Family allege Saggart house made their children sick

Couple sue builder claiming three-bedroom Dublin home has mould and fungus growth

Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly have sued the builders and developer of their house for damages over alleged negligence and breach of duty.

Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly have sued the builders and developer of their house for damages over alleged negligence and breach of duty.

 

A couple and their two young sons have been out of their home for six years because their children were made sick by “toxic” mould and fungus, the High Court has been told.

Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly bought a three-bedroom house at Hillrace Crescent, Saggart, Co Dublin, in 2005 for about €280,000. They claim the property had many defects which were not rectified, including condensation, mould and fungus growth caused by poor ventilation in the attic and bedrooms.

This led to their two young sons, now aged seven and nine, developing respiratory infections, they claim.

After many visits to the GP and the emergency department at Tallaght hospital, the couple, who got test results in June 2010 that showed one of their children had a mass on a lung, were given medical advice to leave the property and did so in August 2010.

The O’Reillys have been living in rented accommodation since.

They have sued the builders and developer of the property for damages over alleged negligence and breach of duty. The claims include the defendants failed to ensure the property was free from defects which would endanger the family’s health.

Purchase money

They want the court to rule they are entitled to have the purchase contract entered into with the defendants rescinded and the purchase money refunded to them.

Their action is against builders Séamus, Liam, Colm, Anthony and Brendan Neville, and William Neville and Sons, a building and development company trading as the Neville Development Partnership.

The defendants, based in Co Wexford, deny the claims. They also plead they made an open offer to repair anything that might be wrong with the property but that was refused by the plaintiffs. Efforts to mediate the dispute did not succeed, the court also heard.

In evidence, Ms O’Reilly said there were problems with leaks, inappropriate ventilation, water ingress on the property’s balconies, insulation and cracks in the building. She said there were a number of serious defects with the property from the time they took up residence, including leaks, mould in the attic and poor ventilation.

Under cross-examination by Gavin Mooney, for the defendants, she agreed, after the family raised issues about the property, the defendants and their workers came to carry out repairs.

The problems with the property remained, she said. The mould found in the house had been deemed toxic by their experts, she also said.

They had rejected open offers by the defendants to have the property repaired and brought this case based on expert advice she and her husband received, she said.

During the hearing on Thursday, Mr Justice Donald Binchy urged the sides to make efforts to resolve the case. It is due to resume on Friday.