SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat has called on the Minister for Social Development Mervyn Storey to put in place explicit safety requirements for electricity and gas in private sector buildings.
In a response to a written question submitted by Mr Dallat, the Minister detailed that five years after the tragic deaths of Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson no such measures are in place.
Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson, both 18 lost their lives to carbon monoxide poisoning while staying at an apartment in Castlerock in August 2010.
“The current Minister for Social Development has been in place for a short time only and I don’t blame him for the unacceptable delay in bringing forward this vital legislation.
“There is a clear need to make clear the responsibilities of private landlords in relation to both gas, electricity, fire safety measures and the provision of carbon monoxide safety measures.
“When Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson lost their lives and their friend Matthew Gaw was lucky to survive, there was a clear commitment that safety in the private sector would be cleared up and stringent legislation would be put in place to ensure that requirements weren’t simply implied or unspoken but enshrined in law.
“That hasn’t happened and it is an indication of the inability of this Assembly to bring forward legislation which will protect the increasing number of people who are dependent on the private rented sector for accommodation.
“I sincerely hope that now that I have highlighted this glaring gap in our laws there will be a determined effort to ensure that never again will we have a repeat of what happened at Castlerock and indeed in other places where both gas and electricity defects have proven to be fatal.”