Living conditions in council-owned flats in Dublin’s inner city are “disgracefully damp and mouldy”, with rat infestations and sewage problems, the Dáil has heard.
People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said after a recent visit to the Emmet building and the Oliver Bond flats in Dublin 8, “hundreds” of families are living in dangerous conditions which are causing health issues in children.
“To say that people are living in disgracefully damp and mouldy conditions is probably an understatement,” said Ms Smith.
The TD said there has been a high level of absenteeism in schools in the area due to respiratory conditions caused by mould and dampness.
“They need ventilation, new windows, most of these flats still have single glazed windows and they need a retrofitting programme,” she said.
Ms Smith added that although the housing complexes are “beautiful buildings”, there are lots of other issues to do with living in these complexes.
The Dublin South-Central TD said a “huge amount of negligence” has resulted in rat infestations, sewage problems and dangerous playgrounds.
“When you go into these estates the problems run greater,” she said.
“You have rat infestation, you have playgrounds that aren’t updated, soft playground stuff that is slippery and dangerous for children.
“In the case of Emmet buildings there is no emergency access for ambulances or the fire brigade, there is a huge amount of negligence.
“It’s not right to treat communities like this, they are the heart of the city and there are hundreds of families living in these conditions.
“Although regeneration is promised, it takes way too long to deal with fundamental basic health problems these people face on a daily basis.”
In response, Minister of State Kieran O’Donnell said 81pc of council-owned buildings in the inner city were built before housing regulations were introduced in 1991 and are “not very good at retaining heat”.
“All landlords, including local authorities, have a legal obligation to ensure their rented properties comply with the standards set,” he said.
“Local authorities take cases of mould very seriously, but 81pc of Dublin City Council social housing units were built before the introduction of the building regulations in 1991.
“Dwellings constructed prior have solid walls that are not very good at retaining heat,” he said.
The minister noted that in recent years, the council has carried out various works to eliminate condensation and introduced an energy efficiency programme in social homes.
He said 8,057 council units have been upgraded with cavity walls and attics insulated, while 110 units have had facades upgraded.
In reference to the Emmet buildings and Oliver Bond flats, Mr O’Donnell said, “it’s a matter we can take up with Dublin City Council to ensure they go out and visit those particular places”.
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