herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Boy awarded €20k after getting bronchitis from mould in rented house

Urszula Szafirowska brought the case on her son’s behalf
Urszula Szafirowska brought the case on her son’s behalf

A 16-month-old child who allegedly developed acute bronchitis because of damp and mouldy conditions at his mother's rented home was yesterday awarded €20,000 against her former landlords.

Barrister Lydia Bunni told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that Dawid Szafirowski, now aged six, had three times been referred to accident and emergency units and twice detained for treatment of his illness.

Ms Bunni said the defendants - Damien and Natasha Long and Ray Cooke Auctioneers - had entered a full defence to the claim lodged on Dawid's behalf by his mother, Urszula Szafirowska.

She told the Circuit Civil Court that the defendants claimed water running down the walls and conditions of condensation and mould had been caused by Ms Szafirowska and her husband having blocked up air vents in the property.

She said this had been fully denied by the boy's parents.

Ms Bunni said the family had rented the Longs' house at Cherrywood Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin, which had been managed by Ray Cooke Auctioneers.

In September 2012, condensation and then mould appeared, and during that autumn Dawid had started to develop severe chest infections and respiratory problems.

Concerned

Ms Szafirowska, now of St John's Wood, Clondalkin, said in a statement to the court that the dampness had been reported to all of the defendants but they had failed to rectify the issue.

She claimed their inaction had led to Dawid having to be hospitalised on two occasions and to see his GP many times.

Ms Szafirowska said she had become extremely concerned about Dawid's ability to breathe and, so severe was his initial complaint that the family doctor had advised her to take him immediately to the paediatric unit of Tallaght Hospital, where X-rays revealed he had acute bronchitis in his left lung.

Ms Bunni told the court that, following treatment as an inpatient, Dawid had been discharged to the care of their GP.

He continued to see his doctor with ongoing respiratory difficulties, developing a recurrent wheeze that would be exacerbated by bad weather.

He was hospitalised at 16 months and again when aged two years and three months.

In August 2014, respiratory paediatric consultant Peter Greally reported that Dawid's respiratory symptoms had been induced by adverse damp, mouldy conditions.

Ms Bunni said that, on an earlier occasion, the defendants had made a settlement offer of €10,000 to Dawid, but this had been rejected by the court.

She said Dawid had ongoing asthma and the defendants had since doubled the offer to €20,000, which she was recommending to the court.

Judge Groarke approved the offer.

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