuine questions.

      1. B Bop

        Methinks that McFeely scum is not walking around happily…everyone who lays eyes on his evil ugly mug most likely wishes him eternal bad luck. His conscious is a cesspool of hate…as my grandfather used to say about the bad eggs of society- “He’ll die roaring”

    1. C Sharp

      Justice would be nice. That developer is walking around free and easy after fleecing all of those people and ruining their lives, utterly without shame.

      1. cluster

        It is hard to believe that there is no criminal case to be taken. He was literally putting their lives in danger by not following fire regulations.

    2. ivan

      Well a good start would be that there’s been negligence somewhere along the way. Perhaps by the solicitors acting for people who purchased these flats, or perhaps by engineers who certified them to be in compliance with planning.

      If the problems with the flats were flagged in advance, then money wouldn’t have been handed over – chances are Stephanie and Fiachra wouldn’t have been able to buy – and in the parallel universe, the banks wouldn’t have been harassing these people, because they wouldn’t own the property, not having been advanced the money in the first instance.

      So, really…somebody needs to sue somebody and kick it all off, but of course nobody wants to, because *that’s* a can of worms nobody in their right mind would open.

      You’re right – i’m not sure it’s something Inda can do something about, but there’s still a way of making ‘people’ pay in some shape make or form.

      1. ivan

        *edit*

        in the ‘negligence’ list above, there’s obviously scope to include the developer or anybody else who cut corners.

        1. ivan

          put it like this cluster, as a solicitor, I wouldn’t have handed over the money unless i was sure. Of course, as a solicitor acting for both client AND bank, I’d have come under awful pressure from client, I should think, to just release the money and let them in…sure it’ll be grand.

          Which is why a bank having their own solicitor and checking everything is in order would have been kinda cool in this situation. And a lot of other ones, come to think of it…

        2. cluster

          I should point out that the opinion of compliance relates to the design and not the construction.

          It is not clear to me whether the design was defective, the construction was defective or both.

      2. Joe

        I’d open that can of worms it if it was my property I couldn’t live in and my hard earned money paying a mortgage. request all the data sent to Dublin council for the planning permission, you’ll get all the names of people and companies involved on that. There are probable a few kind experienced engineers willing to help these people, but stop looking for help of FG sura they don’t help the people of this country.

    3. Advertising On Police Cars

      my brother in law works at NAMA and you would vomit in your mouth in disgust with what is going on, he sees well known developers swan in and out getting car loans etc for Mercedes (padi for by the taxpayer) and this poor women is being hounded by banks for payment of a sub standard property. It is right up there with the elderly being jailed for failure to pay TV license fees. I have no issue for tax payer money being used to help people who did nothing wrong ( as in this case.) We have lost our way and the Dail is a facade.

    4. LeScull

      It’s not and should not be up to the taxpayer.
      The laws of the land fall so heavily in favour of the directors of limited liablility entities that they have little to no recourse.

    5. John

      I’m happy for my tax to pay people who are in this situation. After all, we collectively lined the pockets of those who got us into this mess, why not its victims?

    6. Mel

      Whats done is done, buying a home off the plans etc etc, whatever……., fact is this man took his own life because there was no end in sight for these people and then to top if off pressure from the banks and a developer walking free, nothing being done for these people, what is going on in this country this is a dreadful situation, what does it have to do with the government you ask??? well the banks should be told to back off, people are under enormous strain, simply cant make ends meet, the government should be doing something for these home owners, these homes are not fit for purpose, how can you be expected to pay for something you don’t have ???

  6. Mr Meh.

    I have every sympathy to this woman but I think it’s completely unfair to use this to bully Enda Kenny to do more about a LEGAL matter- ie that she entered into a contract that now is worthless. Shame on you broadsheet for publishing this sort of emotional blackmail that looks to bring meaning to suicides when really they are personal tragedies of people (no truely sane person would end their life especially if it meant added hardships for the ones they love). By posting stuff like this you are encouraging people who are sadly thinking that their deaths might be more useful than living and being with your family. to go ahead and kill themselves.

      1. Mikeyfex

        ‘Don’t get the troll accusations here. I want to avoid getting into what is and is not a troll but this is Mr Meh’s opinion. Maybe I’m too naive to think that anyone would possible want to troll this article.

        1. Mr Meh.

          Thank you! Im not a troll- I stand by what I said- I have sympathy for her but it doesnt mean she should use her husbands suicide as reason to force political intervention. And like I said- it will encourage more people who are sadly on the edge that maybe killing themselves would be helpful to their families in the long run.

