A Young Mother Dies of Hypothermia in Ballymun: Rachel Peavoy R.I.P.

I felt compelled to contribute to this thread as I live in Ballymun and I am terribly, terribly upset by what happened that young woman. I currently live in a house but I lived in the flats for 16 years.

Some of the facts about the regeneration process are:

The Regeneration Project ran out of funding almost three years ago and as such many projects have stalled in the area. There are half-built housing estates dotted throughout which are now derelict as the building contractors have gone out of business. In the case of those being re-homed from Shangan, many of the tenants were rehomed over the past few years but a substantial minority still remain to be re-housed.

They have been living in a nightmare with empty flats all around them, rising vandalism and criminality and, in this womans case, the withdrawal of essential heating for their homes.

Its worth noting that the day after this woman was found dead, the heating was turned BACK ON in the block where she lived. This woman was waiting to be homed but didnt have enough ‘points’ and was therefore way down the list of priorities. Dublin City Council’s rationale for turning off the heating was that it was costing too much to heat the block of flats because most of them were empty and the heat was simply going straight out the windows.

There is a centrally located heating system in Ballymun which heats all the flats to the same temperature. No individual has control of their heating. When you sign a tenancy agreement with DCC for a flat in Ballymun you agree to pay xx percentage on top of your rent for heating costs. So there is no question but that anyone in Ballymun gets ‘free’ heating.

I know from local knowledge that this woman was up to date with her rent payments so there is no question of her having her heating ‘cut off’ because of that.

Anyway as I said its impossible to cut off one flat from the centrally located system. The only control that the system has is to turn off the heating from the outside spine blocks inwards towards the central boiler and close down the pipes block by block. This young woman had made endless efforts to try and get the heating issue resolved. When it was clear that DCC were not going to turn the heating back on she tried to get help with alternative heating costs. There are limited alternative heating options in these flats. Gas cylinders are banned because in the past they caused explosions in the flats, risking the lives of other nearby flat dwellers. There are no fireplaces so thats not an option either. The only option was electric heaters and trying to appropriately heat a large, cold concrete box with electric heaters would have been next to impossible.

She did have an electric fan heater and used her oven to dry clothes so she was trying to do the best she could I guess. When this young woman went to sleep that night, I suggest that she would never have thought for a minute that she wouldn’t wake up. Sure she was cold – but then again many people are. I know if I was in that situation I might have thought ‘if I put enough clothes on me I will, at worst, have a bad nights sleep’. Thank God she brought her kids to her mothers home.

They must have been feeling the cold very badly during that cold snap in January 2010 when temperatures reached – 11 degrees.

As to whether she should have stayed in the flat or not – with hindsight of course she shouldn’t. Hindsight is a great thing though. Many residents of those blocks have stories of being ‘forced’ to leave their homes to stay with friends ostly because of the fear they have of living in such isolated conditions riddled with anti social behaviour.
The problem is that if you leave your home, the chances are that it will be burgled and your property either destroyed or stolen. The story in the link below is just one of a few I’m aware of. The picture of Shangan flats in the background gives you an idea of how many are empty and boarded up.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say. The Inquest has been adjourned til Feb 24th so best to leave the speculation out till then. The few things that are clear however are that she did die from hypothermia, she was a young woman with no underlying system conditions and that she has left two young children behind her.

22 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TalentCoop, Jasminka Griffin, Thunder Bird, Fianna Failed, Wicklow Community TV and others. Wicklow Community TV said: RT @cassflower: Why is RTE not covering Rachel Peavoy's death from hypthermia on news ? – Background here – http://bit.ly/foWgMl #Rachel … […]

  2. Words cannot express how I feel reading this story. Anger does not even come close to how I feel about DCC but the feeling of sadness I have for Rachel and her entire family far exceeds this anger.

