herald

Sunday 19 November 2017

Council of Europe slams condition of housing estates

Flats at Dolphin House in the city featured in the report
Flats at Dolphin House in the city featured in the report

People living in 20 of the most run-down housing estates in the country have won a partial victory in their battle for basic living conditions.

A European watchdog report said some residents, including many in Dublin's Dolphin House, were living with "sewage invasion" years after it was first reported.

It said conditions were so poor in some council properties that people live with contaminated water, dampness and persistent mould.

The European Committee of Social Rights, which is part of the Council of Europe, said standards had deteriorated since the economic crisis.

Standard

"The Government has failed to take sufficient measures to ensure the right to housing of an adequate standard for not an insignificant number of families living in local authority housing," it said.

It warned that there is no national timetable for local authority housing to be refurbished and that the last state survey of standards was 15 years ago.

However, it rejected complaints that people living in many of the estates were being discriminated against, or that their health, in particular those in Dolphin House, was affected by poor housing.

The report follows a complaint lodged in 2014 by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights on behalf of 130,000 residents of estates in inner-city Dublin and Limerick about sewage problems, leaks, damp and mould.

It highlighted conditions in estates including Dolphin House, St Theresa's Gardens, Charlemont Street and Bridgefoot Street in Dublin's south inner city and O'Devaney Gardens, Dominick Street and Croke Villas in the north inner city.

Residents of Dolphin House have reported breathing difficulties, diarrhoea, skin rashes and depression due to the poor conditions.

The report said some of the health issues were temporary and the complaint did not sufficiently demonstrate that health issues were directly caused by poor living conditions.

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