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EXPERTS at a specialist mould beating company have described the dampness problems encountered by some South Dublin County Council tenants as “tragic”.
Following a report in Southside People into the problem experienced by some tenants of council owned properties, Eoin Thomas, the managing director of Blackrock based Mould Busters, said the mould in some of the houses he had visited had “gone wild”.
Describing the persistent dampness problems, he said: “In two apartments we had very high moisture readings in the floor and in the lower walls. The mould growth in these apartment was widespread.”
In addition, most of the assessments by Mould Busters were carried out at the homes of tenants who had health conditions.
“The people who called us all had young children and were concerned about the potential health implications,” he explained.
“Anyone with asthma or with lowered immune systems is susceptible to reacting with allergic response to mould and damp. These tenants had doctors’ reports and had approached the council but they said they were told that it couldn't have been the mould.”
Mr Thomas was prompted to get in touch with this newspaper after reading our story about the persistent damp problems experienced by tenants across the Southside.
In our story entitled ‘Damp Nightmare’ on March 24, we told how South Dublin County Council had received a “substantial” number of complaints from tenants who were experiencing problems with persistent damp in their homes.
Council officials said the growth of mould as a result of dampness was a “major concern” for them.
They also acknowledged that the problem could have health implications for tenants, particularly if the situation was left unaddressed over a long period of time.
One Tallaght woman, Bernie O'Gorman, who lives in Killinarden Park with her 21-year-old daughter, Michelle, described how she feared the damp conditions could have an adverse impact on her daughter who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
She told how there was mildew growing on her daughter’s windows.
The issue of dampness in local authority housing had been raised by Cllr Seán Crowe (SF).
He was told the council had received a substantial number of reports from tenants complaining of persistent problems with damp, largely from those in homes constructed since 2003 when insulation standards were increased.
However, Cllr Crowe said he believed the problem of dampness was not just limited to council houses but was also an issue in many of the older housing units.
“The evidence is that this is a problem in many units right throughout the county,” he told Southside People.
Mr Thomas said that during the past 12 months Mould Busters have undertaken several assessments in council owned properties in Tallaght and Clondalkin.
“The occupants we dealt with all reported that the council suggested better airing of the property,” he stated. “But this fails to tackle the underlying cause of the excessive moisture or the mould infestation.
“We only assessed six or seven council properties but given the fact that some of them are blocks of apartments you would expect that many other apartments in the same blocks would also have been affected.”
Southside People has also learned that a report carried out last year by the Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Lucan, Newcastle Area Partnership in June 2009 noted that residents in the Meile Na Ri estate had complained of “very poor” housing conditions.
Residents also had a big list of complaints about dampness and other major issues, the report stated.
Elaine Leech, a senior architect at the local authority, said: “Houses reporting dampness are evaluated by trained clerks-of-works using a range of up-to-date technologies including infra-red cameras, humidity-meters, humidity logs and dampness meters to check for leaks.
“If the problem is of lifestyle, housing liaison staff help clarify and reduce the causes of condensation. All of these complaints are taken very seriously and acted upon by the council.”
She added: “Mould Busters are a private firm and are not contracted to South Dublin County Council, which relies on its own architects, technicians and clerks-of-works who are trained and experienced in this area.”


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