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Council is criticised as tenant dies of cold

DUBLIN City Council was yesterday accused of contributing to the death of a young mother, after the heating in her flat was allegedly disconnected in the depths of winter.

A preliminary hearing at Dublin City Corner's Court into the death of Rachel Peavoy (30) was told that the young woman died from hypothermia and that continued appeals to turn back on her central heating fell on deaf ears.

The single mother of two sons from Shangan Road, Ballymun, was found dead in her flat not long after Christmas, on January 11, 2010.

The court heard that Housing Minister Noel Ahern made representations on behalf of Ms Peavoy, after she was told her heating would not be reconnected during the freak cold snap last January, which saw temperatures plummet well below zero.

The court heard that the council told the young mother that this was impossible because flats around her were vacant due to regeneration.

The case involved "a young woman with no other system disorder" dying of hypothermia and there was "ample evidence" that the heating was not working, council for the family Dr Ciaran Craven told the court yesterday.

Calling for a full inquiry into the death, Dr Craven told Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell that the flat had been "perilously cold" on the night of the death, a description supported by the garda who had examined the scene and noted the flat was "freezing".

The court heard that Ms Peavoy, had last spoken to her mother, Celine, the day before she was found dead.

She had asked her mother to mind her two sons, Leon and Warren, and said she was turning her phone off because she couldn't sleep.

The next day, after numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact Ms Peavoy, her brother Leon Peavoy and friend Jacqueline Johnston let themselves into her flat.

Ms Johnston found the body of her friend in the main bedroom, the court was told.

There was no representative from the council in the court at the time.

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The case was adjourned until February 24 in order to obtain further statements about the conditions of Ms Peavoy's flat.

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