          1. jt

            What a ridiculous thing to say. How dare you presume that a suicidal person will read this and their immediate conclusion is ‘oh this is a perfect example of why I should kill myself’. If anything, she is the voice of someone who has been left behind, who is heartbroken by the lose of a loved one, how much he is missed. How his suicide has impacted her negatively.
            Also, you take issue with Broadsheet, for publishing this ’emotional blackmail’. This is a letter written by the woman herself. This is how she feels, she was the closest to her husband, if she thinks the financial strain of being made homeless etc was a big contributing factor to her husbands depression, then I’m going to believe her opinion.
            She is a heartbroken woman, looking to salvage some sort of future for herself and her children. I don’t know what to call you, but if you’re not a troll, then you’re a heartless human.

    1. ObsDoc

      Completely agree. Tragic story but essentially emotional blackmail. Nothing to do with the government.

    2. Duwayne

      I think the point is that Enda is the Taoiseach, the big chief, the big kahuna, the high muck-a-muck … ie Leader. And if the Leader of the country cannot knock a few heads together and clobber some resolution for those affected, then what hope for the rest of us.
      It’s a question of leadership.
      The other point is that this case shows the topsy-turvy state we are in where developers who gambled are protected while those who entered into arrangments which they believed were bona fides are punished.
      It’s a question of fairness.

      1. cluster

        We give out about parish pump politics but then we expect the Taoiseach to get involved in sorting out a basic contractual matter.

        They foolishly bought off plans without knowing anything about the developer, architect, engineers or builder. I have huge sympathy because they have been stiffed but this is not the Taoiseach’s job.

        He should be instructing Hogan to see how this sort of thing can be avoided generally.

        1. Duwayne

          “He should be instructing Hogan to see how this sort of thing can be avoided generally.”

          That is called leadership and I think that was the reason for the letter in the first place. More importantly, it is about setting down a marker about (wait for it) the difference between right and wrong …

          1. cluster

            I agree, it is just that every case matters.

            Anyone reading Stephanie’s letter can see the merit in her case, same with every medical card application, same with those who want their child to skip the waiting list for an operation, etc.

            TD’s, especially the Taoiseach, should be working on forming a systems that work for all of us in a fair and effective manner rather than spending their time intervening in individual cases.

    3. John

      Her experience needs to be raised within the public domain and to those in power so we can STOP this happening again. You people who call for us to bury out collectives heads in the sand make me sick. What are our political representative doing if not serving the needs of the people.

      Who else can initiate change, you idiotic troll.

      1. Mikeyfex

        Yes, if I was in such a situation where answers didn’t seem to be coming from anywhere I’d eventually go right to the top too. But, ‘idiotic troll’? Did you read the comment or get a sense that it wasn’t showing sympathy, and react?

        Admittedly, if this were in the US and things were a bit quieter over there at the moment, it would seem like precisely the type of thing Bronco Bama would jump on for good PR, but it’s not his job.

    4. Laura

      McFeely’s background was that of a convicted hunger striker from the 80s maze protests. He’d already demonstrated himself to be a person of little conscience when dealing with others.

      I’m not sure I blame Enda as the core faults go well back, and the tax payer would end up footing The bill. However it does show that that there is a need for ethics in business life as well as politics and the government could look at something to block firmer criminals from sanitizing themselves through legitimate businesses.

    5. Jc

      Shocking reply. I know Stephanie personally and knew her fiancée fiachra since childhood. I can tell you honestly that if there was a person least likely to take their own lives it was him. Everybody that knew him feels the same way and not only the families but an entire community was and is affected by his passing. The only thing that worried and stressed him out was not being able to provide security and safety for his family and yes in the end it’s true they are now not secure but the situation in priory hall has caused so much heartache and stress for so many families. Unfortunately fiachra ended the pain early but stress takes years off lives and who knows the health problems that the other residents have facing them down the road.
      I applaud Stephanie for being so brave and writing that letter. She is the strongest bravest woman I know.

    6. SDaedalus

      Enda Kenny is the Taoiseach. He is responsible for passing legislation. The idea that a matter shouldn’t be raised with him, because it is ‘legal’, is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. The question is whether or not the law provides adequate protection. It doesn’t seem that it does.

      Also the phrase ’emotional blackmail’ is not only crassly insensitive, it has no logical relevance in a context where someone’s representing the Irish public, not dating them.

