Long time campaigner for the works to be carried out in the Oldcourt Estate Councillor John Brady said "This news has to be welcomed, the residents from Oldcourt and I have been campaigning now for many years to have the fire safety works carried out in the estate. Funding for the first phase was first approved in August 2012 and work on the first houses commenced later in the year. The Department of the Environment gave the go ahead for the second phase to commence last week and they have committed part funding of the project with the council match funding".
Sinn Féin representative Oliver O'Brien went onto say "A draw took place on Thursday in the Civic Offices to decide what homes are to be done next. Not only does the work in the houses address the important fire safety problems within the houses it has the added benefit of improving the energy efficiency of the homes. Some homes have been omitted from the scheme against the wishes of the occupants and these all need to be included".
Brady went onto say " The approval of funding for phase 2 has to be welcomed as the work is essential. Problems within the estate initially arose after the estate underwent a major refurbishment scheme in the 1980's, it has seen numerous fires and fatalities since the work was carried out. Seven people have lost their lives to fires in the Oldcourt Estate in the last two decades. In 2005 i succeeded in having an independent fire safety audit carried out. The findings of the audit which were published in 2007 returned a damning verdict on the houses and outlined a substantial number of things that needed to be done in the houses to make them safer. That report has formed the basis for the successful application to the Department and the identified issues along with energy efficiency works will be addressed in the scheme".
Oliver concluded "Its important that this scheme is completed and that all houses in the estate including the private ones are addressed. Homeowners purchased the properties in good faith and unaware of the serious problems within them. The scheme needs to be extended to include all houses within the estate".