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Editor’s comment: Will Grenfell victims ever get justice?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 June 2017

Smoke billowing from a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Picture: PA IMAGES

Smoke billowing from a fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Picture: PA IMAGES

PA Wire/PA Images

Distraught families caught up in the deadly Grenfell Tower inferno want answers.

Thousands of residents living in high-rise flats across London, including this borough, are rightly concerned about the avoidable tragedy.

Councils with similar buildings have been quick to reassure residents they are safe but we have a wider problem. Sadly, I have little faith these poor families will get justice. I hope they do, but I have my reservations.

This country has an approach to government, local authority governance and sometimes business where no-one appears accountable – and certainly not the people who have authority to implement change.

I’m not apportioning blame, but who really is legally culpable if it is revealed fire safety legislation was applied, buildings were inspected and signed off and materials used were approved.

Ultimately, legislation has to change. Mandatory water sprinklers, a single stairway access ban and authorities, developers, building owners and contractors legally accountable. Out-dated safety standards need reviewing and reconfiguring.

Coroners’ need to be given legal powers to force change. If this was the case when inquests were held into deaths at Lanakal House safety measures could have been forced. It could have made decision makers criminally responsible and prevented this tragedy that could top 100 deaths.

When it comes to lack of accountability we see injustice at every turn. Authorities who failed Baby P, the child abuse scandal, Hillsborough. I could go on! For too long authorities and mediocre managers have shunned blame by hiding behind inadequate legislation.

This tragedy must be a catalyst for change.


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