      If we are to prevent suicide, we need to understand what causes it. Huge respect for Stephanie for having the courage (and it does take courage) to share her story.

    1. LeScull

      blaming civil servants??? i’m sure the clerical officers in the passport office and the nurses working in temple street should be hanging their heads in shame over this….clown

      1. cluster

        Who is responsible for devising the building regulations and for devising the enforcement policy?

        Who advised the FF govt that self-certification was the way forward for building?

        Blaming the civil service is unfair but they definitely have a role.

        1. Duwayne

          “Who advised the FF govt that self-certification was the way forward for building?”

          Interesting question. Of course, there was no lobbying on the part of any of the interested parties. And it has been shown in the past that certain Ministers of above government had a tendency to do the complete opposite to what they were advised by their civil servants. And of course, they had ministerial advisers who are not civil servants and are accountable to no one …

          1. cluster

            True but very little gets done in complete opposition to the civil servants.

            This is why we have not had a major reform of the civil service since 1922 and also why this lack of a re-think of their modus operandi is so damaging.

  7. sammy sausages

    Very sad story…..
    I dont think she actually wants Enda to sort it out himself, but by sending the message to him, at the top, he should be able to organise from within Justice on this matter….Originally the residents were told they would be in before Christmas that year, 2011 i think, that would have been about 3 months of a wait, now 2 years later and the place still looks the same with no end in sight…..
    Total joke and total failure of the system…..absolutly sick thinking about this……

    1. sammy sausages

      zero tolerance should be brought in here on matters like this…….especially when the developer gets off lightly…….Gggrrrrrrrrrr

    2. Continuity Jay-Z

      What I will take from this is that politicians by thier actions or inactions affect people’s lives in some shocking ways. Their lack of courage to do the right thing in favour of the ‘party’ has real consequences.

      Politicians treat their job like a game.

  8. ReproBertie

    Instead of DCC spending a fortune on renting hotel rooms why can’t a property be taken from NAMA and given to the Priory Hall residents? Transfer the mortgages to the new property and let them live there and get on with their lives? In turn NAMA takes Priory Hall and chases the developer, quarry and who ever else is involved in this cock up.

    1. Continuity Jay-Z

      This. I am conflicted about Priory Hall. I believe in personal responsibility. Nobody forced those people to buy those properties and to some degree the taxpayers should not be on the hook for their poor decision, however the fact that nobody has been held to any meaningful account for that and a litany of other egregious acts in the property market means there should be some natural justice applied.

      I would side with Repro Bertie in a transfer of mortgages to other NAMA held properties as a relief for these people. I think the costs associated with that action would be miniscule from the taxpayers perspective and would give the Priory Hall residents some measure of relief.

      1. ReproBertie

        Nobody forced them to buy the property but it’s not as if they were told the property was a bit cheaper because it was a pyrite-filled fire hazard and they decided to take a chance. It’s a bit harsh to blame them for making a dodgy decision.

    2. John

      It’s a complete travesty that these people haven/t been rehoused. The state failed to ensure the building was up to code, it should rectify the situation immediately.

      1. cluster

        It will never be the state’s responsibility to ensure that the building is ‘up to code’. I am pretty sure that even jurisdictions with stricter Building Control don’t assume responsibility for that.

        1. Tristan

          Are you for real Cluster? I would have thought you’d be keeping your mouth shut on this thread by now. The state is responsible for high-level legislation across the board. This is partly what our taxes fund. Making sure building is “up to code” is PRECISELY what the State should be doing.

          That said, they and their regulators were asleep at the wheel at best, and incompetent and criminal at worst during the financial crisis so it’s not hugely surprising that the state is ineffective in other areas where it has a remit.

          And to all those other idiots questioning why Stephanie has written to Enda – it’s blindingly obvious – he is in charge of the country. When go to your local TD’s clinic with a problem, nobody is expecting the TD to be personally responsible for the problem. Politicians put themselves in the frame because they understand what the job entails – you lot clearly do not.
          It’s not Enda’s problem directly but he might just put wheels in motion to help these people. That is what Western democracy, theoretically, is about.

          1. cluster

            Tristan, I’ll ignore your childish insults and explain what I meant.

            The state is never going to inspect ever single part of a development and sign off that every single bolt, piece of fire-stopping, sheet of drainage membrane has been installed correctly. Nor are they going to accept full responsibility for the work that a private sector builder does for his client.

