A 28-YEAR-OLD mother of three and her young children, who suffered “recurring respiratory illness” because of the state of their local authority home, have been awarded damages against Dublin City Council.
Barrister Kevin Lenahan told Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court today that homemaker Janice Maguire believed her family illnesses had been caused by damp and mould in her maisonette home at Lissadell Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12.
Mr Lenahan, who appeared with Ferry’s Solicitors for the family, said Ms Maguire had accepted undisclosed damages to settle her own €38,000 personal injuries claim against the City Council.
Judge Linnane approved settlement offers for the three children – €6,000 for Harrison Maguire (5) and €4,000 each for his brother Chad (9) and his sister Kadie Mae (8).
Mr Lenahan told the court that family members who moved into the two-bedroom maisonette in 2010 have had to attend their GP on various occasions during 2010, 2011 and 2012 for ongoing treatment for respiratory illness.
He said the family had suffered personal injuries arising from their housing conditions including damp and mould and had suffered episodic bouts of chest cough developed from allergies to household mites caused by the mould.
Defective and inadequate
Mr Lenahan told Judge Linnane that when Ms Maguire took over the tenancy of the maisonette in 2010 there was an implied term that the property would remain fit for human habitation.
The mother alleged in her civil bill that the property had been allowed to become unfit for human habitation because of defective and inadequate insulation and ventilation that had resulted in general dampness and fungal growth.
She alleged a portion of the living room ceiling had collapsed and that she and her children had suffered deterioration in their general health and particularly their respiratory systems. They had suffered recurring illnesses, medical reports of which had been submitted to the court.
Dublin City Council had entered a defence in the proceedings claiming it was not negligent and had not breached any duty to its tenants.
Mr Lenahan told the court he was recommending the settlement offers on the basis that, in the event of losing their case at trial, the family could end up with no compensation.
He said the reason for Harrison Maguire’s damages being €2,000 higher than his siblings was that he was born in 2011 after the family had moved into the house and it could not have been shown that any contribution to his ill health had been caused by his previously having lived elsewhere.
Judge Linnane told Ms Maguire she was approving the settlements in relation to her children as she had been told there could be difficulties in proving liability in their cases. She struck out Ms Maguire’s personal claim which had been settled. Terms of her settlement were not publicly divulged in court.