Developer behind apartments was IRA Maze hunger striker

Priory Hall apartments (picture from RTE) The Priory Hall development in Donaghmede was built by Coalport Developments

The developer behind a Dublin apartment block deemed a fire hazard is a former IRA hunger striker.

Tom McFeely was in the Provisional IRA and spent 53 days on hunger strike in the Maze prison in 1980.

He went on to become a multi-millionaire property developer with an exclusive home on Dublin's Ailesbury Road.

He is director of Coalport Developments, behind the Priory Hall complex now facing fire safety issues.

More than 240 residents are to be moved into emergency hotel accommodation for five weeks while serious fire risks at the Donaghmede site are addressed.

On Monday, a High Court judge in Dublin directed that the evacuation must proceed on Thursday while work is carried out to fix serious fire safety risks.

Coalport Developments is part-owned by Mr McFeely.

On Friday, a court had ordered the evacuation of nearly everyone who lives there.

It had heard safety regulation breaches were so serious, a fire could spread through the whole building in minutes.

A fire engine and four firefighters have been present at the development since then.

On Monday, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns gave residents extra time to discuss alternative accommodation options with the city council.

He also ordered the council to open five dedicated phone lines to deal with the residents.

He said it was very traumatic for people to be put out of their homes.

Emergency

Lawyers for Dublin City Council told the High Court that emergency accommodation was being provided for the residents at a hotel in Swords.

Conleth Bradley for the City Council said city council officials had gone to the development on Saturday and had identified 249 residents, including 96 dependants - either older people or children.

However, some families with young children told the court that hotel accommodation would not be suitable.

On Friday, the court froze the assets of the directors of Coalport Developments, Mr McFeely and Lawrence O'Mahony and directed papers in the case to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr McFeely, who is originally from Dungiven in County Derry served a lengthy sentence for attempted murder of police, possession of weapons and a post office robbery.

When he was released in 1989, he left the republican movement and moved to Dublin where he began work in the building trade.

He made his fortune in property trading and lives in one of Dublin's most exclusive residential areas.

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