herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Family demand inquiry into Rachel's freezing flat death

The family of Rachel Peavoy -- the mother of two who died from hypothermia in her council flat -- have increased their pressure on the Government to hold a public inquiry into Rachel's death.

Her two children, Leon (8) and Warren (12), took part in a group protest outside the offices of Dublin City Council in Ballymun yesterday, a short distance from the complex where the 30-year-old mother died.

Rachel was found dead in the flat in January 2010 and both friends and family say there are issues which need to be answered in a public forum.

Her family have already disagreed with Dublin City Coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, who found that Rachel died of hypothermia but recorded a verdict of death by misadventure at her inquest.

In a heartrending letter, published by the Herald, Rachel had made a desperate plea to housing officials to fix her heating or move the family for the sake of her two boys.

"I feel that I should not be left in this, but also feel like I am not being listened to (by Dublin City Council)," she wrote. "I have no heating and was only recently told they can't fix this problem. I feel it is necessary to break out of this environment for myself and my boys."

Her family say she had made a number of attempts to get rehoused due to an absence of heating. However, Dublin City Council has insisted that the heating was working in her flat at the time.

Yesterday, Catherine Greene, a friend of Ms Peavoy, said they had been meeting with TDs in an attempt to lobby for a public inquiry in the Dail.

She said some issues needed to be examined, such as the testimony of witnesses, in a separate public hearing.

Leonita Peavoy, a sister of Rachel, said the family are still "upset and shocked" 18 months after her death and the two children are now in her care.

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis supports the call for an inquiry and believes that the coroners' report was not sufficient.

"I think the family are entitled to a full explanation," he said. "We need to take everything in account, the circumstances of everything that happened to her."

A spokesman for the council has refused to comment on the call for the inquiry or the continued protests.

"They have the right to protest and that is their prerogative," he said. "The coroner has returned his determination into the case and we have co-operated fully with him."

A spokesman for Housing Minister Willie Penrose said they had not received any request for an inquiry into the death of Ms Peavoy.

csheehy@herald.ie

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