Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Residents demand Bray Town Council end the Cover-up relating to the Oldcourt Estate in Bray

Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has called on Bray Town Council to end
their cover-up regarding the structural defects in the Oldcourt estate
in Bray and to ensure that the issues highlighted in the 2007 Fire
Safety Audit, which was carried out independently for the council are
addressed in the current refurbishment scheme in the estate. The
Councillor was speaking after 120 residents from the Oldcourt estate
staged a protest outside the Bray Town Council monthly meeting on
Tuesday evening.

Speaking after joining the Oldcourt residents protest Cllr Brady
stated "Its unfortunate that residents must organise protests outside
council meetings to try ensure their homes are made safe once and for
all and that the council listens to them. On Tuesday over 120
residents from the Oldcourt estate in Bray had to take their concerns
to the councils monthly meeting. The newly formed Oldcourt Residents
Action Group held the protest to make the council sit up and ensure
the homes in the Oldcourt estate are made safe once and for all"

The Sinn Féin councillor stated "Bray Town Council must end the
cover-up in relation to the Oldcourt estate and take responsibility
for the problems within the houses. The Oldcourt estate was built in
the 1970's as a temporary solution to the then housing crisis. However
the serious problem in the houses started after a botched
refurbishment scheme in the estate in the late 1980's. The old flat
roof structure was simply built around and the original flat roof was
left in the attic space of the refurbished houses. Since the
refurbishment their have been 15 serious house fires in the estate
which have resulted in the loss of 8 lives"

Cllr Brady continued "During the summer this year an announcement was
made that €1million in funding was being allocated towards a
refurbishment scheme for the Oldcourt estate. I originally welcomed
this as i was under the impression that the problems that had been
identified in 2007 by a team of independent fire safety experts
working on behalf of the council were going to be addressed. In that
audit the experts identified serious problems with the electrics, the
lack of fire breaks and the presence of the highly flammable bitumen
felt in the cavities and on the original flat roofs which was retained
in the attic space. The report stated that the bitumen would result in
an increased fire loading in the event of a fire which would increase
the heat and smoke production allowing the fire spread through wall
cavities. They recommended all the houses be rewired and the bitumen
contained in the walls and in the attics be removed. The issues in
Oldcourt really leave Priory Hall in Dublin in the shade, however the
powers to be acted to ensure the residents safety came first in
Dublin, that is something that is seriously lacking in the Oldcourt

Cllr Brady went on to say "Unfortunately now that the work has started
the council have dressed the works up as a 'Energy efficiency scheme'
It has been very difficult to get any information as to exactly what
works where to be carried out on the houses, the residents have been
completely kept in the dark. The residents recently formed the
Oldcourt Residents Action Group to try get answers about the extent of
the works and to ensure that all the houses in Oldcourt, both council
owned and private are included in the scheme"

"Around 120 locals turned up to the council meeting on Tuesday after i
had managed to ensure the Oldcourt issue was on the agenda. They
staged a protest firstly outside the meeting before filing into the
chamber to voice their concerns to the council.The confidence of the
residents and myself of the scheme was shattered however when the town
engineer confirmed that the main problem in the houses which is the
old flat roof will not be addressed in the scheme, he stated that it
will not be removed nor will the highly flammable bitumen that's on
it. Some of the work has to be welcomed but it does not go far enough
to solving all the problems and instilling confidence in the minds of
the residents" continued Brady

Cllr Brady concluded "The council must end the cover-up of the
problems in Oldcourt. Bray Town Council is responsible for the botched
refurbishment job on the houses that's resulted in so many lives being
lost in the estate. They must now hold their hands up and take
responsibility and ensure that all the houses are brought up to the
highest safety standard and this includes the privately owned houses
which were bought from the council in good faith, but unfortunately
for the owners the council failed to come clean about the serious
problems that existed within them. I call on all elected
representatives to start listening to the concerns of the residents
that they claim to represent and to be a little bit more respective of
them and that includes turning off sky sports on their laptops in
council meetings when residents are trying to put across their
concerns" Ends

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