‘Death trap’ windows concern for residents

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A NUMBER of residents living in Avonbeg in Tallaght are experiencing difficulties with their window mechanisms, which has led one woman to say that her mother is living in a “death trap” as the windows in her mother’s council house are jammed shut.

This has occured after the mechanisms failed, meaning in the event of a fire her mother’s ability to get out of the house would be restricted.

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Nicola Moore, whose 59-year-old mother Vivienne lives in Avonbeg, added that as a result of the windows it’s difficult for any heat to be retained in the house, with Vivienne saying that being in her house this winter felt like being “in Siberia”.

Vivienne, who is on a widow’s pension, told The Echo: “There’s gaps absolutely everywhere, and the windows are jammed shut.

“The particular issue is upstairs – none of the windows open so if there’s a fire you can’t get out.

“This is not a recent thing, this has been going on for ten years.”

Vivienne added: “You can’t even get heat [to stay] in the house. I’ve to light a coal fire and put the heating on, and my children pay the bills for my heating because I can’t afford it.

“But the safety issue is horrendous – I don’t sleep well because I worry about what would happen if there was a fire.”

All of the eight windows in the house are affected, as are two sets of French doors, with the majority of the windows being unable to be opened, while others have to be jammed shut as the locking mechanism no longer works.

Vivienne, who suffers from respiratory problems including asthma, said: “If I had the money to put the windows in I’d do it myself, but there’s two windows in every room and I can’t afford to do it myself.

“I’m coughing day and night in the winter – it’s always cold and I have to sit around in jumpers.”

A set of French doors in Vivienne’s living room, which lead out to the back garden, have to be stacked with towels at the base as rainwater freely flows in which has caused the floor in the room to lift.

Vivienne’s daughter Nicola, who runs the community-based soup kitchen Visit, said that if the floor were to be replaced it would be “a waste of time and money until the doors are replaced.

“With this said these floors are now also a potential accident.

“To consider the removal of the floor covering leaves my mother with only concrete floors.”

Another Avonbeg resident, who wished to be identified only as Stephen, told The Echo that he has had similar issues with his windows and doors since he moved into the house in 2010, and that the previous tenants of the house had issues with the windows and doors since 2002 and that he, and the previous tenants, had notified the council about these issues on numerous occasions.

Stephen puts duct tape over his windows in winter in a bid to prevent the rain and wind from getting into the house, where he lives with his partner and three children, and he has also taken to putting bags of coal at the double doors at the back of his house as the mechanisms for the doors are broken.

Stephen said: “It’s ridiculous. I have had to tape up the windows every winter since we moved in.

He added: “We’ve replaced the wooden floors in the sitting room twice, because the rainwater keeps getting in through the doors.”

One of Vivienne’s other neighbours, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Echo that the mechanisms in her windows have also failed, and the majority of them cannot be opened and that these issues have been present “more or less” since she first moved into the house in 2001.

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