Improvements continue at Church premises

Improvements works are continuing at a premises run by a local church, which was at the centre of fire safety concerns, Dundalk district court was told last week.

Improvements works are continuing at a premises run by a local church, which was at the centre of fire safety concerns, Dundalk district court was told last week.

The building - which includes a school, a place of worship and a coffee shop, had continued to operate after a closure notice was served in June, but closed voluntarily last month.

Dundalk Town Council has summonsed the landlords of Units One and Two, at the North Link Retail Park - Raymond Cumiskey of Little Road, Dromiskin and Kenneth Cumiskey of The Meadows, Rock Road, Blackrock and the tenant Hassan Boyle, trading as Grace Fellowship Family Church, under planning enforcement and building control regulations.

On the 11th of December, Fire officer Philip O’Brien told the court that there were nine areas of specific concern – including the inadequacy of existing fire exits and structural fire separation, and the separation between the 52 pupil school and an area retained for furniture storage by the landlord.

He accepted that improvement work had been carried out in relation to a number of issues, but added that in his view, people were put at unnecessary risk between June and then. The tenant’s solicitor told the court that the premises would close at 3pm that day and would not reopen until the closure order is lifted.

On the 21st of December, he informed the court that the undertaking had been complied with and Louth Local Authorities solicitor John McGahon confirmed that while work had been undertaken, he said the Fire Officer was not in a position to say he is satisfied.

The court heard that the closure order could be lifted between then and the next court date.

Last Thursday, Mr. McGahon said he understood the work is not yet complete.

The tenant’s solicitor said that the council had made some concessions to facilitate his clients over the Christmas period and asked for a further adjournment with a view to addressing the court on penalties when the closure order has gone.

Mr. McGahon asked that the matter be dealt with as he argued whether the work is completed or not was irrelevant in terms of the prosecution. However, Judge Flann Brennan adjourned the case to the seventh of February.