Residents of the Gleann Riada estate in Longford town have been warned by experts from the Health Service Executive (HSE) not to light fires in their homes in order to allow the ventilation of dangerous gases that have now built up in the housing development.
Residents were also told that while their homes were “unsafe” to live in, there were a number of temporary measures that could be taken to alleviate health and safety issues- in the short-term.
Representatives of the HSE, Dr Una Fallon, Dr Phil Jennings and Dr Kevin Kelleher met with Gleann Riada residents at the Longford Arms Hotel yesterday, Tuesday, morning on foot of last week’s report which stated that a dangerous build up of methane and carbon monoxide gas levels had occurred at Gleann Riada. It is believed that this led to an explosion at one of the homes last March. The Leader has learned that a second explosion occurred at the Longford town estate last Thursday and an investigation is currently taking place in respect of the matter.
“The houses need to be ventilated to prevent the accumulation of gasses; our advice is no fires, keep water traps full in toilets and ensure that the whole house is well ventilated,” Dr Una Fallon stated. “When we carried out the report, we discovered that there was no ventilation in the downstairs toilets and that will need to be addressed. If this advice is not carried out, the houses at Gleann Riada are unsafe.”
Speaking at the meeting, John McNamara, consultant engineer said: “I am calling for a full investigation of all the homes; we want a 100 percent guarantee that our homes are safe.”
“We acknowledge that the estate is unsafe,” Dr Kellegher said, adding that “until necessary and immediate remedial works were carried out” the advice of the experts must be acted upon.
The meeting was told that landlords with tenants in the estate “held a duty of care” to people on their property and a landlady told the meeting that she removed her tenants last March because of the onus of responsibility that was on her.
It then came to light that soil subsidence at Gleann Riada had led to cracked and sinking pavements and that the subsequent “extra pressure” on the sewage system and piping, had broken and damaged the infrastructure - a major contributory factor in the build up of the toxic gasses, the experts revealed.
“There are potential hazards in those houses and immediate measures need to be taken to make the houses safe to live in,” Dr Kellegher continued. “The infrastructural works outside of the homes are not the responsibility of the HSE...... The houses in Gleann Riada are fundamentally unsafe.”