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Child who got acute bronchitis from damp home awarded €20k

Dawid Szafirowski hospitalised twice and has ongoing respiratory difficulties

The 16-month-old child allegedly developed acute bronchitis because of damp and mouldy conditions at his mother’s rented home

A 16-month-old child who allegedly developed acute bronchitis because of damp and mouldy conditions at his mother’s rented home has been awarded €20,000 against her former landlords.

Barrister Lydia Bunni told the Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, that Dawid Szafirowski, now aged six, had three times been referred to accident and emergency units and twice detained for treatment of his illness.

Ms Bunni, who appeared with Emer Herlihy of Maguire McClafferty solicitors, said the defendants Damien and Natasha Long and Ray Cooke Auctioneers, had entered a full defence to the claim lodged on his behalf by Dawid’s mother, Urszula Szafirowska.

She told the Circuit Civil Court that the defendants had pleaded that water running down the walls and conditions of condensation and mould had been caused by Ms Szafirowska and her husband having blocked up air vents in the property.

She said this had been fully denied by the boy’s parents.

Ms Bunni said the family had rented Longs’ house at Cherrywood Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin, which had been managed by Clondalkin-based Ray Cooke Auctioneers.

In September 2012 condensation and then mould appeared and during that autumn Dawid had started to develop severe chest infections and respiratory problems.

Dawid’s mother, now living at St John’s Wood, Clondalkin, said in a statement to the court that the dampness had been reported to all of the defendants but they had failed to rectify the issue.

She claimed their inaction had led to Dawid having to be hospitalised on two occasions and attend his GP several times.

Ms Szafirowska said she had become extremely concerned about Dawid’s ability to breathe and so severe was his initial complaint that the family doctor had advised her to take him immediately to the Paediatric Unit of Tallaght Hospital where x-rays revealed he had acute bronchitis in his left lung.

Ms Bunni told the court that following treatment as an in-patient Dawid had been discharged to the care of their GP whom he continued to attend with ongoing respiratory difficulties, developing a recurrent wheeze which would be exacerbated by bad weather.

He had been hospitalised at age 16 months and again when aged two years and three months.

In August 2014 Respiratory Paediatric Consultant Peter Greally reported that Dawid’s respiratory symptoms had been induced by adverse damp mouldy conditions.

Ms Bunni said that on an earlier occasion the defendants had made a settlement offer of €10,000 to Dawid but this had been rejected by the court.

She said Dawid had ongoing asthma and the defendants had since doubled the offer to €20,000 which she was recommending to the court.

Judge Groarke approved the offer.

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