20 May 2006

Ardoyne home owner speaks of asbestos fears in the area

Irelandclick

But Housing Executive says planned house inspections are purely routine

The Housing Executive has acted quickly to calm fears in Ardoyne that there is an asbestos risk in some local homes.
Concerns were raised among residents when a letter was distributed to homes saying that in the next number of weeks specialist consultants would be visiting houses in the Strathroy Park, Etna Drive, Holmdene Gardens, Northwick Drive and Highbury Gardens to see if there was any asbestos in houses.
But the Executive insists the inspections are just routine maintenance and part of a rolling scheme.
The letter, which was distributed to every house in the five streets, says the Executive will be compiling a register of how much asbestos, if any, is in each dwelling.
Paul O’Neill, who lives in Strathroy Park, said he was concerned at receiving the letter.
“We have had a lot of work done in the past and my fear is that if there is asbestos in the house it has been disturbed by the building work. The Housing Executive should have checked the houses before they did the renovation work instead of doing it now.
“There are children in nearly all of the houses mentioned in the letter and I am worried that they could be affected by the asbestos when work was done to the houses,” he said.
A spokesman for the Housing Executive said asbestos checks are a routine procedure.
“As part of health and safety regulations for the management of asbestos the Housing Executive has established a procedure for the inspection of all our properties as part of the routine inspections required for planned cyclical maintenance schemes,” said the spokesman.
“Such a scheme is scheduled for the Ardoyne area, and as is routine in all these cases, the houses involved will be checked to establish if there is the presence of asbestos in the property.
“Strict health and safety conditions are set down for the removal of asbestos.
“The Housing Executive will employ a licensed contractor who is trained in the specialist handling and removal of asbestos.
“Tenants would also receive appropriate compensation when the work is completed,” he said.

Journalist:: Evan Short

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