Friday 21 October 2016

Dublin mum-of-two is facing a four-year wait for council to fix pyrite walls

Tracey Smyth with her children, Ryan (2) and Alannah (4) at their home, No. 8 Carton Close, Ballymun, which has Pyrite.
Tracey Smyth with her children, Ryan (2) and Alannah (4) at their home, No. 8 Carton Close, Ballymun, which has Pyrite.

A NORTHSIDE mum has said she is living in fear because of cracks across the walls and door frames of her council-owned house.

Tracey Smyth (27) has two small children, Ryan (2) and Alannah (4), and the family are living in a house that's affected by pyrite in the walls.

Tracey and her children moved into their home in Carton Close, Ballymun, in 2013.

She has severe cracks in the walls of her home due to problems caused by the mineral that's also known as 'fool's gold'.


The substandard building material can cause cracks to appear in walls and can also cause foundations to rise.

Repair works can take up to three months to complete and residents have to move out of their homes to allow the problem to be remedied.

Tracey said that the problem is worsening at a worrying rate in her house.

"Just in the last few days, two more cracks have appeared. I have a big hole over my electricity box.

"It's shocking, it looks like my ceiling is going to fall in," Tracey told the Herald.

"The council have said it will be 2019 before it gets done because of the homeless crisis. They have nowhere to move me while they do the work," she added.

"It's embarrassing. I can't bring anyone around. They've told me not to paint the house because there's no point.

"There are cracks everywhere; they are getting deeper and wider, shooting across the ceiling. It's really scary and I'm terrified."

Tracey is suffering from depression, which she also believes is brought on by the stress of the problems in her home.

"It's like the minute I walk out of the house I'm happy and the minute I walk back in, I'm in a big depression again. It doesn't feel like a home."

Tracey said Dublin City Council have sent people to do some repair work in her home but nothing has been done to solve the bigger pyrite problem.

Her son Ryan is prone to sickness and Tracey fears that it might be due to the pyrite in her walls.

"It's crazy that they have left us to live like this," she said.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Noeleen Reilly said that people forget that social housing was also affected by the use of pyrite during the building of the houses.

"It is getting to the point where I am concerned for the safety of residents living in Carton estate in Ballymun.

"Pyrite was first detected in homes in Ballymun in 2010. I don't believe that residents would have expected then to wait this long to have the problem fixed," she said.


"There are approximately 50 dwellings in Carton estate and these can only be fixed if there is alternative accommodation and at present there is none.

"It is proposed to fix the units in 14 separate phases but that means that it will be 2019 before some of these homes see any works. Again this is dependent on alternative places to put families.

"At the same time the houses are falling into further disrepair and more and more cracks are appearing every day," she added.

Dublin City Council did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by the Herald.

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