A couple and their two young sons have been out of their home for over six years because their children were made sick by “toxic” mould and fungus in the property, the High Court has heard.

Shane and Antoinette O’Reilly bought and moved into a three-bedroom duplex at Hillrace Crescent, Saggart, Co Dublin, in 2005 for approximately €280,000.

However, they claim the property had many defects which were not rectified, including condensation, mould, and fungus growth caused by poor ventilation in the attic and bedrooms. They claim this resulted in their sons developing respiratory infections.

After many visits to the GP and the emergency department in Tallaght Hospital, the O’Reillys, who got test results in June 2010 that showed one of their children had a mass on one of his lungs, were given medical advice to leave the property, which they did in August 2010.

The O’Reillys remain out of the house and have been living in rented accommodation ever since.

As a result, they have sued the builders and developers of the property seeking damages for alleging negligence, breach of duty including that the defendants failed to ensure the property was free from defects which would endanger the O’Reilly family’s health.

The family seeks a declaration from the court that they are entitled to have the purchase contract they entered into with the developer and builders of the property rescinded.

Their action is against builders Seamus, Liam, Colm, Anthony, and Brendan Neville, and William Neville and Sons, a building and development company trading as the Neville Development Partnership.

All the defendants, who are all based in Co Wexford, deny the claims. They say they made an open offer to repair anything that may be wrong with the property, which was refused by the O’Reillys.

Efforts to mediate the dispute did not succeed the court also heard.

Giving evidence to the court, Ms O’Reilly said there were problems with leaks, inappropriate ventilation, water ingress on the property’s balconies, insulation, and cracks in the building.

She said there were a number of serious defects with the property from the time they took up residence, including leaks, mould in the attic, poor ventilation, and, on one occasion, the bath in the house collapsed and dropped a few inches.

The bath, she said, was suspended and attached to the wall by silicon, she said. They made contact with the Nevilles and workmen came to their property. However, she said the problems were not repaired.

Eventually, the family moved out and initially stayed with relatives and now reside in rented accommodation in Rathcoole.

Under cross-examination by Gavin Mooney, counsel for the defendants, she accepted that after the O’Reillys raised issues about the property, the defendants and their workers attended at the property to carry out repairs, but said the problems with the property remained.

The action continues.


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