    This is 2011, not the dark ages although it is becoming even more difficult to distinguish between them. This tragic story must not be brushed aside as yet another statistic. There must be accountability, too long have we lived in a country of pointing finger with no one taking responsibility at the end. The waste of public money throughout this country by Central and Local Government on foreign trips, luxury hotels, lunches, hairdo’s, limo’s, Twitter courses, etc, just show where their priorities lie, and it is not with the joe soap public.

    Enough is enough. Let Rachel’s unfortunate and untimely death do some good, make sure that this never ever happens again, at all cost.

    R.I.P. Rachel Peavoy

  3. This case is horrifying – James Stephens wrote Strumpet City showing the absolute poles apart lives of the haves and have nots – he based the demise of Rashers Teirney on true cases of the homeless freezing to death. A hundred years or so on and a young mother doing her best freezes to death in DCC accomodation while one of the crooks who beggared us all bemoans the fact that he didn’t get to waste more public money than he did on a vanity football stadium. Stephens couldn’t have come up with a greater illustration of the haves versus the have nots. This country sickens…

  4. A very disturbing and distressing story all round and one from which I hope lessons will be learned but I don’t think I’ll be holding my breath.

  5. I am so sad that this young Mother died alone of hypothermia, This is the 21st Century, Next week Anglo will pay 750m Irish taxpayers money to a bond holder, Shame Shame on the Govt that left this Mother and a lot more unnecessary deaths happen, Fianna Fail and the Greens And the independents who supported this govt. hang your heads in shame if you People do Shame

  6. I have linked this to my blog. It is just so heartbreakingly sad

  7. There will be no stirring of the consciences of the political and bureaucratic class over Rachel’s death. Watch out now for the ‘Blame the victim’ syndrome coming into play from this class of people. And they will do that BECAUSE they have no shame. To be ashamed of the manner of Rachel’s death you need to have a conscience.

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew Brennan, Andrew Brennan. Andrew Brennan said: A Young Mother Dies of Hypothermia in Ballymun: Rachel Peavoy R.I.P. – #rte11 – http://bit.ly/RIP_Rachel […]

  9. It is disgusting and prompted me to write a similiar posting on another Public forum. My partner’s cousin lives in Sillogue and her heating was switched off last Jan also. She was left in a flat like a nobody with 5 kiddies and the youngest had his lips blue with the cold. She cried down the phone to her Mam who was helpless to do anything. She went to DCC about being rehoused but was told, like Rachel that she hadn’t enough points and to ‘get over it, everybody is in the same boat’.. But in this day and age where Ministers are resigning on big fat pensions and the gobshite who destroyed our Health System has a lovely little payment coming to her, it’s a bloody disgrace! €20 a week Fuel Allow to anybody who is even eligable is pathetic. Who the hell is going to heat their home on that amt.. Then in the case of this poor girl, the heating system had millions spent on it last yr and was then shut off because there aren’t enough people left living in the flats! My partner is from Coultry, everything a previous poster said is true.. Many were rehomed through the Regeneration Project but many haven’t been and have been left to fend for themselves.
    How whoever made that fatal decision to turn off the heat can live with themselves is beyond me. Somebody has to be made accountable or else there will be another Rachel Peavoy in the news. My partners cousin has asked for a Boarded up house but has been told she wont get anything for at least 3-5 yrs..
    To Rachel, RIP pet, and to her sons and mother and family I hope your memories of your daughter and sister are happy ones.. xxxxxxx

  10. Yet another saga about the “out of control public bodies”, where fancy talk and “no accountability” are the order of the day…
    But even for them, they have reached a new low…..

    No point in expecting B.R.L or D.C. to hang their heads in shame, simply because they have no shame or common decency….

    As a B.R.L official told a group of residents recently,, “its my job and i can do what i like”… At a previous meeting the same oficial said,,, “i have only 4yrs to go untill i retire, after that i dont care what happens”

    Do the members of the board of B.R.L condone this attitude??..
    Will they still condone what B.R.L say, “you cant make an omlette without breaking eggs”???..

