Ballymun, Dublin: Hypothermia Death Of Rachel Peavoy – Inquest Hears That Council Flat “Was Colder Inside … Than Outside”

25 Feb

PHONE calls made to maintenance numbers requesting the heating be switched on in an apartment block in which a young mother eventually died of hypothermia were “hung up on”, the Dublin City Coroner’s Court has heard.

At the inquest into the death of 30-year-old mother of two, Rachel Peavoy, a resident in the same Ballymun apartment complex, Linda McLoughlin, said she had repeatedly complained to council officials that “in her opinion” the apartments’ communal heating system had not been switched on as normal in September 2009.

She said following her complaints she was given the phone number of maintenance staff. When she called this number she was told it was incorrect and her calls hung up on. Ms McLoughlin testified that she checked the accuracy of the number but there continued to be “no response to my calls”.

The mother of three said she had a number of conversations with Ms Peavoy about the “absolutely freezing” conditions of the apartment complex which she concluded was “colder inside… than outside”.

Both Ms McLoughlin and Ms Peavoy bought heaters due to the problems with the under-floor heating system; the provision of which she stated was part of their council tenancy agreements.

Ms McLoughlin said her own heating bill had risen from €350 to €1,300 in the period prior to Ms Peavoy’s death and she had to turn to St Vincent de Paul for assistance in paying.

Michelle Quigley, a friend of Ms Peavoy’s, gave evidence that when she visited the flat on November 20, 2009, she and Ms Peavoy had to sit with coats on under a duvet due to the cold.

Ms Peavoy’s sister, Leontia, said Ms Peavoy had the use of halogen and electric heaters which were usually kept on in her young son’s bedroom. She said Ms Peavoy made numerous complaints to the council and the family had contacted local Fianna Fáil TD Noel Ahern who claimed he had sent letters to the council requesting the communal heating system be restored.

The inquest resumes on March 24 when evidence will be given by Dublin City Council officials.

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