            They are a numebr of measures they make take including:
            1) making the councils do more regular inspections.
            2) make building designers submit all calculations etc. for approval.
            3) Hire more professionals as inspectors – at present most of them aren’t.
            4) Put more onus on designers to be responsible for regular inspections.
            5) Insist that projectsabove a certain size have a full-time Resident Engineer or Resident Architect on-site.
            6) Beef up criminal legislation so that it is easier to convict shoddy builders/developers.

            Most of this will increase the cost of building generally but would be worthwhile in my view.

    3. Richie

      +1 Excellent suggestion. Unfortunately it’s exactly the kind of practical thinking which is sadly lacking among the relevant decision-makers. Wish I could be more optimistic but two years of inaction on Priory Hall has not filled me with confidence.

    4. Duwayne

      Yet, we compensate (rather handsomely too) turf cutters (big mechanical turf cutters too) for “loss” of their turbary rights but … Ah feck it, make ya give up wouldn’t it

  9. Sinabhfuil

    What puzzles me about this is that the banks, who had a surveyor representing them assess the condition of the apartments before they released the loans, should not themselves be accepting responsibility.

    1. Tommy

      Why? You have fundamentally misunderstood the banks role in purchasing property. They provide finance. They do not provide consumer protection. They are only interested in protecting their asset in the case of non payment.

      1. Hector Ramirez

        And I think the poster is getting to that in his/her own way. If the banks surveyor carried out his duties, would he not have told the banks the place is a heap of shite? If they did, why did the banks then release money for a heap of shite?

        1. Robocop

          The banks probably didn’t care that much, they were more interested in short term bonuses. Their lending policies were ridiculous and they paid the price with complete wipeout and nationalisation. That is a completely separate issue however.

          1. Misty

            BUT it isn’t a seperate issue! It’s all part of the one big shit heap called “Ireland of Today”!

    2. Original Cynic

      Remember that DCC also bought properties in the building. Did they carry out proper checks?

      1. cluster

        This raises an even more depressing side of the case.

        It is one thing for individual families to be a bit lax in this matter but the DCC surely has the expertise, experience and financial clout to do this properly

        1. Original Cynic

          Would have thought they would have been, at the very least, competent. Head of DCC at the time is now in charge of Irish Water ……. fills one with confidence doesn’t it

    3. Sgt. Bilko

      The banks have the property valued, not surveyed. That responsibility falls upon the purchaser.

  10. sentino

    This is simple.

    The council issued the fire certs, negligently failing to check that the work had been completed to standard, so the council should pay the cost of repairing the building or rehousing the residents.

    This does not need a legal remedy – there is a moral imperative on the council – or on its parent, the state – to do the right thing.

  11. Brendan

    Has actually read anything about this case or are you all just imagining what happened? He wasn’t just let walk away – he was prosecuted.

    McFeely was brought to court, fined and jailed for not doing the repairs. The supreme court overturned the fine and jail time – McFeely argued that he could not have done the repairs since he was barred from the site. A simple fact that the city council legal team overlooked – it allowed him to win his appeal.

    So they tried to convict him and fine him but it was overturned by the courts and some legal wrangling. If you want to blame someone for lack of punishment, maybe blame DCC’s legal advice.

    If this story tells us anything – its caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. Anyone buying a house or apartment should get it checked by a professional. By the sounds of it the entire block is a shithole besides the fire regulations. Look at the photos in the following article: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/column-i-loved-living-in-priory-hall-i-loved-this-apartment/

    Its sad for the tenants to get burned like they did. It’s a big eye opener for the rest of us.

    1. Nigel

      Actually, it seems anyone buying a house simply cannot trust any of the professionals involved, from the regulatory framework to the inspectors and enforcers to the surveyors, engineers, developers and, last but not least, the developers, let alone the banks or the lawyers. The buyers cannot trust ANY of the professionals upon whose expertise they have to rely. The whole system is designed to allow them to purchase a shoddy, if not downright dangerous house with little to no legal or financial recourse. And it’s too late, because the country is now covered with houses built and bought within this system. For the love of God fix the system (they won’t, not really) but we have to acknowledge the damage done is staggering and will be with us even longer than the banking debt.

  12. Tubba

    Ah now Enda is a busy guy – he’s not got time to deal with the little people. He’s very busy sending CV’s to the chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Josephine Feehily for his constituents.

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/enda-kenny-mailed-constituents-cv-to-chairman-of-revenue-29491117.html

    If they sort this out they are on the line for all the other s**t box developments crumbling down around negative equity owners and that just won’t do. They want this to go away and are hiding behind ‘legal’ issues. Maybe all the money he ‘saves’ from abolishing the Seanad could go to these people and help them have some normal living standards.

