A woman with a life-limiting health condition says she and her family are living in freezing conditions because of delays in repairs to her council home after a suspected carbon monoxide leak.
Noreen O’Neill, from Mayfield in Cork, also said her son, Garry, 39, who has spina bifada, has been housebound for two months while awaiting for repairs to his wheelchair.
She said it is “a soul-destroying situation” to be in after her family was hit by a string of unfortunate incidents in recent weeks. She said she felt compelled to speak out on Monday because of the delays on the part of the HSE and Cork City Council.
“I’m in an awful position. I don’t know where to turn,” she said. Ms O’Neill was speaking to theafter she outlined her plight on the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s RedFM on Monday.
A widow for more than 20 years, Ms O’Neill, who is struggling with a life-limiting auto-immune illness herself, said Garry’s five-year-old custom-fit wheelchair broke down early last December. An occupational therapist assessed him a week later and said he needs a replacement chair.
But Ms O’Neill said six weeks on, they are still waiting for the replacement. She said Garry can’t move in his existing chair, has been housebound since and is struggling with his mental health.
“He can’t get around without a chair. My son is crying at this stage asking ‘why is this being done to me? I can’t go out, I have no life’,” she said.
And she said she has been unable to turn on her central heating after a suspected carbon monoxide leak was identified in her home just over two weeks ago - a home she shares with her daughter, and her two young children.
“I’ve a six-month-old grandchild and a five-year-old grandchild living with me and they are two weeks now living in a house without heat of any description. Their hands are blue with the cold,” she said.
She said the council provided electrical heaters but the electricity costs are “crippling”. She withheld her €111 weekly rent to the council last week in a bid to force its hand to fast-track the house repairs.
Cork City Council was asked on Monday to comment and a response is awaited. While several people rallied with offers of help and support, including a replacement wheelchair, it has been deemed unsuitable because it doesn’t fit Garry.
Local SF Cllr Ken Collins has taken up her case and is liaising with city officials on the house repairs. He has also asked SF TD Thomas Gould to follow up with the HSE on the wheelchair issue.