A Northside woman is pleading with Dublin City Council to provide funding for a home extension to be carried out for her “morbidly obese” partner.

Garreth Cooney, 45, is 378 pounds and lives at St. Berach’s Place, Kilbarrack, a four-bedroom council-owned property, with his partner Christina and their five children.

Cooney, who has major difficulty in getting up the stairs due to his condition, applied to the City Council to have a downstairs bedroom and bathroom built to cater for his special needs. However, he received a letter last week from the city council rejecting his application for the second time.

“Further to a detailed reassessment of your case by the Housing Management Section, the previous decision made in your case in October 2013 remains unchanged,” the letter said.

“The provision of an extension has not been approved and will not be provided.

“The occupational therapy report recommends the provision of a second stair rail and also for two rails beside the bath. A request was sent to your local depot on May 1 to arrange to have these rails installed.”

Cooney’s partner Christina said a stair rail would not be sufficient given his excessive weight and believes that a downstairs bedroom and bathroom extension would be the only feasible solution.

“He needs to have his bedroom and bathroom at ground level,” she said. 

At the moment, the bathroom is situated upstairs in the home which the couple have been living in since 2003.

Christina said Cooney has been trying very hard to help himself to overcome his health problems.  

“He is doing an exercise program at DCU to try and get the weight down and once a month, he attends at weight management clinic at Loughlinstown Hospital,” she explained.

Cooney has been unable to work since he was involved in a road traffic accident in 1995, with the main damage being caused to his back. 

“He was a landscape gardener at the time,” said Christina. “He is also severely dyslexic which reduced his chances of finding alternative work.

“The weight gradually piled on over the years because he was not able to move around. He is now morbidly obese and we desperately need help from the council. It’s a matter of urgency.”

According to Christina, Cooney is experiencing a lot of pain. 

“Two years ago he was diagnosed with asthma, and in the last six months, diabetes,” she added. “He uses a walking stick and is mainly housebound. He is also very self-conscious about going out.”

Dublin People