    The councils who passed these death traps safe, the banks who surveyed the properties and the developers who built them are to blame.

      1. Tubba

        Right so the Council knew in 2006 and still let people purchase and move in – that’s even worse. I’d say they are negligent Brendan wouldn’t you? Oh and the same council bought nearly half of these properties for affordable housing despite knowing about serious risks from fire and safety.

        1. Brendan

          the council asked that the concerns be addressed.

          they then were presented with certification from a fire safety company AND the architect saying that it was fire safe.

          ???????
          I don’t see how they are liable?

          1. Tubba

            Council spot serious fire safety issues with buildings, ask that it be fixed. Developer says issues ‘fixed’ and here’s a cert and they went back YEARS later to inspect after they bought half the place with your tax money.

            You’re right – they are not liable, just move along, nothing to see here and nobody from a public service perspective has anything to do with this mess. Are you Phil Hogan by chance?

          2. Brendan

            Tubba,

            That’s not what happened. Read the article i posted from the journal.

            DCC pointed out rectifiable fire safety issues such as non-covered pipes and the like. No biggie.

            Developer informed. Supposedly remedial work carried out. The building was then certified by a major international fire safety company and by the architect – standard procedure. Nearly all buildings are certified this way – DCC does not inspect buildings itself *usually*.

            THEN the fire brigade were called one day and DCC, (knowing that there had been issues raised early on that were supposedly sorted out) went to inspect and found it wasn’t up to fire standard. DCC were duped like everyone else.

            And no i’m not Phil Hogan, i’m not from DCC, i’m not a developer, i’m not a civil servant and i’m not a member of any political party.

            I just don’t think that the government should get shafted with every cock-up in the country. It has nothing to do with them.

            the only possible thing you could criticise would be the fact that builders can self certify using architects or fire safety consultants. Maybe we should move to a situation whereby the council has to inspect each development?

  13. H

    Do the Irish Government not have the power to change the law so that this kind of thing is

    a. dealt with properly i.e. those culpable are made to pay
    b. avoided in future

    That’s what I read the letter as asking for but I don’t know how these things work in the ‘old country’

    1. cluster

      This is major problem in most countries and really though they can improve the situation, it is hard to see how the government can achieve a) or b).

      ‘those culpable are made to pay’
      If a developer goes bankrupt, what can the system do? Perhaps he can be prosecuted and jailed but that doesn’t pay for remedial works needed.

      The govt. can tighten up the system to put more direct reponsibility on the building professionals – architect and engineers (and they are doing this) and they could make a determined effort to prosecute dodgy builder/developers.

      The nearest thing to a surefire solution is for the buyer to take care. Don’t buy off plans, employ an engineer to check the place, and make sure the developer/builder/architect/engineers have a good reputation.

      1. Tristan

        Seriously, give it a rest. You’re embarrassing yourself with your breathtaking ignorance and simple black and white logic and, more importantly, you are upsetting other people – probably including the original poster.

        Give it a rest.

        1. cluster

          The word ‘ignorance’ doesn’t mean what you think it means, Tristan.

          It is about time we applied a bit of logic to policy making in Ireland rather than constantly reacting to emotion.

  14. Brendan

    One last comment:

    ppl seem to think DCC inspects buidlings and gives fire safety certs. it doesn’t usually.

    From their website:
    Who can prepare a Fire Safety Certificate application?
    -Usually a Fire Safety Certificate application is made by a Fire Safety Consultant, Architect or Engineer who is familiar with the Building Regulations and the procedure for applying for a Fire Safety Certificate.
    Will Dublin City Council inspect and certify my building when it is finished?
    -No. You should employ your fire safety consultant to oversee the fire related issues of the works. When the works are finished, you should request a certificate of compliance from your consultant. This should certify that your building has been constructed in accordance with the Fire Safety Certificate and the Building Regulations.

    http://www.dublincity.ie/WaterWasteEnvironment/DublinFireBrigade/FirePrevention/pages/buildingcontrolfiresafetycertificatesfaq.aspx

    BLAME developer, architect, fire safety company, whoever. Don’t blame the council. Or the government.

    1. Original Cynic

      What member(s) of staff in DCC was responsible for carrying out these checks before the purchase of their (now uninhabitable) apartments? Don’t blame anyone in DCC. Really!

