Frustrated resident speaks out about shocking living conditions

By Aimee Walsh

A FRUSTRATED resident has spoken out about the shocking living conditions that he and his two children must face after endless pleas to South Dublin County Council have failed.

Thomas Carey, 37, resident of Balgaddy estate in Lucan, described his appeals for better living conditions to the council which have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears.

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Thomas, Courtney and Ryan

Thomas lives with his 15-year-old son Ryan and 11-year-old daughter Courtney in a two-bed house in Balgaddy, Lucan, that has had constant issues with damp, mould, moss and leaks in the eight years he has lived there.

Thomas’ son Ryan suffers with asthma, which he says has been worsened by the mould, moss and damp he lives with daily.

“My son has asthma so he should not be around moss. Every time I try paint the house or do anything it comes straight back onto the walls. Even in my room, I was cleaning at Christmas and I stripped all the walls. I put mould remover on the walls, and it’s already back now. Four weeks and its growing back already.

“There are leaks in the roof- one in my kid’s bedroom and one in the hall. The one in my kid’s room is bad and it is the third time in that room where there’s moss on the walls and water comes in the windows in some places.

“The Council fixed the leak in August, but by the middle of October it happened again, it burst through. The man they sent out was not even a proper roofer. That is when I rang, about seven weeks before Christmas and there was nothing, nobody even came out to me. If they had gotten a proper roofer to fix it, it would not be like that.

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Some of the damp and mould conditions they live with

“The leak in the hall - when it rains bad it runs down the walls. Whereas in the kid’s room it just drips onto the floor. My daughter’s bed is under where the leak was fixed, when it burst through her bed was soaked and she was soaked.

“I know a lot of people that have the same problems, especially on this block, as these are the older blocks. It’s nearly 15 years old. They were supposed to put in air vents about two years ago, but they just stopped because of the structural damage. They did about six houses on this block.” Thomas told The Echo.

Thomas has asked the council for a three-bed house multiple times but has been unsuccessful in securing one in the eight years he has lived in Balgaddy.

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Some of the damp and mould conditions they live with

“My kids share a room my son is 15 and my daughter is 11. A boy and a girl that age should not be sharing. I am living here eight years with them and I should have been given a three-bed house. My daughter has to come into my room to get changed every morning,” Thomas explained.

At a meeting of Lucan, Palmerstown and North Clondalkin Area Committee on Tuesday, January 26, a committee of local Councillors called on the Chief Executive to prioritise improvements for the residents of Balgaddy.

Councillor Shane Moynihan, explained that these issues are common amongst the houses in the estate.

 “The thing about Balgaddy is that there is a mixture of a number of issues. For one, you have a lot of the houses that have bad maintenance conditions.

“Some of the things that the residents have contacted me about in the past is mould on the inside of the walls, the damp. A lot of the families I have dealt with their kids have respiratory conditions such as asthma. When you have mould in the property that obviously exacerbates it a bit.

“There are other issues that are more aesthetic such as the render on the houses themselves have deprecated over time, so they need new paint on the exterior and new paint on the interior as well.”

Speaking as to why nothing has been done so far to combat these issues, Cllr Shane Moynihan explained: “There is a mixture of factors. One of the issues has been obviously with restrictions the last 9-12 months maintenance cannot be done on houses because of Covid-19 restrictions, but even before that I have been raising the issue, and other councillors have as well. When funding came through on steam through the planned maintenance programme a year before the Covid-19 restrictions that knocked it back again, that does not explain the entire delay, but it is a part of the reason we are being given.

“It requires constant political attention. The response we got at the meeting on Tuesday is that they will come back to us with a progress report in two months-time to speak about the specific issues we raised, and we will be meeting the Director of Housing Colin Ward in the next month or so.

“Our priority at the moment is to just keep the pressure on, there is a very proud community there and these things should be done.

“This is the start of a journey, but I am happy that now we are giving it the focus, and hopefully that will lead to further progress.”

When the issue was raised at last week’s area meeting the response from the council spokesperson said: “Balgaddy estate has been prioritised for a number of initiatives including planned maintenance and estate management enhancement works. 

“There is a dedicated budget for the area for these works and prior to the latest Covid-19 restrictions, progress has been made by our estate management and housing maintenance/refurbishment teams including: the establishment of new resident’s association for Balgaddy and an associated estate management works programme for the area drafted in consultation with the residents.

“Installation of a new communal door prototype structural repair works to the Balgaddy Family and Childcare Centre. Repairs to balconies and stairways within the development enhanced cleaning of communal areas following up on our commitment to facilitate transfers to address legacy maintenance issues with 11 homes refurbished to date and a further 12 scheduled for refurbishment.

“Priority for essential maintenance requests in the area with 857 plumbing, heating, mechanical, roofing and other requests completed in Balgaddy in 2020.”

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