OA Dungloe housing estate, known locally as the “Titanic site” because of subsidence, has been a nightmare for owners, the High Court has heard.
Owners have sued the builders, O’Kane Developments (Northwest) Ltd., and the engineers/architects Damien McKay Ltd., Drumany, Letterkenny. The insurance company for the engineers/architects on the project have accepted liability and the case was before the High Court on Wednesday for assessment of damages.
Radharc An Seascan, a 15-house estate at Meenmore, Dungloe, was mostly completed in 2007-2008 and sold largely as holiday homes and investment properties to people from Northern Ireland.
According to the Irish Independent, the court was told that the estate was referred to as the “Titanic site” because the houses suffered substantial subsidence within a year of completion. Owners of the homes told the court that the subsidence caused water pipes to break, damaged central heating and sewage systems and resulted in steps and ramps detaching from the walls.
According to media reports, most of the owners told the court that they believed all the houses should be knocked down because they could not be viably repaired. Owners paid between €155,000 and €190,000 for the houses.
One of the purchasers is also a director of the building company O’Kanes, which is also suing for compensation.
The Independent reported that Paul O’Kane told the court that even though he was not responsible for what had happened, his reputation had been ruined because he was associated with it. His company was now dormant, he said.
Mr. O’Kane said he realised there were problems when the tarmac on the site began to drop, but Mr. McKay, the engineer, said remedial work would solve that.
The court heard that Aviva Insurance has €2 million available under the policy the architects took out, though this may not be enough to cover all claims. It was understood this aspect of the case may have to be addressed at another hearing.The court also heard from owners that holes of up to one-metre wide have appeared on the site and pose a serious danger, particularly for children. They said the experience has been a nightmare that caused great financial and emotional stress.
The judge was expected to reserve his decision on Thursday.