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Father claims fumes from insulation forced family out of home

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Patrick Duffy ‘lost his home, his job and his health’

Patrick Duffy ‘lost his home, his job and his health’

Patrick Duffy ‘lost his home, his job and his health’

A father broke down in tears in the High Court as he told how the life of his family had been "turned upside down" since spray foam insulation was installed in his home.

Patrick Duffy has claimed he was exposed to fumes and toxic chemicals and his family had to leave the dream home he had built near the sea because they did not feel safe there. The family now live in a mobile home.

"The insulation was my idea. If I had not got the insulation then we would still be healthy," he told Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Opening the case Richard Lyons, SC, told the court it was their case "a very noxious chemical" linked to the Bhopal disaster was allegedly used in spray foam insulation.

Counsel said Mr Duffy suffered damage to his airway tract and now coughs constantly and all three in the family have became incredibly sensitised to certain products.

"He has lost his home, his job and his health. There was a very happy family life before this happened." he said.

Mr Duffy told the court he, his wife Anita, and their young daughter "now live in a bubble" as they have become sensitised to other products and need to avoid other people.

He said he paid €4,000 to have the insulation installed in the main attic and sunroom four years ago.

He said the contractor told him there was "nothing at all in it".

"I asked him is it safe and he said it was breathable, does not give off gas and it was the best product. He said it was the best on the market and was 100pc safe," Mr Duffy told Mr Justice Cross.

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After the insulation had been put in he said there was a strong smell and the contractor told him to leave the windows open.

The next morning Mr Duffy said he had a sore throat, sore eyes and a tight chest and he thought he had a cold. He said his wife and their toddler daughter had the same complaints.

Three days later he said he phoned the contractor as there was still a pungent smell and he later visited the doctor. He said his child also ended up in hospital. The family moved to a relative's holiday home for a year before moving in to a mobile home.

The house Mr Duffy built was sold last year.

Mr Duffy (45), of Meenderryowen, Annagry, Co Donegal, has sued Brendan McGee trading as McGee Insulation Services, Largenreach, Downings, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, who was responsible for the installation and the application of spray foam insulation at the family home on February 18, 2016.

He has also sued GMS Insulations Ltd, Legga, Moyne, Co Longford, which imports and supplies spray foam insulation material.

It is claimed that the spray foam insulation was imported from outside the EU by GMS Insulations who supplied it to McGee Insulation.

It is also claimed that Mr McGee reassured Mr Duffy that it was safe to remain in his home during the course of the installation process and immediately afterwards.

It is further claimed that Mr Duffy was informed the product was entirely safe and did not give off any fumes and he was allegedly exposed to toxic chemicals.

The claims are denied by both defendants.

Mr McGee further claims there was alleged contributory negligence on the part of Mr Duffy and claims Mr Duffy was advised to stay away from the house during the installation.

GMS Insulations contends if Mr Duffy did suffer injuries it bears no liability in law.

The case continues.


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