Children are missing school because of the impact of mould and damp in flat complexes in Dublin’s south inner city, the Dáil has heard.
People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said people in the Emmet Buildings and Oliver Bond flat complexes are living in “disgracefully damp and mouldy conditions”.
“I happened to be with a local school teacher who teaches in St Brigid’s National School in the Coombe and she mentioned to me the level of absenteeism of children not being able to attend school because of the impact that mould and damp has on their health,” Ms Smith said.
The Dublin South Central TD said the loss of time out of school “should be enough to wake up this Government to the fact that these things need to be dealt with in a timely fashion”.
Ms Smith said problems in the flat complexes “run greater” with rat infestations and insufficient playgrounds for children, and that in Emmet Buildings there is no “proper emergency access for ambulances or fire brigades”.
“There’s a huge amount of absolute negligence,” she added.
The People Before Profit TD said there were immediate solutions to tackle the mould and damp and that double or triple glaze windows should be installed in the flats, as well as proper ventilation.
She said she had contacted Dublin City Council recently who said “there is no specific Government fund available for window replacement”.
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Ms Smith noted that in 2015 a landmark collective complaint against Ireland from across 20 local authority estates was taken to the European Court.
In 2017, the European Court found Ireland guilty and insisted there must be rapid and immediate changes to local authority houses, she said.
“It is five years now since the European Court ruled on this. It may be going on for six years now, and very little has changed for these tenants,” she said.
Ms Smith said there were hundreds of families living in these conditions and that “although regeneration is promised, it takes way too long to deal with very fundamental basic health problems that these people face on a daily basis”.
The TD said she would present the Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell, with photographs of the mould and damp in the complexes.
Mr O’Donnell said local authorities were legally responsible for the management and maintenance of their housing stock and also have a legal obligation to ensure that all of their tenanted provisions are compliant with the relevant housing standards.
He said he would take up the matter with his department and make direct contact with Dublin City Council.