Wednesday 22 January 2020

Woman and three children 'ill from exposure to sewage fumes' at council house

Images from outside the house
Images from outside the house

Daniel O'Connor and Zainab Boladale

A Tallaght woman has said that their local council has failed to find a permanent solution for the ‘smell of sewage’ constantly in her family's council home.

Following a sewage leak that left its content all over their garden, Gemma Maher told that she and her children “got swollen glands and flu-like symptoms” which her GP informed her could possibly be linked to inhaling the sewage for so long.

“The sewage was in the garden for two weeks,” she said “I contacted TD John Lahart and he said he’d get in touch with the council about it, but when the time was passing and nobody came, I got in touch myself,” said Gemma.

“We’re all getting irritated with the smell in the house,” Gemma told, “my youngest son has breathing problems”.

“When the sewage happens it blocks my kitchen sink, the house stinks and I have to wash my dishes in the baby bath in the bathroom”.

In an interview with the FM104 Phoneshow, Gemma’s Mother in law, Christine Ryan said she’d love to help, “If I had the money, I’d give it”.

Christine said her son, partner to Gemma, can’t work due to his disabilities and so he can’t afford to fix the problem himself.

She further explains that the man that was called out to fix the sewage “even said that he wouldn’t be able to fix the smell”.

“They’ve fixed the leak but it’s an ongoing problem, they’ll be back in four weeks to fix it again,” Christine told

Christine explained that she “felt bad” for the three children having to live in that situation.

Speaking to, John Lahart TD insisted that he has already written three letters to the South Dublin County Council requesting that repairs be carried out.

“I first made contact on the 9th of May, and then again on the 17th of May,” Lahart explained.

“I asked again on the 17th if repairs could be carried out now to avoid future problems."

He added that he made the council aware of the extent of the problems and that Gemma’s children had been sick.

A spokesperson for the South Dublin County Council maintenance department has said they are aware of the aware of the issue and are looking to resolve it.

“I apologise in advance if we haven’t done what our duty is,” the spokesperson said.

“Obviously we want to nip this in the bud and we will get it sorted.”

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