Carrick-On-Shannon based firm Patrick Duffy Solicitors have this week served 19 High Court summonses on various stakeholders involved in the Gleann Riada estate, including Longford County Council.
Whilst some summonses are yet to be served, barrister Stephen O’Sullivan and legal representatives Carol Ní Chormaic and Liam Ó Muirceartaigh of Patrick Duffy Solicitors now represent a total of 27 properties in the estate, including some apartments to the rear of the estate.
After proceedings were issued but before they were served, the council announced one month ago that it has secured p360,000 in a development levy bond to help remedy defects in the services and environs of the estate. The council has also been approved just over p290,000 from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government under the Public Safety Initiative.
The homeowners claim that the council and the department failed to enforce planning and building controls. A number of other parties are also being sued by the residents.
Following a gas explosion at one property in the estate in March 2012, a Root Cause Analysis and Risk Assessment Report was carried out by Tobin Consulting Engineers which was published last October 2012. The report found that houses were built on bog or marshland and that, while the buildings were supported on piled foundations, there was no evidence that the sewer network was provided with enhanced foundations.
Whilst the report only assessed a number of houses, it concluded that the explosion was likely caused by the presence of methane gas within the property in question.
The report identifies significant concerns with the construction quality of the sewers and also states that, in theory, the explosion could have happened at any of the properties in the assessed block.
Longford Co Co and the Health Service Executive (HSE) have issued numerous guidelines to the residents such as ventilating houses properly and not to light any fires in their sittings rooms.