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Family forced out of home after 'toxic' mould made their children sick, court told

Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly claim issues with their house resulted in their two young sons developing respiratory infections.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Billion Photos

A COUPLE AND their two young sons have been out of their home for over six years their home because their children were made sick by “toxic” mould and fungus in the property, the High Court has heard.

Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly bought and moved into a three-bedroom duplex at Millrace Crescent, Saggart, Co Dublin in 2005 for approximately €280,000.

They claim the property had many defects which were not rectified, including condensation, mould and fungus growth caused by poor ventilation in the attic and bedrooms. They claim this resulted in their two young sons developing respiratory infections.

After many visits to the GP and the emergency department in Tallaght hospital the O’Reillys, who got test results in June 2010 that showed one of their children had a mass on one of his lungs, were given medical advice to leave the property, which they did in August 2010.

The O’Reillys – represented by John Gibbons SC, Seamas Ó Tuathail AS and Dolores Keane BL – remain out of the house and have been living in rented accommodation ever since.

As a result they have sued the builders and developers of the property seeking damages for alleging negligence and breach of duty, including that the defendants failed to ensure the property was free from defects which would endanger the O’Reilly family’s health.

The family is seeking a declaration from the court that they are entitled to have the purchase contract they entered into with the developer and builders of the property rescinded and repaid to them.

Their action is against builders Seamus, Liam, Colm, Anthony and Brendan Neville and William Neville and Sons, a building and development company trading as the Neville Development Partnership.

All the defendants, who are all based in Co Wexford, deny the claims. They say they made an open offer to repair anything that may be wrong with the property, which was refused by the O’Reillys.

Efforts to mediate the dispute did not succeed the court also heard.

Leaks and cracks

Giving evidence to the court, Antoinette O’Reilly said there were problems with leaks, inappropriate ventilation, water ingress on the property’s balconies, insulation and cracks in the building.

She agreed with Ó Tuathail, that there were a number of serious defects with property from the time they took up residence including leaks, mould in the attic, poor ventilation, and on one occasion the bath in the house collapsed and dropped a few inches.

The bath was suspended and attached to the wall by silicon, she said. They made contact with the Nevilles and and workmen came to their property. However she said the problems were not repaired.

Eventually the family moved out and initially stayed with relatives and now reside in rented accommodation in Rathcoole.

Under cross-examination by Gavin Mooney BL for the defendants she accepted that after the O’Reillys raised issues about the property the defendants and their workers attended at the property to carry out repairs, but said the problems with the property remained.

She said the mould found in the house had been deemed toxic by their experts.

She also said they had rejected open offers by the defendants to have the property repaired and brought High Court proceedings based on expert advice she and her husband received.

The action before Justice Donald Binchy, who had at one point during the hearing urged the sides to make efforts to resolve the case, continues.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Read: Woman fined €100 after admitting bigamy at Limerick court

Read: Bernadette Scully: ‘I had lost my reason for living. I had lost my Emily.’

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About the author:

Aodhan O'Faolain

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