Landlord given three months to comply

This article is from page 10 of the 2011-12-27 edition of The Clare People. OCR mistakes are to be expected so download the original SWF or the rendered page 10 JPG

CLARE County Council has brought legal proceedings against a 72-yearold woman arising out of “serious deficiencies” in relation to fire safety at a flats complex in Shannon.

The case was taken by Clare County Council against Maeve Lynch, of Drumgeely Hill, Shannon for failing to comply with a fire safety notice.

Defending solicitor Jenny Fitzgibbon told Ennis District Court on Thursday that her client was pleading guilty.

Assistant fire officer Ger Fallon told the court that he carried out an inspection at Elm House, Drumgeely, Shannon, on January 18 last. He said that there are 21 flats; 20 of which are owned by the defendant. The building is 40 years old, he said.

He said there were “serious deficiencies” in relation to fire safety to exits on the premises namely inadequate means of escape, no working fire alarm and inadequate escape lighting.

Mr Fallon said he served a fire safety notice on February 14 last, which indicated a three-month time frame to carry out works.

He said that another inspection took place on September 28. On that date, some of the works had been completed, but other works were not.

He said that three of the apartments were occupied at the time.

Mr Fallon said that all of the works have now been completed as an inspection was carried out last week. He said that the three main tenants have been moved to ground floor flats.

“I am seeking an undertaking that no other flat will be leased without my approval,” he said.

Ms Fitzgibbon said that this undertaking was given by her client to the assistant fire officer the previous day and he accepted this.

The woman gave this undertaking in court, at the request of the judge.

Mr Fallon told Judge Aeneas McCarthy that he was satisfied for the safety of the current tenants.

Ms Fitzgibbon explained that her client, aged 72, operated a “family orientated business” and that tenants have resided there for more than 15 years.

“They are long standing tenants and regard this as their home,” she said.

“She (Ms Lynch) lives across from Elm House,” said the solicitor.

She said that damage had been caused last year by frozen pipes. “There is extensive water damage in the flats. Electrical works couldn’t be done until the flats were dried out,” she said.

She said this work has now been completed and is fully compliant.

“This has been done at great personal expense. They are up to their neck in debt arising from getting the apartment block compliant,” she said.

“It won’t be finalised by the insurance company for some time,” she added.

“The apartment block would have thrived as a place for people to live over the years,” she said.

Solicitor for Clare County Council Rachael Leahy said the maximum fine is € 3,000, while the council’s costs were € 1,638.

Judge McCarthy said he was satisfied with the undertaking given in court by the defendant and that tenants were not in danger.

He imposed a fine of € 500 and ordered that costs be paid. He gave the defendant three months to pay.

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