Pensioner fears loss of his home over emergency works at adjoining building

Exposed brick can be seen on the gable end of 33 Thomas Street that prompted emergency stabilisation works.

A PENSIONER who was asked to leave his privately rented apartment by agents acting for Limerick City and County Council, due to the council-owned building next door being unsafe, is worried that he will never be able to move back into his home.

The tenant spoke to the Limerick Post after being vacated from his home on Thomas Street in Limerick City on account of the adjoining building being found to be structurally unsound.

This follows emergency works being carried out last month at 33 Thomas Street, a derelict building owned by Limerick City and County Council (LCCC).

Tenants of the neighbouring building at 32 Thomas Street, which is privately owned, were served with a notice from the Council’s senior executive engineer to immediately terminate their occupation of the building “until further notice”.

In the notice, seen by the Limerick Post, the Council states that it is “of the opinion that the building No 33 Thomas Street, Limerick, is a dangerous structure within the meaning of Section 1 of the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act 1964”.

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The tenant said that this notice was received on a Saturday, with no prior notice given to the tenants of the property or any timeline for when they’d be allowed to move back in.

“My case was handed to the homeless section who then arranged to have me accommodated in a hotel,” he explained.

He said there was “no prior notice, no consultation” and that a planning notice “has been up on that building for the last 12 months or thereabouts, but they had no consultation with us, from the engineering department, or from the Council themselves.”

The man said that he and some of the other tenants opted to avail of the offer of accommodation, which is room only, with no washing or cooking facilities, all while still paying their rent to the owners of the building.

“I went to the council last Monday, but I’ve no name or anything, only my landlord, and my landlord’s hands are tied, they were caught on the hop as well, so it’s not an issue with my landlord and they have no issue with me. This is all down to the Council, the Sanitary Services Act, this notice came from there.”

The tenant fears that his home may be condemned as part of plans to build a new development at the adjoining building.

33 Thomas Street is owned by Limerick City and County Council and is currently earmarked to be turned into a residential development containing five one-bedroom apartments, while eight two-bedroom apartments are planned for neighbouring building at 34 Thomas Street.

The man has been living in his apartment in 32 Thomas Street for almost eight years and says that his “nerves are frayed” over the whole situation.

“It’s a dodgy situation to be thrown into out of the blue, it’s like being thrown off a cliff,” the man said.

“I can’t see myself ever being able to move back in there because the deconstruction mightn’t happen until after Christmas, and then, of course, they are going to find problems because these houses are 150 years old.”

“The Council seem to have no obligation to the tenants.”

In response, a spokesman for Limerick City and County Council said that the local authority would have a clearer picture on how long works will take after a meeting with the design team and contractors.

“33 Thomas Street was damaged by Storm Debi and so evacuation was necessary of the neighbouring 32 Thomas Street,” the spokesman told the Limerick Post.

“All tenants have been relocated and provided with food allowances and LCCC’s Homeless Action Team is in communication with them. LCCC is also liaising with the property owner.

“Recommended mitigation measures have been installed by experts in line with best practice.”

A partial road closure will also be in place during December while works are carried out.