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Cllr Dermot Lacey

Representing Pembroke-South Dock Ward on Dublin City Council
Dermot Lacey is a Labour Party Councillor for the Pembroke-South Dock Ward on Dublin City Council. Dermot has been a member of Dublin City Council since 1993, and lives in Beech Hill, Donnybrook.
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 / Cllr Dermot Lacey ƒ Representing Pembroke-South Dock Ward on Dublin City Council

Longboat Quay

Article published in the Evening Herald, Thursday 1st October 2015

Imagine the joy of moving into your nice new shiny apartment in the nice new shiny Dublin Docklands. Dreams and hopes of a good life ahead. Thoughts of walking to work in shiny new Google land up the road, going to the theatre in the shiny new Theatre on Grand Canal Basin or just the simple thoughts of sitting in with your loved ones watching the TV or having friends around.

Imagine then, that all this was shattered. Not because of anything you have done, but because you suddenly get a letter in the door from the Fire Brigade saying that your apartment is unsafe and that you will have to spend a lot of money ( that you don’t have) or else vacate your home.

Well shamefully in this City approximately 900 residents don’t have to imagine that. They are living it. They have been told this.  Residents of shiny and bright Longboat Quay in the Dublin Docklands now face uncertainty of residence and uncertainty of financial obligations that they may have to meet. I know that I could not afford to meet such payments were it me and I don’t believe residents of Longboat Quay should have to either.

Residents have been told that approximately E4million must be raised to pay for the necessary works. That is simply not within their grasp. But perhaps as importantly they should not have to pay it. Longboat Quay was developed in line with the Dublin Docklands Masterplan and with all the benefits that conferred. The Authority, as a State body had an obligation to ensure proper standards and safety of buildings developed under that plan. Residents now know that did not happen.

As a former member of the Dublin Docklands Development Council I was party to drawing up the Masterplan that led to the creation of this vibrant urban quarter. I am proud of the new Public areas, the rejuvenated Grand Canal Basin, the Theatre, the National College of Ireland, the opened up Campshires, but above all I was proud of the housing. Good quality modern housing designed and built for 21st century living in a modern European country. Or so I thought.

In a City that has just managed to fine a ninety-year old woman E1500 for having a satellite dish on the front of her house it would appear we did not have the power, or resources, or inclination to ensure that the safety and building standards could meet the shiny new image that we promoted for Docklands living. I am ashamed of that. I am ashamed at the apparent light touch regulation that seemed to apply to such developments in terms of building requirements. While I am glad that this Government has tightened up on same, that is no comfort for the residents of Longboat Quay.

Given that the Dublin Docklands Development Authority was essentially the Co-Developer of these Apartments and that the Authority is for all practical purposes a State body – it must step in to help these residents.

Very shortly the Docklands Authority will be subsumed into Dublin City Council. It will do so with some residual assets. There will also be some liabilities. My view is that the works required at Longboat Quay is one of those liabilities.  It must also be seen a moral liability on the part of the Receiver for the Developer. This Receiver controls eighteen of the apartments in the complex and at least some of the proceeds from their sale should assist in the payment for the overall works.

Given the simple fact that it has an obligation to those who bought these apartments in good faith and that the Authority remains the owner of all the common areas I am calling on the Docklands Authority and Dublin City Council to step forward and play in their part in resolving the problem. Many people surrounded themselves in the success of the Docklands redevelopment. It is now up to the two agencies involved – the remnants of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and its successor organisation Dublin City Council to step up to the plate. Repair the works and Pay the Bills.

Dermot Lacey is a Labour member of Dublin City Council and a former Lord Mayor of Dublin

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