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Tenant's €15k for sewage in shower ordeal

A burns victim, who needs to shower several times a day because of his injuries, was left by Dublin City Council to live in conditions unfit for human habitation, a judge has said.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, said Anthony Gannon (54) had complained for years about sewage welling up in his shower tray and spilling over into his bathroom before anything was done about it.

Yesterday, in a test case that could apply to hundreds of the council's flat dwellers, the judge awarded Gannon, who is registered as disabled, €15,000 damages against the local authority.

"The evidence leads me inevitably to conclude that his apartment at Dolphin House was unfit for human habitation and in breach of the council's contractual duty of care under the Housing Act," he said.

Mr Gannon, who was severely burned as a child when he fell on an electric cooker, told the court he had lived at Dolphin House, Dublin, for 25 years until he was eventually re-housed at Blackditch, Ballyfermot, Dublin, only a month ago.

He said he had complained for years when sewage started backing up into his bath. The bath had been replaced and a shower, with full safety attachments for a disabled person, had been installed.

The problem returned with raw human sewage filling up his shower tray and spilling over. From time to time the problem had been inspected but little or nothing was done.

Deborah Ryan, the council's senior liability and risk control officer, told barrister John P. Kehoe, counsel for the local authority, that there had been issues with the shower but the problem had been rectified. When shown pictures of sewage in the shower she said it was unacceptable and she certainly would not shower in it.

The court heard the 436-flat complex had been due for redevelopment but the plans had fallen through.