      1. Brendan

        Original cynic,

        Yep, DCC were duped like everyone else by the supposed fire certification. I would of thought / hoped DCC would check properties they are personally buying thoroughly – they obviously don’t

        1. Original Cynic

          Head of “duped” DCC now in charge of Irish Water …………………………God help us all!!!!!!

  15. Annie

    29th August 2013

    Dear Enda,

    Stephanie Meehan emailed you on many occasions, regarding her situation in Priory Hall. You have replied once.

    On July 15th Stephanie Meehan and her children’s lives changed forever. Her beautiful, kind, caring Partner and Father to her children took his own life. His name is Fiachra Daly. They miss him terribly. Her life will never be the same. Her children’s lives will never be the same.

    Fiachra was the happiest man on earth, he lived for Stephanie Meehan and his children Oisin (7) and Cerys (2), Fiachra never suffered from any form of mental illness or depression, they had been together for 17 years and she never once witnessed any signs.

    That is up until the week prior to his death, when they received demands from banks, looking for payment of arrears on a property that they can’t live in, asking them to fill out, yet again, forms to request an extension of their moratorium, all for a property they can’t live in, through no fault of their own. The stress, the worry of not being able to provide a safe home for them, his wife and young children, eventually took its toll, as it has on every Priory Hall resident. Fiachra was obviously a silent sufferer, Fiachra never complained, Fiachra supported Stephanie Meehan, when she was feeling low, Fiachra hated the idea that he couldn’t provide a safe home for his family, that Stephanie Meehan does know, but Stephanie Meehan thought they’d battle through this together. How wrong was Stephanie Meehan?

    Stephanie Meehan and Oisin (7) and Cerys (2) now have no home, Stephanie Meehan’s children have no permanent home, but most importantly, Stephanie Meehan has no partner and her children have lost their wonderful Dad. Their future, security and certainty changed the minute they were evacuated and not one thing has changed in two years. Every email, phone call, letter seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

    Stephanie Meehan asks you Enda, what will it take now for someone to listen and act on something that should’ve been dealt with two years ago and saved a lot of taxpayer’s money and most of all saved a life?

    Tom Mc Feely walks around scott free, he’ll never suffer how Stephanie Meehan and Oisin (7) and Cerys (2) are suffering, he’ll never suffer how all the Priory Hall former residents are suffering, Tom Mc Feely has not lost what Stephanie Meehan has lost. He’ll start again, Stephanie Meehan is left with a lifetime of heartache and her children will inherit that too. Is there any justice in this country?

    Stephanie Meehan has lost Fiachra, but she has not lost her voice and our voices are with her.

    Kind regards,

    Ann Maria Dowling

  16. Tickl

    Very sad story, but there are many more out there.
    We as a nation have really lost our way.

    Sorry for you troubles Stephanie.

    Your home means nothing in the greater scheme of things that is the modern Ireland, but the housing market means a lot more.

    :(

  17. Tickl

    Just to add, those having a go at McFeely are wrong. He is a baddie, true. But what check and balances were in place to stop people like him. The typical Irish person. Shrue yeh know how it is and all that

    I’d walk into a bank tomorrow and take all their (your) money with no guilt, bar I’d go to jail for it.

    There are many bad people out there. isn’t that why we have proper (or in this case sh*te) checks etc.

  18. Rachel

    I really cant believe some of the comments I’m reading here. Do people really believe that the property buyers are responsible for checking out the builders and developers? This story describes the life of a husband and father which has been cut short, by the arrogance of our government’s refusal to actually step in and do something to help these residents. This government is led by Enda Kenny, so this lady has every right to write to the main man to plead for help. And yes, this government is responsible to answer this woman. Poor regulation, including self certification is one of the main reasons behind the mess of Priory Hall. There have been so many tribunals about planning due to corrupt politicians that it leads me to believe there could be more to this story that we have yet to hear about. 2 years on these people cannot live in the homes they bought, which were all surveyed by the banks that hold the mortgages that these people are expected to pay. If I buy a car, and a fault is discovered, the manufacturer recalls the car and fixes the problem. If I buy goods that are not fit for the purpose intended, there is legislation there to protect me. But if I buy a house, which is later found not fit for habitation, even after it has been passed by our planners, our regulatory building inspectors, and the banks own surveyors there are no measures in place to protect my interests? I wonder what would happen if all these families handed back the keys? Somehow I think the banks would “persuade” Enda to rectify the situation. Couldn’t have the banks at a loss now could we – the same “banks” that were ringing this poor man trying to force him to pay a mortgage on a home that DCC evacuated him from – never mind the loss of a Father and husband to this brave lady. I wish her well, I’m sure her sorrow will be lost on the person she wrote her letter to.

