Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has met with Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to push for publication of the “Framework for enhancing fire safety in dwellings where concerns arise” report commissioned following the fire in Millfield, Newbridge. The report includes a case study on Millfield as part of it.
“This meeting follows a number of parliamentary questions I had submitted to Minister Murphy and his predecessors. The minister explained that the report has been finalised and is currently with the Attorney General for legal advice. He assured me that he wants to publish it as soon as he can.
“I am happy that he understands the concerns I raised on behalf of the residents of Millfield and many others, he took them on board and he committed to trying to publish the report in the near future.”
NOTES TO EDITOR
A copy of my most recent parliamentary question is attached below.
* To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning; Community and Local Government the position regarding the review by an independent fire expert into a fire at Millfield, Newbridge and other issues in view of ongoing concern from residents in the development and in further view of the recent fire tragedy in London and the review by local authorities of multi story developments
– Martin Heydon T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 22 June, 2017.
Local Authorities across the State already monitor fire safety measures in their multi-storey social housing flats and apartments, under their statutory obligations, and considerable work is already being done in respect of maintaining standards in relation to fire safety generally, with no known immediate cause for concern.
I met with Dublin’s Chief Fire Officer last Friday, 16 June, to discuss fire safety and life safety issues in light of the London tragedy. I also requested that the management board of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) convene and assess the readiness of the fire authorities to respond to emergencies. In response to this request, the NDFEM Board has confirmed to me that the recent report of the Directorate’s External Validation group found that the public are well served by the developed arrangements in place for fire services in Ireland, and concluded that the available evidence provides for confidence regarding the capability of fire services to respond to emergencies.
Each local authority has been requested, as a matter of urgency, to review their multi-storey social housing units to ensure that all early warning systems, including alarm and detection systems and means of escape including corridors, stairways and emergency exits are fully functional and in place. Life safety must be our first concern.
In terms of raising awareness across landlords, including landlords of households in receipt of social housing supports and rental assistance, the Residential Tenancies Board has been asked to notify all landlords of their responsibilities and obligations as landlords in terms of ensuring that their properties fully comply with fire safety requirements. The RTB is coordinating with Local Authority Fire Departments, who are responsible for ensuring compliance, and the National Directorate Fire and Emergency Management to provide detailed information directly and individually to all landlords in the coming days. The RTB is also placing notices to this effect on its website and in the press.
In order to remind builders, assigned certifiers, designers and owners of their obligations in relation to compliance with the Building Regulations, a notification has issued to all registered users (approx. 57,000) through the Building Control Management System (BCMS).
In July 2015, the then Minister directed that a review be undertaken by an independent fire expert to develop a framework for general application, in the interest of supporting owners and residents living in developments where concerns regarding non-compliance with fire safety requirements arise. A steering group was convened to oversee the review. The independent fire safety expert has completed his review and a report on the matter has been received by my Department. The report remains under consideration pending clarification of a number of issues at which point it is intended that the arrangements necessary for publication will be made.