WATCH: Refused an extension in a house where elderly Portlaoise woman eats her food from a trolley

An elderly Portlaoise woman has been refused an extension due to the size of her suite of furniture

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan


An elderly Portlaoise woman has been refused an extension onto her house after eight years of applications to Laois County Council.

Maria Brophy (79) will not receive an extension onto the back of her house due to the size of the suite of furniture in her kitchen.

The two bedroom maisonette where she lives with her son and full-time carer Anthony Brophy is too small for her needs.

Mrs Brophy suffers with medical issues which restrict her mobility including a heart condition, asthma, angina and arthritis.

There is one small room in the house which acts as a kitchen and living area. They spend all of their time in this room.

The fridge is in the porch and the dryer is in the hall as there is nowhere else for them.

“I was born in Abbeyleix and moved to Portlaoise with my family when I was young. I moved to England when I was 18 and spent 58 years there. I was never treated like this when I was in England,” she said.

“I was reared here in Portlaoise, my husband was a great worker, he died from bowel cancer,” she added.

Mrs Brophy said that she does not socialise much but enjoys chatting to her neighbour. “We have a great little community here,” she added.

Anthony has applied on behalf of his mother for a 13 by 13 foot extension to be added to the back of the house to create some living space.

“My mother is a quiet woman who does not want to upset anyone but she gets very depressed in the small, cramped house,” he said.

Her wheelchairs and walking aids are stored outside in the garden.

Anthony took it upon himself to get builders quotes for the extension which would come in between €21,000 and €27,000.

The latest application to Laois County Council had a letter of support from Maria's Occupational Therapist.

The OT sent photographs of the restricted living area in the letter but no representative from the council has called to assess the house.

The local authority said that the cramped environment “is mainly due to the inappropriate size, arrangement and amount of furniture in the room.”

The room contains a two seater couch and two arm chairs.

There is not enough space in the kitchen for a table so Maria eats from a trolley.

Both Maria and Anthony agreed that their human rights are being taken away.

The mother of 12 has had a gazebo put up at her back door which gives them some temporary space to sit outside on fine days.

Laois County Council said it does not comment on individual cases.