Northern Ireland

Ministers discuss compulsory carbon monoxide detectors

Neil McFerran (l) and Aaron Davidson (r)
Image caption Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson died from carbon monoxide poisoning

Executive ministers Arlene Foster and Sammy Wilson are to discuss proposals to make carbon monoxide detectors compulsory in new builds.

Ms Foster in the meantime is urging householders to install them.

It comes after the deaths of two teenagers from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a holiday apartment in Castlerock last week.

On Wednesday, two restaurants were closed due to gas safety investigations.

The Ice House Restaurant in Portstewart and the Village Caff, Rasharkin, closed so they could be examined by Health and Safety Executive staff.

Enterprise Minister Mrs Foster and Finance Minister Mr Wilson said they both support calls for compulsory carbon monoxide alarms.

As well as new builds, they could be made compulsory in rented accommodation and businesses

Mrs Foster said: "Legislation will take time and I would strongly advise householders not to wait for that legislation but to take action and install a carbon monoxide detector in their home."

The HSENI's investigations are continuing after the deaths of the two teenagers in Castlerock.

Aaron Davidson and Neil McFerran, both 18, died in a holiday apartment last Tuesday.

The owner of the Village Caff, Sean Peacock, said he wanted someone to take responsibility for his loss of trade.

"We don't know how long we are going to be closed for, we don't know what it is going to cost us to get set up again," he added.

On Wednesday in a statement, the HSENI said it has been working alongside gas safety companies to make safe a number of homes and premises in the Castlerock and Coleraine areas.

It said it had received almost 500 calls to its emergency helpline set up as part of the investigation.

Aaron and Neil, from Newtownabbey outside Belfast, had been spending time at the apartment awaiting their exam results when they were overcome by poisonous fumes last week.

A third teenager, Matthew McGaw, also 18, survived the leak.

Image caption The Ice House Restaurant was closed on Wednesday.

The HSENI found that a liquefied petroleum gas appliance inside a flat at Tunnel Brae Court had not been working properly.

Earlier on Wednesday, a gas fitter whose business is being investigated over the deaths of the two teenagers expressed his sympathy to their families.

Calor Shop owner, George Brown, said he will co-operate with the authorities.

His shop in Coleraine was searched by police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) investigating the suspected carbon monoxide leak.

The HSENI has advised anyone who has a gas appliance fitted by Mr Brown's business, the Calor Shop in Coleraine, to switch it off.

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