Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South Fiona O’Loughlin has said she is disappointed by the approach taken by the Government in dealing with serious fire safety concerns at Millfield Manor Estate in Newbridge. Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments following the publication of the Framework for Enhancing Fire Safety.
6 homes in Millfield Manor were burned to the ground on 31st March 2015 after flames rapidly spread from an isolated fire which ignited in one house. A subsequent investigation established that there were no proper fire barriers between the houses which resulted in the homes being gutted within minutes.
Deputy O’Loughlin said, “The manner in which this fire spread continues to cause serious concern and huge stress to the residents living in Millfield Manor. There are significant fire safety issues that remain to be resolved for those living in the development. Residents have received no financial or practical assistance in helping to install life-saving fire barriers and to help make the development complaint with fire safety regulations. Residents have been told that this work could cost between €15,000 and €30,000.
“Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy published a report on the issue last Friday. The report was delayed by almost 18 months and largely restates the existing fire safety regulations and offers little advice on how to deal with the issue. There is no mention of concerns about timber frame construction, which accounted for approximately 30% of homes built in Ireland between 2000 and 2008.
“I have continually called on Minister Murphy to release this report so that homeowners in Millfield Manor and other estates can get certainty that their concerns are being dealt with. I expected the report to show signs of progress for the residents of Millfield Manor Estate. Instead, more uncertainty prevails for the residents who have bought these properties and for potentially thousands of similar properties across Kildare, built by the same developer.
“The publication of the framework is intended to provide advice and guidance to homeowners regarding fire safety concerns. The framework is meant to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future, yet it does not appear to have drawn on the experience gained through the devastating fire which hit Millfield Manor. There is no mention of Millfield Manor case, which has been redacted from the Report, even though this was original reason for the commissioning of the Report.
“The publication of the framework is welcome, but it’s disappointing that Millfield Manor has largely been ignored. It’s of paramount importance that we learn from the Millfield Manor fire and ensure that legacy issues in housing developments are dealt with, alongside ensuring that future developments meet robust fire safety standards.”