HSE warns houses on estate in Longford unsafe due to gases
HOMES IN a Longford housing estate are unsafe unless they are professionally assessed and repaired, the head of health protection services at the HSE, Dr Kevin Kelleher, has said.
Residents of the Gleann Riada estate at Ballyminion in Longford met Dr Kelleher yesterday to discuss the build-up of carbon monoxide and methane gases in houses at the development. The HSE has been monitoring gas levels at Gleann Riada since mid-March when an explosion blew the front window from a house.
Occupants at the partly Nama-owned development of about 80 private houses say seeping sewage gases are responsible for headaches, nausea and a second blast at a house last Thursday night.
According to Dr Kelleher, problems exist with the sewerage system and some of the houses are filling with dangerous gases. “It’s not clear whether that is constant or intermittent but it happens, and we know that it happens because we have had an explosion and individuals are expressing symptoms and signs of some of that.”
He urged homeowners to employ engineers and, where needed, make repairs. “They need to get those assessments done rapidly and get the remedial work done. If that doesn’t happen then the houses are not safe to live in.”
In the meantime he asked the residents to install carbon monoxide alarms, keep their homes ventilated, refrain from smoking or lighting fires, and ensure the water traps in their toilets are functioning.
“Unfortunately some of what I am talking about are not easy solutions . . . no fires, well ventilated, I mean we are all used to having our houses locked tight, air tight and well heated, and it is not easy but that is, unfortunately, all the advice I can give.”
Engineer John McNamara, who represents more than 30 homeowners at the estate, has asked the Minister of State with responsibility for housing, Jan O’Sullivan, to evacuate the development. He asked the HSE to do likewise.
“I’m actually quite horrified. The doctors there admitted that the houses there in Gleann Riada are dangerous to live in unless essential remedial works are carried out; gases are still getting into the houses and the sewerage system is clearly acknowledged as not to be functioning.
“They could not be happy with keeping people in properties that are clearly dangerous, and they have stated they are dangerous, so I once again would plead with them and all bodies to evacuate the Gleann Riada.”
Gleann Riada was built about 10 years ago by Eassda Ireland, which was owned by Northern Irish developer Alastair Jackson.