Living with damp, cold, mould and bad smells in Bluebell, Dublin

‘We are just being ignored,’ says Carol Quinn who is one of those taking case to Strasbourg

Carole Quinn showing mould in her flat in Inchicore, Dublin: she hopes the collective complaint will ‘get us some answers and force the council to come up with a plan’. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Carole Quinn showing mould in her flat in Inchicore, Dublin: she hopes the collective complaint will ‘get us some answers and force the council to come up with a plan’. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Carol Quinn “loves the community” in Bernard Curtis House flats in Bluebell, Dublin, where she lives with her sons, aged nine and 11, and her 20-year-old daughter.

However, the damp, mould, cold and bad odours with which they have had to live since they moved in nine years ago are making her children ill and causing her to feel “really depressed”, she says.

Ms Quinn and her neighbours are among those who have made a complaint to the the European Committee of Social Rights in Strasbourg about the housing conditions.

Carol shows the black mould around the livingroom ceiling, the wallpaper bubbling in the corners, paint peeling from the ceilings and thick, black mould surrounding the bathroom window.

“I constantly wash the walls with Milton but the mould keeps coming back. I have changed the lino I don’t know how many times,” she says, showing it peeling from the floor.

“I’ve bought oil-based paint but the damp still comes through. The beds have to be pulled out from the walls to try and keep the bedding dry and I’ve changed the mattresses three times.

“I had lovely built-in wardrobes but I had to get rid of them. The clothes were destroyed with damp coming in at the back.”

She says she has asked her landlord, Dublin City Council, to address the issues.

“They sent someone out to look at the damp. They told me it’s my fault; that I’m drying clothes indoors and I need to keep the windows open, even in the winter.”

She shows her washing line on the balcony, saying that is where she dries her clothes.

Her son Adam (9), asked what he thinks of the damp and mould, says: “I don’t really like it. It’s really cold and it’s hard to sleep. I wouldn’t bring friends back because it’s kind of embarrassing.”

She hopes the collective complaint will “get us some answers and force the council to come up with a plan because at the moment there is no plan and we are just being ignored”.

She says the process of compiling the collective complaint, with local community activists and other communities in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, was “great”.

“It was brilliant to meet the other communities and to realise we weren’t the only ones going through these problems.”

Dublin City Council, when asked about conditions in Bernard Curtis House, did not provide a comment.