A local mother with a severely disabled child has accused South Dublin County Council of putting her son’s life at risk
Gillian Sherratt lives with her partner, three-year-old son Harvey (pictured) and baby daughter in Knocklyon.
Harvey has spina bifida and is paralysed below the chest, hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), chiari malformation, x linked ichthyosis, multiple life threatening allergies, developmental delay and is non verbal.
He also has severe life threatening scoliosis.
“Around Harvey’s first birthday we found out his scoliosis was so severe that it had already started to cause his ribs to crush his lungs,” Gillian told Dublin Gazette.
“At just one year of age we were told that controlling his scoliosis is life and death for him.
“Ideally he needs to be in his wheelchair as much as possible so that the support from its moulded seat can help slow the progression of his scoliosis, but unfortunately our house isn’t wheelchair accessible.
“Our house is unsuitable for Harvey’s everyday life.
“Due to it being inaccessible, Harvey has to crawl around the house – using only his arms.
“He cannot use his wheelchair in the house and spends much of the day on the floor because of this.”
The biggest issue for Harvey is his scoliosis is continuing to get worse, something which is out of his families control.
“We would love to not have to rely on the council but unfortunately despite my partner working, that is the situation we are in as both of our children require full time care, which I provide,” Gillian explained.
“In May 2018 we found out we were expecting another baby and I updated the council.
“Later in the pregnancy we found out our baby girl has a severe congenital heart defect-hypoplastic right heart syndrome.
“We were told that until she is born we wouldn’t be eligible for a 3 bed house, even if it meets Harvey’s needs.
“They showed us a small, two bedroom apartment which unfortunately was completely unsuitable as there wouldn’t have been enough space for Harvey’s equipment.
“Over a year ago, Harvey’s orthopaedic surgeon contacted the council to say that he needs to go in to long term halo gravity traction to stop the progression of his scoliosis.
“They were told this is a matter of life and death, but it cannot be done until we are in suitable housing as Harvey would need to stay in his wheelchair all day.
“There were wheelchair accessible houses built in our catchment area which I had been told I would be brought to view once finished and to see if they would be suitable.
“Months went by and I rang for an update, and suddenly was told we weren’t eligible as they are three bed.
“At this stage I was already more than 30 weeks pregnant.
“Back in January I rang to let them know our daughter was here, but those suitable houses are gone.”
Gillian has appealed for help from local representatives to help her find a suitable property.
“Recently I reached out to the Minister for Housing, but all I received was a generic response to say ‘your email has been forwarded to the relevant department’.
“We have been told ‘there just aren’t suitable houses to give’ and while I appreciate there is a housing crisis, our son cannot wait any longer.
“His life depends on it. How much longer will they risk causing him permanent, irreparable damage?
“How much longer will they risk his life?”
When contacted by Dublin Gazette for a comment, the council said: “It is the policy of South Dublin County Council to not comment on individual cases.”