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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 16 June 2021

Council were to fix Rachel Peavoy's heating two weeks after she died

Documents obtained by the Irish Mail on Sunday show a ‘target date’ for resolving heating issues 16 days after Peavoy’s death.

Mother-of-two Rachel Peavoy died alone in her council flat in January 2010, with hypothermia the primary cause of death.
Mother-of-two Rachel Peavoy died alone in her council flat in January 2010, with hypothermia the primary cause of death.

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL were due to resolve the ongoing central heating problems at the flat of the late Rachel Peavoy by the end of January 2010 – two weeks after the mother of two died of hypothermia in her council flat.

Peavoy was found dead on January 11, 2010, having succumbed to hypothermia. A garda testifying at an inquest into her death earlier this week said her flat had been “freezing”, as the cold snap had caused snowy weather outside.

Rachel and her family had written had written to her local TD, former housing minister Noel Ahern, trying to get the heating fixed – but to no avail, leaving the flat “perilously cold” during the cold weather that ultimately took her life.

Internal council records obtained by the Irish Mail on Sunday have today shown, however, have shown that the council had long been aware of the lack of heat in her flat – and had set a ‘target date’ of resolving the problem by January 27.

Problems had been recorded two months previously, when the council noted a severe dampness problem, and in an internal email the council acknowledged that the fact there were empty flats beside Rachel’s – which had broken windows, causing any heating to leak out.

A housing manager sad said he would “arrange to get these boarded up”, the emails read.

At an inquest last week, council engineer Brendan Furlong said Peavoy’s heating had not been disconnected, and added that the heating system at the complex where Peavoy lived was disabled only when the temperature outside reached 20°C.

The inquest also heard a council staff member claim that the windows in Peavoy’s flat were open when she was found dead. The inquest was adjourned until two weeks’ time on foot of this suggestion, as coroner Brian Farrell said it was the first time such a claim had been made.

Peavoy’s mother Celine said she would not be returning to any further inquests, saying she could not bear to “listen to any more lies”.

The heating was ultimately repaired in June 2010, five months after Peavoy’s death.

Read more in today’s Irish Mail on Sunday >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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