Family appeal to return to home

Anthony Kiely at the rear of the burnt out house in Moyvane that is still open to the elements.
Anthony Kiely at the rear of the burnt out house in Moyvane that is still open to the elements.

Dónal Nolan

Over a year and a half since their neighbour lost his life in a fire that also damaged their house and a North Kerry family is still waiting to get back into their beloved family home.

Tony and Lena Kiely and sons Anthony and Paul had to abandon their home at 35 Woodgrove, Moyvane, in the aftermath of the tragedy of May 16, 2016 which claimed the life of their elderly neighbour James Fitzgerald - despite valiant attempts against the flames and smoke by Tony and Paul to rescue him.

The fire gutted Mr Fitzgerald's Council-owned home and caused such damage to the Kiely's privately-owned home adjoining it that the family had no choice but to opt for the nearest available house to rent in the area - a smaller two-bedroom house in the same estate.

"When we left we thought it would only be for a few weeks before we were back in. We can't believe we are still waiting a year and a half later," Anthony Kiely Jnr told The Kerryman this week.

The family claim the delay in getting back in is due to the fact Kerry County Council has not yet repaired the home for which it is responsible.

"Basically our insurance won't pay out until Kerry County Council fixes the structural damage to both homes and an engineer signs off on the work. We had to completely strip our home as the smoke damage was extensive. All our furniture and kitchen fittings had to go and the ceilings will have to be replaced too.

"The fire caused damage to the party wall between the homes, and the felt was burned under the slates on our roof. The fire also caused a large hole in the roof of the house next door that has also allowed the rain water to get into our home."Mr Fitzgerald's burned-out home remains completely open to the elements at its rear via windows blasted out in the fire which are unsecured. The hole in the roof of the late Mr Fitzgerald's home was meanwhile secured at Easter, Mr Kiely said.

"We've been onto the Council for months. Being out of our home for so long is causing us a lot of stress. But we don't seem to be getting anywhere.

"We were told last week that a contract for the job fell through which made us feel even more frustrated," Mr Kiely said.

Kerry County Council declined to say anything beyond the fact it does 'not comment on individual cases' but The Kerryman understands the authority is now actively seeking to appoint a contractor soon to carry out the work the Kielys so urgently need completed.