    1. cluster

      Your analogy is wrong, Rachel. If you bought a car from a dodgy car manufacturer and discovered a fault but he went bust, you would have no come-back. McFeely should have fixed this building but he is ‘bankrupt’.

      The reason car manufacturer’s are so quick to recall cars with a fault is that want to maintain their reputation. When buying a car, most of us google the make of car, look at car comparison websites, talk to friends with similar cars, buy from a manufacturer with a good reputation and probably take it for a test drive. That is the least we should do when entering into a contract which will likely take 20 years to pay off.

      None of that is to lack compassion for Stephanie’s position nor to suggest that we shouldn’t decide to help the Priory Hall residents.

    2. Sgt. Bilko

      “Do people really believe that the property buyers are responsible for checking out the builders and developers?”

      The non-infantile do, certainly, however small a percentage of the population they appear to be.

  19. Aideen Gleeson

    Is stephenie’s letter not about the lack of action to help right the wrong? She’s not looking for reasons why priory hall happened or how it could’ve been avoided. That’s the least of her worries now. She wants and needs support to help house her family and she’s asking our government to do what they should have done two years ago. Their pleads have falling on deaf ears and now she’s left to fight this battle on her own while she tries to come to terms with a loss that most of us can’t comprehend. She needs help, not an economic masterclass in savvy investment research.

    1. Rachel

      You are absolutely correct Aideen, and no help seems to be forthcoming at all. I can’t even begin to imagine the grief and heartache involved. And the awful truth is it could have, and still could happen to any one of us. Nothing has changed in 2 years, but lives have been turned literally upside down :(

  20. Rachel Rooney

    beautiful brave woman .. u will be the best role model for your babies ..this is a disgusting story and anyone who believes that u should have checked what developer u had is an inane impersonal idiot .. our government are paid to protect us not use us which they have.. i dnt doubt for a minute u are not exhausted .. and no more wanted any of this but you are so brave xx I do know how hard it is to fight them but never to go through what ur goin through xxxxxxxx

  21. SEAMUS KELLY

    Hi,
    I saw you on the news holding back the tears, and I am so sorry that you had to lose Your Partner. Ireland in 2013, let Your Partner down, the Citizens, that reside here also let him down,
    And worse those in Government have let not just You and Your Partner down but the whole State. You are doing what others FAIL TO DO, SPEAK OUT. may the Angels and the Light of Your Partner guide and help You on Your Journey.
    Seamus Kelly

  22. Katrina

    Like Stephanie I too bought ‘off plan’ why because a house I really wanted I couldn’t afford. I too got 100% mortgage because at the time it was my only option. And getting my foot on the property leader was my plan to build my future. Heavily did I pay for a house that now is not worth half it original value. Plenty of people in my position. Stephanie firstly can I say I am so so sorry for your loss. I understand the pressure felt when unable to pay a mortgage or to be stretched so far each month that you done know if you’ll be able to pay or live for that month. Much do I understand the depression that comes from the constant worry of how you will get through each month each day each hour in some cases. But to have on top of that a home that is unliveable, plus a young family to provide for, the anxiety must be eminence. I applauded you for honesty and your bravery for putting your story out there. Everyone knows the factual story of priory hall, you don’t get to hear how residents are really affected. Stephanie for you lose your partner in life the one person you tell everything to depend on and vice a versa (any one with love of their life understands were I’m coming from) the father of your children to me is heartbreaking beyond words. No bricks and mortar are worth that, but yet that’s what it’s taken. And yes there is my a person on here with their shoulda woulda coulda’s and there I told ya so’s. Any one can make a mistake including anyone of you! But none will pay the high price this brave lady will have to live with all the days of her life. Walk a day in someone’s shoes with problems you never dreamed and then come back to me with ‘terms+conditions’. I urge anyone with the power to do anything to help these please do and bring back the moral compass to this country because it is fading faster each day. Stephanie my thoughts and prayers with you and your family may you find the strength to stand strong.

    1. maura walsh

      I would like to say to you stephanie , i am so sorry for your loss.
      Katrina you have said it all. I am a very sad Irish women today.

  23. Pam Martin

    Shocking, Edna you are governing this country, how could you let this go on …. Sort it, these poor family’s what they are going through is a disgrace, surely there is enough in Nama to re house these people there is property”s all over Dublin empty or not finished there are people homeless, while construction site owners, and bankers are well cushioned. Get the ordinary workers brick layers plasters plumbers working again finish the sites and home All these people. Don’t turn a blind eye this requires URGENT ATTENTION.
    My heart goes out to this poor family for their loss.

