A FAMILY narrowly escaped injury when a ceiling suddenly collapsed onto the stairs in their Dublin home.
Byrne family members were relaxing at their home in the North Strand yesterday when they heard a loud bang as a section of the ceiling caved in.
"It was a terrible shock. We're so lucky nobody was injured," said Frank Byrne (67).
Mr Byrne, his wife Philomena (58) and son Rory (32) were in the red-bricked terraced house at Shamrock Cottages when the terrifying incident happened.
"I'm just relieved none of us were on the stairs when it happened," said Mr Byrne.
He said his daughter-in-law Audrey regularly carried her 10-month-old daughter Jennifer up and down the stairs and he said the collapse could have had tragic consequences for the baby or any members of the family.
The old cottage homes are owned by Dublin City Council. When they informed the council, a man visited their home and pulled down a section of the remaining ceiling because it was in a dangerous condition, said Mr Byrne.
Mr Byrne said the huge amount of dust posed a hazard to his lungs as he suffers from emphysema.
"It happened around noon to 12.30 when we were watching a programme about the Second World War. The next thing there was this really loud bang," he said.
Their home is in an area where German aircraft dropped bombs in May 1941 which killed 28 people, wounded 90 and damaged 300 homes.
Mr Byrne and his wife said they wanted the council to respond to their situation as a matter of urgency.
They also said they have appealed to the council and their gas company to bring the gas meter down to eye level in the family home.
They use 'pay-as-you-go' gas cards which must be inserted in the meter around eight feet above the hall floor.
Mr Byrne has to climb onto a tall stool and keep his balance to insert the card into the meter.