Monday 23 July 2018

Builders must replace roof of house family forced to move out of after 'toxic mould made child sick'

Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly had to leave their Saggart home because of ‘toxic’ mould. Picture: Collins
Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly had to leave their Saggart home because of ‘toxic’ mould. Picture: Collins

Ray Managh

The builders of a house, which a couple and their young children were forced to leave seven years ago - allegedly due to sickness from "toxic" mould and fungus - have been ordered by a High Court judge to replace the roof.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy ruled that Shane and Antoinette O'Reilly were entitled to the costs of having to rent alternative accommodation - but not to damages because of the extensive other reliefs directed by the court.

Séamus Ó Tuathail, who appeared with John Gibbons and barrister Dolores Keane for the O'Reillys, told the court that the couple bought a three-bedroom duplex at Millrace Crescent, Saggart, Co Dublin, in 2005 for €280,000. They claimed that the property had defects which had not been rectified, including condensation, mould and fungus growth, and that these resulted in their two young sons getting respiratory infections.

The O'Reillys obtained medical test results in 2010, showing that one of their sons had a mass on one of his lungs.

They were advised to leave the property, which they did in August 2010.

The couple sued the builders and developers, Séamus, Liam, Colm, Anthony and Brendan Neville and William Neville and Sons, a building and development company trading as the Neville Development Partnership.

They sought damages of around €97,000 for alleged negligence, breach of duty, including that the defendants failed to ensure that the property was free from defects which would endanger the family's health.

All the defendants, based in Co Wexford, denied the claims and said they had made an open offer to repair anything that might be wrong with the property.

This had been refused by the O'Reillys, who had been living in rented accommodation since.

The judge said that the presence of mould in the attic space was entirely due to extraordinarily poor workmanship.

He said that the O'Reillys were entitled to re-enter their home knowing that matters relating to the mould had been addressed.

The fairest solution was that the defendants must replace the roof.

Irish Independent

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