  24. Matthew Kiely

    Stephanie, I missed the news but I have read your story and the comment here, my sympathies to you and your kids on the loss of their Daddy. I do hope something comes of all this, I think myself that the day of marches is gone, it is the same old spectacle that never amounts to anything. Withholding our taxes now that would bite them, I know PAYE can’t do it but a lot of us can. Like the way the French train strikers – Strike, not by not working but operating the trains and not collecting any money, you need protests that hit them where it hurts and not the same old same old. Tom McFeely my you burn in hell or one of those shoddy apts.

  25. Sassy

    Cluster, there’s a time and a place for everything. I appreciate your opinions but as someone who has a family member who suffers from depression and ended up in a psychiatric hospital over similar matters last year, I so understand how things like this, or less,can tip someone over the edge. If I had to read someone telling me he should have known better it really would upset me. I’m sure they didn’t need you to point that out, have some tact. Maybe they made a mistake but they didn’t do anything wrong, but the feckers who did wrong in the first place are the ones that need to pay, You are basically saying serves you right, and that is not nice!

  26. Melvin

    Truly sad, the Priory Hall ‘residents’ have been utterly shafted. My condolences to Stephanie and their families.

  27. Sheila

    Stephenie and her gorgeous children have been robbed, not once but twice by the same people! By that piece of sewer scum of a so called builder retired (allegedly) from the IRA our Government. Doesn’t matter if it was FF any more, Kenny, if true to his word should have sorted this long ago. If new laws in catching the culprits involved were passed, it could be possible. Architect, Health & Safety Supervisor, DCC, the scum bag builder, the foremen on the job at the time, the politicians, etc. etc. etc. should have all their assets frozen and jailed. If I had to, I’d help build it!

    Stephenie, what comes around, will go around. Sadly, not in the time you need it to happen, but it will happen. Stay strong and know that your partner is with you in spirit. x

    Unfortunately, the Irish are known as ‘the thick and dirty, drunken Irish’ well, they are now known as the cowardly human race, because that’s what we all are, every one of us, because we have the mentality of ‘well, I’m alright jack’.

  28. paul

    why two years down the road not one thing has happened about this priory hall mess, i dont have to tell why they just dont give a f–k, the only why to get them off there overpaid holes a do something is embarrass them get the message out internationally im sure there a lot of media and news people outside this country who would run with this story ,it needs to be highlighted everywhere and all the time not just now and then, iv been on the marches with the priory hall residents over the years and still no end to this, im sure this man took his life over this .id of took a few of them with me that caused this mess as i said before they just dont care what happens to the priory hall people its time to stop the peaceful protest ,why dont all the residents get your kids friends supporters and have a sit down protest some were along the m50 block it for the day have a barbie on it do this on major roads once a week the airport road block it get on to the runway block it, get the p hall back in the lime light
    dont go to work for a week in protest sure the gards did it a got what they wanted ,think emmbarresment ,

  29. lily lowry

    Dear lord what is this country comeing to when a young mans life is gone a young mother and 2 children are left homeless trough no fault of there own and the swalks free . GOD BLESS you and your children i am so sorry for your loss .

  30. ciarn

    The banks send out experts to inspect these homes b4 the loans ar given. So who clearsd these flats for the monies to be transfered to the builder. They and the banks are at fault

  31. JIM FITZPATRICK

    Make them give the kickbacks back. How else could such a mess happened. Where were Fingal and the fire officers, planners, inspectors when this went to final approval. All well wrapped up in bed, fast asleep…deliberately.
    The Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councillors have a lot to answer for but do yo actually think Enda or any of that bunch of crooks give a shite. They have their obscene salaries and vast crooked pensions to think about.

  32. Miles O@Tool

    This lady and her family are victims of what the establishment would consider to be collateral damage. Suicide has become very common over the last few years. Many are because of money reasons.

    It appears not to be considered a huge deal if people lose their houses and sometimes lose their lives as a result of policy and mismanagement.

    Stephanie and her family can be comforted knowing that the bondholders and foreign speculators have not lost out. As the kids grow up without a father they can be happy knowing the civil servants and politicians are getting a good pension.

    Cases like this make you realise that priorities are upside down. Our “leaders” are more concerned with appeasement of big business than looking after their people.

    How many more suicides are needed before somebody takes notice?

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