‘There was green and black mould on the base of my baby’s cot – it’s like living in a nightmare’
Brendan Keogh (42), who lives in Drumcondra, Dublin, with his partner, Ruth and their three-month-old-son Tadhg, are pleading to be rehoused before their baby falls ill from potentially deadly toxic spores.
“We are constantly dealing with chesty coughs and infections and the baby has had a cold and been unwell too. We don’t know what he is breathing in. He was six weeks premature so we are just constantly stressed out, it’s like living in a nightmare,” he said.
Speaking exclusively to the Sunday World, Brendan said it’s impossible to contain the problem.
“There is a constant smell of mould, I am constantly blitzing it out of it and it is like a petri dish, it is just coming from everywhere. It is a losing battle once there is mould in the walls it is never going to go away.”
Brendan, who works in logistics, first began noticing issues with damp and mould when the couple moved into the NAMA-owned apartment block, Calderwood Court, seven years ago.
Despite their attempts to liaise with their dedicated Housing Officer, he claims they have been forced to take matters into their own hands.
“I am constantly cleaning down the apartment and fixing it up with anti- mould paint and spray but nothing works,” he said.
Finding mould in the baby’s bedding was the last straw for the distraught parents.
“There was green and black mould on the base of the cot under the baby’s mattress. There was even mould on his babygro and bedding, we washed it and left it to dry and there was still mould on it.”
The devoted dad’s plea for help comes after the recent inquest into the death of toddler Awaab Ishak, who died in December 2020, eight days after his second birthday, as a direct result of black mould in the flat he lived in.
Speaking of his fears for his young family, the Dubliner said: “There is black and green mould everywhere. Even in the kitchen when I shook the blinds there was a green blanket of mould coming out of it. I’ve had to throw out clothes and furniture because the mould has destroyed them. This stuff can kill people.
“When we complain we are told ‘keep your heating on, open your windows’ and we do but it is just getting worse. Our newborn son is breathing that in and we are told we have to wait to get NAMA, our landlord involved.”
In a distressing video the despairing dad shared with the Sunday World, pools of water can be seen gathering at the bottom of a window in the living room while thick clumps of green and black mould cling to the walls.
“I only cleaned that about two weeks ago and it is coming back. I used Milton on that. I have the heating on, I have the extractor fan on and it is costing a lot of electricity. The whole apartment has to be insulated — it is ridiculous with a newborn baby living here, we are sick of it now.”
In the bedroom, things are no better. The baby’s crib and the couples’ bed sit on blackened, mouldy floorboards. “Our bedroom is above the garage and there is no insulation so the damp rises and our bedroom floor is damp and cold, hence the mould.
“We have put up with it for years and it was that cold we basically just lived in the bedroom because it was the easiest place to heat, but now we have the baby enough is enough.” After desperate attempts to improve their living situation, modifications were made before Christmas when the landlord intervened.
“NAMA came and put in new insulation in the bedroom and plastered over it. It’s like putting a plaster on it, there is still mould everywhere, in the bathroom and the kitchen.”
The couple previously refused to speak out due to the worsening housing crisis and for fear of not finding suitable accommodation.
“We love the area, and it is Co-Op housing so it is affordable. We have built our life here. But now we just can’t live here any more. We have a right to be rehoused and live somewhere that is safe.”