Nov. 2, 2017, 5:49 p.m.
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A house in Dublin’s inner city being used as a hostel should be vacated because of serious fire safety deficiencies, the High Court has directed.
A stay was put on the order over the house on Ossory Road, North Strand until Monday to avoid the 17 or 18 tenants having to leave immediately and to give the person in control of the premises an opportunity to be heard in court.
Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was told Austin Smithers, who is in control of the premises and is resident in the UK, had requested a lawyer to ask the court to put the case back until Monday.
This was to give Mr Smithers an opportunity to instruct his own solicitor who is out of the jurisdiction at the moment.
The court heard up to 30 people had been resident in rooms mostly containing bunk beds but the number currently there is about 17 or 18 people, mostly from Mexico.
It was stated the property had safety deficiencies including no fire alarm, no fire doors and blocked or inadequate fire escape routes.
The judge said he did not wish to see the 17 or 18 people out on the street for the weekend in circumstances where the first inspection of the building was carried out last May.
Conleth Bradley SC for Dublin City Council said efforts had been made to resolve the matter by agreement but, despite a number of promises by Mr Smithers to carry out certain works, nothing had been done.
The most important of the works was the immediate installation of a fire alarm system, he said.
Under conditions of a fire safety certificate issued last month, the alarm was to be installed and other works were to be carried out within six months. The certificate also required a maximum occupancy of 20 persons.
Given the risk to the occupants in the event of a fire, the Council was seeking the property be immediately vacated, counsel said.
In relation to alternative accommodation, the Dublin Homeless Executive had stated the needs of the people involved would be assessed if they presented at its premises at Parkgate House on Parkgate Street, counsel said.
Mr Justice Noonan said he would grant the order sought but put a stay of up to 6pm on Monday when Mr Smithers could have liberty to apply to the court in relation to the order.
“I am conscious this has been going on for some time and I am not criticising the fire authority but I think people should have the opportunity to sort themselves out rather than be told they have to leave”, the judge said.