Oliver Bond House residents more than twice as likely to have asthma

Residents call on local authority to fast-track regeneration plans as majority live with mould and damp, and cannot keep their homes warm

Residents of Oliver Bond House flats in Dublin are 2.4 times as likely to have asthma in their medical records as other patients attending the same general practice in their area, new research has found.

Residents of the flats complex in the Liberties, which is one of the oldest in Dublin city, have been calling on their local authority to fast-track regeneration plans for their area since 2021, as 83 per cent of residents are living with mould and damp, while 74 per cent have draughts or poor insulation and cannot keep their homes warm.

In the nearly 83 years that the 14-block complex has existed, only one regeneration has been completed.

Plans for regeneration were announced for the complex and a regeneration forum was established in October 2021 to provide oversight for the project. However, there has been little progress on the project to date, with a 15-20 year timeline on it being completed.


Trinity College Dublin’s school of medicine has completed an analysis of respiratory health in the area, showing that residents in Oliver Bond have more recorded asthma than others living locally.

One local general practice served a large population in both Oliver Bond House and in the adjacent area, allowing the potential for comparable measures of health status. There was a strong association of living in Oliver Bond House with a GP-recorded diagnosis of asthma, the data showed.

Evidence of asthma was present in 18 per cent of Oliver Bond House residents compared with 8 per cent of other members of the practice population. This translates into an odds of having asthma are at 2.4 times higher among residents of Oliver Bond House than other residents.

Oliver Bond House residents were more likely to hold a medical card, with 71 per cent of residents having one compared with 40 per cent across the rest of the practice population.

As holding a medical card was also associated with an increased risk of asthma, the results were adjusted. However, even adjusting for holding a medical card, living in Oliver Bond House was associated with a 1.9-fold increase in odds of asthma, the report showed.

“There is evidence from published literature that poor housing conditions can contribute to poor respiratory health, and that interventions can reduce this effect. Taken together this offers additional arguments for work to improve the condition of Oliver Bond House,” the report said.

“We are literally sick waiting, physically and mentally,” said Gayle Cullen, chairwoman of the Oliver Bond Residents’ Group. “People are living with considerable damp and mould. Most of the windows are ill-fitting, old and draughty. It’s impossible to keep the flats warm which puts an extra cost on residents along with the health burden,” she said.

Older people and children were “particularly really vulnerable to the effects of the cold, damp and mould spores”, she said.

The Trinity report “supports what we have been saying for years – these flats are having a negative impact on our health”, Ms Cullen said.

“We are also realistic,” she said. “We know that regeneration can’t happen overnight but we just can’t be asked to wait another 20 years for it to be completed. Many older residents will pass away in these conditions. We are asking Dublin City Council to fast-track regeneration plans and in the meantime to put in place vital interim improvements which will make our homes liveable, and our estate secure.”

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Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times