Minister for Housing must publish fire safety report

June 28, 2017

The Minister for Housing is sitting on a major fire safety review completed over a year ago while today announcing a separate review in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze, the Social Democrats said today.

Dublin Bay North Councillor Cian O’Callaghan said:

“Mr Murphy is saying that the Grenfell Tower fire is going to change how Irish authorities deal with fire safety. Yet his own department has sat on a review that was commissioned by it following a rapid spread fire that devastated a row of timber-framed houses in the new-build Millford Manor housing estate in March 2015. This report was completed 15 months ago, but was never published, let alone implemented. Now the Minister is now rolling out a review of fire safety in the multi-storey social housing sector. It is deeply disappointing that we have not learned lessons from the earlier review.”

“Documents released to me under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Department of Housing is already aware of the problem of rapid fire spread in timber frame developments constructed in recent years. The Minister must address the problem of fire safety defects and the lack of compliance with the fire safety building regulations in these higher density developments.”

Cllr O’Callaghan said Minister Murphy must take the following actions immediately:

  1. Publish the Fire Safety Review that his department has sat on the for the last 15 months. This review was ordered after a rapid spread of fire at Millfield Manor destroyed a terrace of six new build houses in half an hour. This report was completed 15 months ago, but was never published, let alone implemented.
  2. Conduct a fire safety audit of all housing developments constructed between 1990 and 2014 when self-certification of compliance with the Fire Safety Regulations by the developer was taking place.This audit should commence with timber frame developments where there have been several instances of rapid spread of fire.

Cllr O’Callaghan added:

“The loss of life by rapid spread of fire in higher density developments poorly constructed at the height of the boom is entirely avoidable if there is swift and decisive action now. To date we have been lucky that most fires that have spread rapidly have occurred during the day time and were responded to quickly by the fire services – we cannot afford to take the risk of fire breaking out at night time when people are asleep in higher density developments.”

ENDS
28 June 2017

Cllr Cian O’Callaghan is available for comment on 086 286 6631

Notes for the Editor:

On March 31 2015, a fire spread rapidly destroying a terrace of six new build houses in half an hour in Millfield Manor, a timber frame estate.  An investigation was launched by the local authority which found major fire safety deficiencies.
In September 2015, the then Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, announced a review to “develop a framework for general application” in homes where concerns had been raised about fire safety. A full 15 months after the review was completed, the government has still not published it.