| 11°C Dublin

'I can't let the children in the kitchen any more, it's far too dangerous'

A Co Dublin family lives in fear of the effects of pyrite in their home.

Jane Ann McBride feels her kitchen is now too dangerous for her children. Her kitchen cabinets are bent out of shape as the floor continues to buckle.

"A cabinet door popped out of its frame and nearly took my husband's toes off. It was a heavy door and could have killed my little boy if he had been underneath when it fell," she said.

"I won't allow my children into the kitchen anymore," said mother-of-two Ms McBride (35), whose dream home at Moylaragh Crescent in Balbriggan has turned into a nightmare.

When she and her husband Jonathan Jennings bought the house in 2006 they had no idea of the problems that lay ahead.

High levels of pyrite have been discovered in the concrete in their house. "We spent €5,000 installing a new kitchen before the problems started and we're still repaying that loan.

"Now I'm terrified the pyrite could cause gas leaks in the house. I've carbon monoxide alarms everywhere. The gas company has gone into some other houses on the estate and re-laid their gas pipes.

"But we haven't called them in yet. Every time I switch on the heating I get butterflies in my stomach," she said.

"When I pull up in the car outside the house, I dread going inside to see if there are new cracks. It just doesn't feel like a home," she told the Herald.

When they bought the house second-hand, they did not know about the presence of pyrite. The first cracks were explained as "settlement cracks" by a builder,but the cracks kept getting bigger.







Cracks

They called HomeBond, the agency that is supposed to ensure that builders rectify faults.

The HomeBond representative saw huge cracks as he entered the hallway and told them "further investigation" was needed. But HomeBond later declared that pyrite was a problem they would not be rectifying for distraught homeowners.

The couple were informed early on that it would probably cost €40,000 to €50,000 to fix their house, including digging up all the ground floors. That work would mean moving out for a couple of months.

aokeeffe@herald.ie