Dundalk man among residents evacuated from apartments with structural problems

Dundalk man, Cian Carroll, was among residents at Belfast’s Victoria Square apartment complex that were told to vacate the building “immediately for safety reasons” on Wednesday.

Residents of the apartments in one of Belfast’s busy shopping districts were evacuated after structural concerns emerged about the building.

Cian told BBC NI News: “We got a knock on the door. A guy from the management company handed me a letter from the management company and said that we had to vacate the premises immediately. The building was being evacuated.

“We packed a few things and kind of got our bearings. We asked if we were being put up anywhere. Eventually we were told we’d be put into a Holiday Inn down in Hope Street but details after that were quite sketchy.”

It has since emerged that Cian’s employers put him up in the hotel with residents told they would have to find alternative accommodation themselves.

The 35-year-old content manager for STATSports lives with his girlfriend in a two-bedroom apartment that costs £975 a month.

“We only moved in to The Residence at the start of February so we didn’t know anything about the structural damage,” Mr Carroll said.

“My employer pays my rent so I’m lucky compared to others who’re paying mortgages, because they’re not being looked after.”

It is estimated that repairs to the structural problems could cost up to £1m.

According to The Belfast Telegraph, it is expected it will take five months to complete repairs at the upmarket development called The Residence, which comprises 91 high-spec homes.

The paper says residents were previously asked to pay £10,000 each to foot the bill for structural repairs.

Stores in the adjoining Victoria Square shopping centre are open for business as usual, as is the underground car park, despite structural issues affecting the high-end apartments.

Read more here.