RESIDENTS who had to be evacuated from a Northside apartments complex a year ago this week are urging people to support a protest march to mark the first anniversary of the saga.
On October 13, 2011, more than 250 residents of the Priory Hall development were ordered to leave their homes due to fire safety concerns.
Twelve months on, homeowners are still facing uncertainty, not knowing if or when their temporary living arrangements will change or where they will spend Christmas.
The protest march, under the banner ‘March For Justice’, will take place this Saturday, October 13, at 2pm.
Hundreds of people are expected to take to the streets for the march that will start at Donaghmede Shopping Centre and end at the Priory Hall development.
Priory Hall homeowners told Northside People how they’re still living in limbo and out of suitcases exactly one year since they were evacuated from their homes.
Darren Kelly, his wife Melissa and their son Evan (3) and daughter Sophia (14 months) were among those forced to leave the apartment they bought for €250,000 seven years ago.
“No one could ever have predicted that we’d be in this situation one year after we were evacuated because of all the legal battles that have gone on,” Mr Kelly told Northside People.
“The last year has been so stressful, particularly for us as our daughter was just two-months-old when we were forced to move out.
“We still have most of our belongings in boxes because we don’t see what the point is of unpacking when we could be moved somewhere else at any time.
“My wife and I have vowed to make more of an effort to make our temporary accommodation a home for children by putting up Christmas decorations this year to give them some normality.”
Darren said his son Evan still asks when they can return to their “real home” in Priory Hall each time they visit Father Collins Park, which is located directly opposite the complex.
Another resident, Niall O’Reilly, described how he and his partner Rosaleen Finglas have been living out of suitcases for the last year since they were given four days to move out of their property.
“The last year has been a living hell,” Mr O’Reilly told Northside People.
“We’ve been literally living day by day not knowing what will happen next in the saga and how we will be affected.
“We’ve constantly had the threat over our heads that our temporary accommodation arrangement will change or that we will have to pay our rent ourselves, along with having to pay the mortgage on a home that’s unsafe to live in.
“We’ve been left in limbo through absolutely no fault of our own while the various parties fight it out in court to find out who is responsible for all this.”
Mr O’Reilly said he and his partner are simply “existing” in their temporary accommodation.
“We can’t make plans,” he added. “We can’t even hang a picture up or paint the walls because the house we’re in is not our property.”
The residents are hoping that people will come out in large numbers this weekend to support them.