Asbestos dangerously removed by private NIHE contractor, Tenant bribed. Strabane.

Asbestos dangerously removed by private NIHE contractor and tenant bribed to “keep quite”, Strabane.

On August 14th the IRSP in Strabane received a telephone call from a resident in Innisfree Gardens enquiring about the asbestos in her shed roof. She told the IRSP that NIHE private sub contractors PKM are in the process of taking down the Cement Sheet Asbestos with a Still Saw and the asbestos fibres are all over her shed and garden.

She told the IRSP that she had asked the workers did they know the shed roof was asbestos and that they should be wearing PPE but they seemed unaware of any danger. The IRSP representative then arrived at the scene to explain to the workers that they were in fact working with asbestos but they said their Foreman and Clerk of Works had told them to proceed and dispose of the dangerous material without informing them it was asbestos.

The IRSP took a number of pictures and informed the workers to stop work as it was too dangerous. The workers carried on their work then quickly disposed of the asbestos into the back of one of their vans. The IRSP are asking was it properly disposed off.

The IRSP then contacted the community group in the area and told the resident to contact the NIHE which she did. We are aware that over the course of time due to weathering it is possible for these asbestos shed roofs to be damaged leading to a build up of deadly asbestos fibers in these sheds.

On August 15th the resident again contacted the IRSP informing us the sub contractors PKM had been out at her home. She told us she felt intimidated and that the Foreman got her to get on the phone to the NIHE telling her what to say to the NIHE rep. She also said he tried to bribe her with a new front door and other maintenance to her property which and quote “he would pay for out of his own pocket. “

The IRSP are very concerned with the culture of unaccountability private NIHE sub contractors enjoy. We are on the cusp of a massive privatisation of the NIHE 90,000 housing stock which we fear will further degrade the service tenants receive and take a basic human right, housing rights.

Currant tenants of the Housing Executive are blissfully unaware of the massive problems they will face when the NIHE is eventually privatised at the behest of the Stormont Coalition. Some political commentators are saying the 90,000 NIHE housing stock will be sold off to private, profit driven, Housing associations for a mere fraction of their worth. Tenets will face a myriad of problems in dealing with these unaccountable bodies. The IRSP are calling for NIHE tenants to contact us so we can inform them of their housing rights and we are calling for the NIHE to immediately remove all the Cement Sheet Asbestos in Innsifree Gardens in Strabane.