Monday 27 March 2017

House bought to help homeless crisis remains empty due to asbestos

Margaret Murtagh (pictured) sold her house to the council over a month ago
Margaret Murtagh (pictured) sold her house to the council over a month ago

Ryan Nugent

A house sold to Dublin City Council to help allay the housing crisis in the capital is still empty due to issues with asbestos in the property.

Margaret Murtagh sold her house to the council over a month ago for €20,000 below the asking price and has complained that the city council has still not made the home available for use, during a time of an ever-growing housing list in the capital.

The house on Cooley Road, Drimnagh, was sold on October 20 for €260,000, despite an agreement initially being made in May.

Ms Murtagh said she was incensed when she arrived outside the house last week to see all of the windows boarded up.

However, it has since emerged that areas of the home are filled with asbestos, a lethal mineral that can scarring of lung tissue and chest cancer if it becomes airborne.

There is no indication that the asbestos has spread in the house in question.

Up until 1999, asbestos was commonly used as building material – usually for the insulation or fireproofing of homes.

Housing manager at Dublin City Council, Celine Reilly defended the slow progress in making the home available to a family on the waiting list, and said there were a number of snags that the council had to have fixed before the home would be fit for purpose.

Ms Reilly said there were with “asbestos, doors, windows and plasterboard” and that reports were being carried out.

“We’ll do our best to have somebody in before Christmas, if not it will be just after Christmas,” she said.

“We have to make sure that something is up to lettable standards,” she added.

It’s understood that Dublin City Council are usually given a four week turnaround to have houses ready for new tenants.

Speaking to the Herald, Ms Murtagh said she had no idea there was asbestos in the house, but condemned the local authority for taking so long to address the issues in the home, which she said was in perfect condition when she sold it.

“I don’t even know how I would have known about the asbestos or what the effect would have been,” Ms Murtagh said.

“But I would be interested to know and where the asbestos is in the house,” she added.

She said that sale process should have been pushed through quicker by the council, given that they agreed to buy the home on May 1 and has concerns as to when tenants will actually move in.

“Given the crisis, they could take the people out of the hotels and then in a couple of months or a year or two, bring it up to the standard that they want, but now the common sense seems to have evaded them completely,” she said.

“Five months it took that sale to go through - I would have put that deal through within a month,” she added.

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