Dublin residents campaign for better housing conditionsBy John Kilraine
Residents of a Dublin flat complex where 83% of residents are living with mould and damp have started a campaign for better housing conditions.
The 1,200 occupants of Oliver Bond flats in the south city have been told that it will be 15 years before regeneration is completed.
The residents have previously held public protests over rat infestation and drug dealing in the complex of 397 units.
A survey answered by 50% of them found that over one third still have problems with pest infestation, 64% said they do not have adequate vermin-free refuse storage areas, and 35% reported sewage problems.
It also found that over 55% of residents have been told by a medical practitioner that damp, mould or sewage is contributing to ill-health in their families.
Over 30% have water coming into their homes, exacerbating the mould and damp.
Over two thirds of residents say they are concerned about criminal activity and antisocial behaviour in their complex, which they say is having a negative impact on young people in particular.
The residents have launched "We're Sick Waiting - A Campaign for Better Housing" calling for Dublin City Council to fast track regeneration plans and put in place immediate interim improvements.
Oliver Bond House, which is one of the oldest and largest flat complexes in Dublin city, was built in 1936.
Lynette Lyons, a member of the Oliver Bond Residents' Group, said: "We are living with damp and mould that we have to wipe down weekly.
"We can't keep clothes in our wardrobes. We have to wipe down our children’s schoolbags. Most of the windows are ill-fitting, old and draughty. It’s impossible to keep the flats warm.
"Older people and children particularly are really vulnerable to the effects of the cold, damp and mould spores. It’s frustrating to see our dreams and our rights to adequate housing pushed back, year after year."
She said the regeneration plan was first presented eight years ago, has still not started and residents have not even been given a definite time frame.
The residents' group has asked for six specific interim improvements: replacement of windows, painting the balconies and stairwells, erecting external gates for improved safety and security, improving children’s play facilities, better maintenance and improved consultation.
n a statement Dublin City Council said the regeneration of Oliver Bond flats is a priority and that a decision on the appointment of a design team is expected shortly from the Government.
It stated that once Level 5 restrictions are lifted, a programme of short term works will resume including environmental works, painting of common areas, regularising parking and provision of centralised and secured bin enclosures.
Further work is planned with regards to improving the play facilities in the complex, it added.
Maintenance staff are examining the windows to see if interim works can be carried out before regeneration, subject to funding,
The statement also said that the council is working with gardaí and residents to tackle crime and anti social behaviour.