The residents of an apartment complex in the East Wall area of Dublin have spoken to Gript about what they say are ‘serious safety concerns’ after hundreds of migrants were bussed into a former ESB building located in close proximity to their homes.
The group known as the Lighthouse Residents issued a statement detailing how they say their lives were ‘turned upside down overnight’ after parts of the development complex where their homes are located were turned into a direct provision centre without any consultation.
The residents say they are facing “multi-layered complex issues, including building proximity to our apartments, privacy intrusion, safety issues and major loss of property value.”
They also say that they “have been abandoned by The Government” and are holding the state responsible for the consequences of its decision making.
They say the direct provision centre is only 20 metres from their residents and that they share a number of communal spaces including a courtyard and parking facilities with the former office building turned asylum centre.
The residents say that after a meeting last December with then Minister for Finance Pascal Donohue they were told that their situation was unprecedented and given assurances that they would be assisted in ‘getting their lives back to normal’, however they say that no action was taken by the relevant authorities in this regard.
Subsequent to the meeting “another 5-6 buses of new arrivals into the building”, which they say “clearly raises the question of how genuine the meeting and these promises to The Lighthouse residents” were.
They say they ”have not received any other communication” regarding the issues raised.
The residents say that because of the close proximity of the office building in which the asylum seekers are housed they have privacy concerns as their bedrooms and living areas are directly overlooked. They also claim that men housed in the centre were “taking photos, and staring into our apartments and bedrooms”.
Fire safety concerns have also been raised with the residents saying, “This office building has not been designed to accommodate 400+ (including support staff) on 24/7 basis.Therefore, in the event of fire anywhere in the building or on the development the evacuation would pose significant challenges.” they say.
They say they are also “dealing with garda coming two to five times per week
and emergency vehicles arriving nearly every day, clearly indicating a number of incidents in that building.”
“The most serious incident took place on 30th December 2022, when several garda and emergency vehicles were called to the building and garda was seen taking evidence bags from the building.”
The Lighthouse Residents also flagged the “large number of undocumented male asylum seekers’ saying “it has been already widely noted in the media about the safety of children and females in the office building.”
Loss of property was also highlighted as one of the serious issues residents face as they say their homes have been rendered “unsellable” by the establishment of the direct provision centre.
They say the government has “made a decision for us and has taken our freedom away and made us hostages in our current circumstances”.
Adding, “We no longer have the freedom of making decisions related to our properties, we are unable to sell our properties, move or do whatever we want for us and our families, all of that is taken away from us. With negative equity, we cannot make the choices for ourselves and we are now stuck and forced to remain in this situation.”
The residents concluded their statement by saying that, “it is very clear how this building is not suitable for the purpose it is currently being used. The residents and owners of The Lighthouse apartments have been put into this turmoil by The Government unilateral decision to use the Gateway building as asylum seekers accommodation centre without considering any of these implications”.
“We therefore call The Government to take responsibility for the actions they have made. Since these decisions has put us in this unprecedented situation, it is time for Roderic O’Gorman and Pascal Donohoe to take the responsibility and rectify their decision. We invite Mr. Donohoe to demonstrate his commitment to the promises made during the meeting to address the above issues and get our lives back from this turbulence.”