Priory Hall Residents Protest
One year after being removed due to the safety of their homes residents of Priory Hall on Dublin's Northside took to the streets to protest at a year of inaction from the Justice System, Dublin City Council and the Government. The protesters marched from Donaghmede Shopping Centre to the site of their bricked off homes in the leafy suburbs of north county Dublin. For many of the residents Priory Hall was to be their first home, where they and their family would grow. Their dreams were wiped away as news about the safety of the building became increasing apparent to them and Dublin City Council. On the 13th of October 2011 residents were ordered by the court to leave their homes immediately. Families and Individuals were given little time to move, in the first number of weeks the residents were put up in hotels by Dublin City Council and are now in temporary accommodation. Their mortgages continue to build up interest, while they continue suspend paying their banks until their situation becomes more certain.
The protest march was followed by speech from some of the residents at Priory hall. Graham Usher explained that the government and politicians should not be let off the hook saying that laws had be past to allow self-certification and the provision of a fire certificate before a brick is laid at a development.
He called "Tom McFeeley ... not just a terrible builder [but] he is a greedy crook who threw up Priory Hall because he knew he would get away with it. One year on he has not served a day in jail, hasn't spent one cent in fines, hasn't contributed one Euro to the residents. 256 people were evacuated from their home because of him, 256 people live in dangerous homes for 4 years, 100 families are now facing mortgages in homes they will not live in again and Tom McFeely has walked away from all responsibility"
The residents blame the failure of Dublin City Council to do their job when they knew that Tom McFeeley had left numerous other sites in unsuitable conditions, Graham Usher went on to explain that Dublin City Council continue to go to the Courts to try to take away the residents' only safety net of temporary accommodation.
Stephanie Meehan spoke about her first family home and how she and her husband spent weeks planning their new home with their son and their new born daughter. She explained the absolute confusion of the residents and of the hotel staff who were not aware of their arrival on the first day in October 2011. She concluded by explaining "For the last 12 months we have live month to month dreading the thought of having to pack everything yet again and move from the accommodation provide by NAMA. These are appartments and houses but these are not homes, not our homes. A home is where you can hang photos our wall. Where you can decorate our children's rooms to our own tastes. A home is where you can know you can stay indefinitely Priory hall was our home but due to the incompetent builder and incompetent Dublin City Council Priory Hall will never be our home again."