    Well in my opinion they have allowed this arrogance to go 2 far this time….

    Its a pity the local politicans who support this “out of control body” didnt have the b***s to speak up before it got to this…

    Its a pity they [the politicans] are so afraid to “rock the boat”

  11. Has any politicians, local councillors, rep of DCC etc spoken on this case yet? Has primetime reported on it? The City Coroner should call a jury for this inquest as he is himself employed by the DCC!

    • Prime Time are looking to do a program on this but have been requested by the family to hold off until after the final inquest which I think is around the 24th Feb. I really hope they do it and this story is not just brushed under the carpet.

      • I heard that the inquest may not take place on 24 February afterall – maybe due to some “unforeseen circumstances”. Or perhaps it’s the day of the media blackout before the election and some big boys may not want Primetime or other media to report on this case on that day???

  12. i think Dublin city council should be sued over this. The poor women made plenty of pleas for help and was ignored. Her chidren are now left without a mother all down to the lack of work coming from DCC. i find this extremly upsetting as i knew the girl to see at our childrens school. Nobody deserves what happend to her or her children.

  13. I think in this day and age it is a total disgrace that a woman should freeze to death due to bureaucratic bungling. It says a lot about the country.

  14. The system is a farce, a laughable joke. This article is far from a joke though. The lack of communication between government bodies is unbelievable. Fás & DSW two prime examples. Co-ordination is another trait that is non-existent is all aspects of our system. They are all sheep everyone of them. The entire system needs a revamp, from politicians, judges, down to the secretary’s and admin staff who make you sign your dole card.

  15. Very sad and unnecessary loss of life. Children have lost there Mum.

    Government should have a lot on there answers for this family who will be in so much pain and grief.

    There will now also be a huge financial burden on this family and they deserve all the assistance and support possible to secure a good future .

    Rachel’s words fell on deaf ears but it is time they listened to the plea of help from the most vulnerable.

    People do not choose this life for themselves they have no pride in asking for help it takes a strong person to do so…yet look at the outcome…

    Makes me feel so deeply sad and angry and the injustice that has been done.

  16. Amazing the way RTE dived into the Moriarty Tribunal report from the outset – let’s hope they report on Rachel’s death with equal – if not more diligence.

  17. This woman died before her time for no good reason.Ireland is still a wealthy nation and money can always be found to look after ‘first time buyers’ and ‘hard pressed motorists’, bless them.But not for poor people who really need help like Rachel.We are so much richer than the days portrayed in Strumpet City,but just as riddled with snobbery and greed – if not more so.We can best remember Rachel Peavoy by waking up and rejecting the cult of money.Working and voting for a fairer,more decent society.

  18. Roisin Shortall, Labour TD for the area, is expressing the usual sleight-of-hand ‘support’ and ‘sympathy’ about the circumstances leading to the death of Rachel Peavoy. An apparently strong response in tone – calls for Dublin City Council to investigate itself!
    The only way that DCC tenants can get to the truth is to establish their own inquiry into Ms Peavoy’s death.

  19. On this Mother’s Day my thoughts go out to Rachel’s two sons.

  20. The family of Rachel Peavoy are angry over the coroner’s suggestion at her inquest that her flat “wasn’t freezing” at the time she died. The family’s solicitor, Teresa Gavin, said the family wanted the Minister for the Environment to investigate what had occurred “in the Ballymun regeneration programme” and what had happened at the block of flats at Shangan Road where Rachel died – add to that the fact that DCC Internal council records [] have shown, however, have shown that the council had long been aware of the lack of heat in her flat – and had set a ‘target date’ of resolving the problem by January 27 (2 weeks after she died).

    Problems had been recorded two months previously, when the council noted a severe dampness problem, and in an internal email the council acknowledged that the fact there were empty flats beside Rachel’s – which had broken windows, causing any heating to leak out.

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