herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

'We had to put off having a family', says mum over 6-year pyrite nightmare

Jenny Doyle pictured with Minister for State Paudie Coffey, Regina Doherty T.D and Helen McEntee T.D pictured at her home in Ashewood Green Ashbourne after getting back the keys to her house after a Pyrite problem
Jenny Doyle pictured with Minister for State Paudie Coffey, Regina Doherty T.D and Helen McEntee T.D pictured at her home in Ashewood Green Ashbourne after getting back the keys to her house after a Pyrite problem
Jenny Doyle with her Son Joey (3) pictured at her home in Ashewood Green Ashbourne after getting back the keys to her house after a Pyrite problem

A young mother has told how she delayed starting a family due to the "unimaginable stress" caused by living in a home riddled with pyrite.

The mineral can cause severe structural damage to buildings, with cracks appearing in walls and floors.

Yesterday, Jenny Doyle received the keys to her newly refurbished home after fighting for over six years to get €40,000 worth of damage rectified.

She is one of the first homeowners to have their property repaired under the Government's €10m pyrite resolution scheme.

Residents of two housing estates in Rush, north Dublin, and Ashbourne, Co Meath, had waited up to six years to have the serious structural problems fixed.

The 31-year-old first moved into the three-bedroom "starter house" in the Ashewood estate, in Ashbourne, Co Meath, in 2005.

She and her husband paid over €280,000 for the property, which was bought "off the plans".

Jenny described their ordeal as the most stressful episode of her life.

"It caused us to put off having a family. The personal stress was on a level I had never experienced before," she told the Herald.

"The doors wouldn't open - and there were massive cracks all over the house.

"We had just got married when we moved into the house, and simply didn't have the money needed to fix the various problems involved.

"It was meant to be a starter house and a stepping stone to move somewhere else. But we've been fighting tooth and nail for the past six years as we watched our home literally fall apart around us."

She described the process of applying for assistance through the State-funded pyrite remediation scheme as "extremely difficult".

"There's a lot of red tape to get through and we've had to battle really hard to get our house put back together," she added. She has spent the last three months in rented accommodation in Ashbourne while her home was being rebuilt.

"During that time the builders ripped out the inside of the house. They drilled three metres into the ground until they hit clay.

"Then then took out the kitchen, floors and toilet. Absolutely everything was removed from downstairs before new floors could be put down.

"And we're still battling to have snags finished."

Latest figures reveal only 21 houses - out of nearly 800 applications - have been remediated under the initiative, which repairs homes contaminated by the mineral.

However, 520 homes have been accepted into the scheme which is to cost the Government over €10m.

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