Safety fears at Foxford homes

by Gazette Reporter
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A LUCAN resident could reach under his floorboards and into his neighbour’s home because there was no fireproofing, it has been revealed.
Paul Kavanagh left his home at Foxford Court because of concerns over the lack of cavity barriers, which act as fire-stoppers.
He left his home in November, fearing for the safety of his family at the development, which was purpose-built for South Dublin County Council by Newlyn Developments in 2004.
Residents in the 52-dwelling complex bought their homes from the council and their mortgages are with the council.
However, this week the council has said that because the homes are privately owned, the issue must be sorted between residents and the management company or developers.
A council statement said: “Under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), developers are responsible for constructing the development.
“It should be noted that, in this case, South Dublin County Council transferred the Freehold Title to Foxford Court Management Company Limited on June 1, 2006 and, accordingly, the management company is the registered owner.
“Affordable houses were sold to those who fulfilled the criteria for eligibility for the scheme but, ultimately, they became homeowners,” said the council.
The council’s stance has angered residents, including Kavanagh.
He said: “The council built the homes, they signed off on the homes, and they sold the homes to us, and now they’re washing their hands of the whole situation.
“It’s hard to believe that a reputable organisation like South Dublin County Council would have such an issue. They definitely have questions to answer,” he said.
Sinn Fein representative Eoin O Broin said that the council had tried to “wash their hands of the issue”.

He said: “The attempt by the council to wash their hands of the problem is unacceptable. Residents must not be left to pick up the bill for a problem which they did not create.”
A private engineer’s report carried out on behalf of residents at two units in the complex, and seen by The Gazette, recommended “a competent contractor carry out immediate remedial works to install fire-stopping, where required”.
That report was prepared on February 11, but no works have yet taken place.
Sinead O’Flaherty is another resident affected by the issues, and has moved her 11-year-old son out of her home due to safety fears.
She said: “It’s shocking. It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened. Since we’ve discovered the problem, I’ve tried to be here as little as possible. It is constantly on my mind.”
Key to residents’ complaints is the fact that the issue of fire stopping was raised in 2005 by resident Paul Coleman, who discovered the lack of proper such materials in his home.
That issue was brought to the attention of both the council and Newlyn Developments in December 2005.
A May 2006 letter from Newlyn to the council said that Newlyn had completed all items outstanding and checked two units for fire-stopping, finding both to be compliant with regulations.
When contacted by The Gazette, Newlyn said that they had not received any correspondence before last weekend.
A spokesperson said: “We are prepared to engage with all relevant stakeholders if requested to do so in the normal way.”

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