Council tenants without running hot water for 38 years seek action

Council tenants without running hot water for 38 years seek action
Alan Duggan at his apartment on Noonan's Road.

A COUNCIL tenant and his 78-year-old mother have been without running hot water for 38 years and have decided to go public with their story out of desperation.

Disabled Alan Duggan, a resident of a two-story apartment on Noonan’s Road, lives with his mother who suffers from dementia.

Mr Duggan said the lack of central heating in his apartment has rendered his bedroom inhospitable due to mould and damp on the walls.

He added he regularly has to sleep on a mattress in his mother’s room due to the conditions in his own room and has even taken to sleeping at Penny Dinners or spending the night at 24-hour internet cafés. 

The Duggan’s also have issues with extremely old electrical fittings and a fuse box in the hall which dates from decades ago. They have no washing machine due to issues with plumbing.

The family are without a shower and bathe themselves by boiling a kettle and filling a plastic basin in the bath which has led to Alan’s mother falling and breaking her finger.

Conditions at Alan Duggan's council-owned apartment on Noonan's Road.
Conditions at Alan Duggan's council-owned apartment on Noonan's Road.

The family’s hot water cylinder and immersion were recently worked on by city council contractors but Mr Duggan said this only allows the water to heat to lukewarm temperatures at certain times of the day and is not hot enough to bathe with.

It is understood that all social housing tenants who were without central heating were offered heating systems by the council in the 1980s and '90s. Approximately 150 families refused.

Mr Duggan claims he has paid to use the services of B&Bs just so he can have a hot shower.

He told The Echo that the situation has taken a huge toll on his mental health.

“My mum has dementia and a disability. She has little balance. Two public health nurses came to the home and assessed the need for a wet room and shower two years ago and it was approved. We still haven’t got it.

“I have been told by the Council that it would be prioritised but nothing has happened. We have sent emails to no response.

“We don't have any hot running water in the flat and never had. We don’t have any heating and can only heat ourselves through the open fireplace.

The fuse box at Alan Duggan's council-owned apartment on Noonan's Road.
The fuse box at Alan Duggan's council-owned apartment on Noonan's Road.

“I have a bed in my room but I can’t sleep there. My wardrobe is empty because it is too damp. My clothes are in a plastic container and they are stored in my mum’s room.

“I sleep in her room as well because of the cold and damp. I have slept at Penny Dinners and spent the night in an internet café but my mum is old and I can’t leave her. Sleeping on a mattress in my mum’s room is awkward because I am intruding on her personal space.

“This is getting my mum down. She doesn’t go out,” he added.

City Council has approved a disability grant for a wet room for the family and has also installed new doors and double glazed windows in the apartment.

Condensation running down the walls at Alan Duggan's council-owned apartment on Noonan's Road.
Condensation running down the walls at Alan Duggan's council-owned apartment on Noonan's Road.

However, Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla said the local authority is failing to meet minimum standards in its own property.

“The Council has installed internal doors and double-glazed windows but each time they have avoided the main issue which is the hot water and the horrible black mould.

“A lot of the flats on Noonan’s Road are in very bad repair,” he added.

The local authority also has plans to provide central heating in the small number of remaining council-owned homes that are without it in the near future.

A city council spokesperson said: “The council is not in a position to comment on individual cases. However, the council is satisfied that it seeks to maintain and improve housing stock in accordance with statutory and best practice requirements, providing a reasonable standard for accommodation for the tenants.”

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