Wicklow/East Carlow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the allocation of €5.3 million in funding for phase 3 of the essential fire safety work in the Oldcourt housing estate in Bray. Teachta Brady who has lead the campaign for the fire safety works in the estate to be carried out has critised the delays in progressing the work and has said that the work needs to be extended to cover all houses in the estate.
Speaking after the funding was secured the Sinn Féin TD said “I welcome the fact that the funding to allow the essential work on the houses in the Oldcourt estate is to be made available .Two phases of work within the estate have seen a large number of houses refurbished and the serious fire safety issues get addressed. However funding dried up a year ago and work in the estate can to a complete stand still. I have raised the issue directly with the Minister directly on a number of occasions in the Dáil. Thankfully the work can commence again in the near future, ensuring that the houses can all be made safe. However the scheme needs to be extended to ensure privately owned houses which were bought from the council in good faith, are also made safe. ”
“The Oldcourt estate was built in the 1970's as a temporary solution to the housing crisis at the time. However the serious problems 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 there have been 15 serious house fires in the estate which have resulted in the loss of 7 lives. An independent fire safety audit was carried out in 2005. The findings were published in 2007 and this report outlined a substantial number of things that needed to be done in the houses to make them safer.”
Brady went onto say “The work to date in the houses has addressed all of the identified fire safety problems; it also has the added benefit of improving the energy efficiency of the homes. Both the Government and the Council are acutely aware of the damming Fire Safety Report relating to Oldcourt, and they have a duty to the people living in all the houses in the estate that all the houses are brought up to fire safety standard without delay.”
Teachta Brady who is a long time campaigner on the Oldcourt issue concluded “There is another dimension to this, we are in the midst of a housing crisis, and families are lingering on lengthy housing waiting lists for 12 years and more. In Oldcourt the council has 8 boarded up houses that are needed to move families into when the work is been carried out on their home. Therefore, it’s critical that the work is progressed as swiftly as possible so these 8 houses can be permanently allocated to needy families in the area.”