Robert Troy issues new statement on rental properties as Green Party leader Eamon Ryan calls for an investigation

Minister of State Robert Troy has claimed that a property in Dublin that he and his co-owner were refurbishing for letting did not require a fire certificate under building regulations.

r Troy, who is under increasing pressure over his property interests, issued a new statement today after it was revealed that the Rathdown Road development in Phibsborough, where one-bedroom units are rented for over €1,500 a month, has not Fire safety registered certificate.

In the new statement, Mr Troy said “all work has been completed in accordance with relevant fire codes” after receiving advice that there had been no significant change in use of the property as a result of the renovation work and no certificate was required.

“We received the advice of the architect-engineer who oversaw the development of Rathdown Road that the building predates the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1963 and the Building Control Act 1990 and Building Control Regulation 1991 ‘ Mr Troy said in a statement issued through his spokesman.

“The advice was that since the renovations carried out had resulted in neither a “significant change” nor a “significant change in use”, an application for a fire protection certificate was not required under building law, but all work had been completed by the end of the relevant fire protection regulations, including the adding a fire escape as part of these fire safety measures”.

Dublin City Council (DCC) was previously investigating the unauthorized construction of emergency stairs at the rear of the same property that was subdivided into four rental units by Mr Troy and his business partner.

Following a complaint in 2015, the DCC Enforcement Office said in 2016 that the metal escape stairways were “inconsistent with the character of the structure itself and neighboring structures”.

Mr Troy and Mr McGivney later applied to the Council for planning for the unauthorized development – known as a retention permit – which they approved.

Mr Troy’s statement added: “I can also confirm that Dublin City Council has advised that no planning is required for 25a Rathdown Road, apart from the planning we have received for the fire escape.

“Dublin City Council inspected this property in 2015 and 2016 and issued a report in September 2016 recommending that no further action was required.”

Mr Troy’s statement does not address the issue that in July 2020 DCC issued a formal warning letter and opened an investigation into alleged unauthorized development outside of set hours at the Rathdown Road property in Phibsborough. The Council’s Planning Enforcement Office said yesterday that the file is still open.

Under planning law, the Council can initiate enforcement proceedings for unauthorized developments, with a person found guilty liable to a fine of up to €10 million, imprisonment for up to two years, or both.

Addressing the wider controversy, Mr Troy said he was ready to get in touch with authorities.

“I reiterate my willingness to work with SIPO, RTB or the Dáil Committee as suggested by Minister Ryan,” he said.

It comes after Green Party leader Eamon Ryan called for an investigation to be launched into Mr Troy for failing to inform Dail records of his housing portfolio.

The Green Party leader said it was “very disappointing” to hear Deputy Minister Fianna Fáil on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday.

Minister Troy made “significant errors in the (Dail) statement” regarding his “property interests”, Mr Ryan told News at One on RTÉ Radio 1.

This could “undermine confidence in the political system,” added the Environment Minister.

Mr Ryan said he now thought it was “appropriate, as various people have suggested under our Ethics Act…” that the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) “undertake a Commission investigation”.

He said he felt this should take place to identify “very clear procedures”.

“I think they (SIPO) should (investigate), Mr Ryan added.

“Finally, I think we need clarity on what exactly the rules for leases are and how they need to be declared.

“It’s not clear at this point — that’s come out on this whole issue.”

Mr Ryan said he went so far as to speak to Ceann Comhairle about the matter this morning “to get his opinion”.

“I think it would be possible for people like the Committee on Procedures, Privileges and Oversight to do a full investigation into the ethics policy,” he added.

Those in public office are “accountable” to the public, he added. He said it would be “appropriate if this were done before the Dail returned”.

All the opposition’s questions could then be asked there, he said. Such an open forum would mean that the issue could be “addressed in an appropriate manner”.

“I think this could be done quickly and has to be done quickly.”

Mr Ryan said an investigation by SIPO is an option he prefers as it is set out in ethics legislation as an “appropriate mechanism”.

Ministers and TDs also now need “clarity” on leases and how they must be declared, he added.

Plans for the winter would need to be spelled out in the budget, Mr Ryan also said.

This could include windfall charges to help companies weather an “unprecedented period in terms of price shock” due to rising fuel costs.

He explained that every effort must be made to “keep the lights on” and help people “afford power.”

Price caps introduced in other countries, including the UK, have not necessarily worked, he said. Rather, he felt that some funds could be raised to support people.

However, he also believed that a ‘Reduce Your Consumption’ campaign could help reduce demand on the web.

“When we start introducing daily pricing so people can save money while protecting our grid and electricity supply.” Robert Troy issues new statement on rental properties as Green Party leader Eamon Ryan calls for an investigation

Fry Electronics Team

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