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Derry residents bid to fight ‘Dickensian’ living conditions

By Donna Deeney

Published 02/09/2015

Anna Fisher from Rinmore Drive in Creggan in one of the Housing Executive houses where damp is causing major problems. Pic: Martin McKeown
Anna Fisher from Rinmore Drive in Creggan in one of the Housing Executive houses where damp is causing major problems. Pic: Martin McKeown

Residents in two areas of the Creggan in Londonderry who describe the standard of their Housing Executive homes as “Dickensian” are stepping up their campaign for improved living conditions.

The families claim damp walls and inadequate sewage fittings in Housing Executive houses are contributing to a high level of asthma and chest infections.

People living in the Rinmore Drive and Creggan Heights areas have attacked a plan by the Housing Executive to paint the exterior of the houses and repair fences as an inadequate cosmetic exercise. 

Anna Fisher moved into her Rinmore Drive home four years ago and was diagnosed with asthma a year later. Since then she has needed continuous treatment for the condition, most recently an overnight stay in Altnagelvin Hospital last weekend.

She has organised a public meeting for residents.  

Ms Fisher said it was outrageous that people were still living in such damp and inhospitable conditions in the 21st century.

She said: “We have tried to get the damp and mould problems fixed before without success and now the Housing Executive has almost added insult to injury by saying they are going to paint the outside of the houses and fix up fences.

“Meanwhile, we are inside suffering ill health.

“What I do know is the windows are so badly fitted they leak water and you can see the curtains moving when it is windy. Every wall is damp and the very clothes you lift out of wardrobes and cupboards are damp and smell musty. We are out a small fortune painting the walls with damp-proof paint and no matter how often you treat the walls and kitchen cupboards with fungicide it comes back.

“We are living in houses that are not fit for human beings. They are Dickensian and are the reason why there are so many people with ill-health.

“It is the same for the people living in Creggan Heights so we have come together to see what we can do to get the Housing Executive to carry out the work that actually needs to be done instead of tarting up the outside of the houses.”

The Housing Executive and all local elected representatives has been invited to a meeting in the Corn Beef Tin, Central Drive, Creggan, at 7pm tomorrow.

A HE spokeswoman said: “The Housing Executive continues to meet with residents from Rinmore Drive and local elected representatives and has agreed to follow up on a number of issues.”

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