Fire safety defects detected in up to 500 Dublin apartments

Inadequate fire prevention measures throughout social and private apartments on former Fatima Mansions estate in Dublin

Fire safety defects have been detected throughout the Herberton apartment complex in Dublin’s Rialto, with remedial works required for up to 500 homes at an expected cost of several million euro.

The large-scale estate of apartments and houses, built on the site of the Dublin City Council flat complex Fatima Mansions, is one of the largest city council regeneration projects to date, and among the few to have continued construction throughout the collapse of the property sector in the last recession.

It has emerged in recent days that a block of apartments, sold by US real estate firm Kennedy Wilson to the council, requires “extensive” fire safety works, according to the council.

Housing association Cluid has now confirmed fire defects have also been detected in blocks it owns and manages in Herberton, while managing agents for the complex say fire safety works have been required throughout the estate.


Herberton was completed in phases between 2005 and 2010, with 110 houses and duplexes and just over 500 apartments. Initially the scheme was to have 150 social homes, with the remainder a mix of affordable purchase homes, private apartments for sale, and private rental apartments.

The baffling story of an apartment block left empty in a housing crisis

Listen | 18:47

However, the council and Cluid have bought more of the private units over the years with around 270 Herberton house and apartments now used for social housing.

City councillors were in recent days told that a block of 39 apartments, which the council had bought from Kennedy Wilson, could not be allocated to tenants, as the work required to bring them up to fire safety standards was extensive.

Ownership of the apartments was not transferred to the council until August 2022

The council bought the block from Kennedy Wilson in lieu of social housing provision in the US real estate firm’s premium apartment schemes at Capital Dock and Clancy Quay. The apartment swap was agreed in February 2019, but ownership of the apartments was not transferred to the council until August 2022.

A spokesman for Kennedy Wilson said that, at the time of the agreement in February 2019, it had already addressed fire-related issues and the apartments were “ready for occupation” and fully refurbished when offered to the council. The 39 apartments were part of a distressed property portfolio acquired by Kennedy Wilson in 2014.

Separately, Cluid owns a block of 40 apartments, which it bought approximately 10 years ago, and also manages another 32 social housing apartment on behalf of the city council.

Cluid chief executive Brian O’Gorman said it initially became aware of defects with the building in relation to water ingress around two to three years ago, and subsequently discovered defects with the firestopping which prevents fires from spreading between apartments.

“Remedial works are ongoing at the moment in terms of remedying these defects,” he said. The issues were resolvable with tenants in situ and evacuation of the apartments was not required he said.

Lansdowne Partnership managing agents for the development said “certain shortcomings” with the construction of Herberton had been detected throughout the apartment blocks. It was working though a programme of remediation works, including fire safety works, with “the full knowledge and support of owners”. The issues were identified in 2018 and 2019 and it said it had “not been notified of any new findings” by the council.

Councillors were told by council officials on Wednesday that recent “opening-up works” in one apartment indicated the fire defects were more extensive than previously thought.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times