A Fermanagh grandmother has spoken of her immense upset after her living room floor rotted and fell apart in February following years of water ingress into her Brookeborough home, causing significant damage. 
Coral Hunter’s home currently looks like a building site, but the issue started almost ten years ago. 
 “I am at the end of my tether, I really am,” she told The Impartial Reporter yesterday (Wednesday).
She claims the problem began after work was carried out on behalf of the Department for Regional Development, as it was known then, to replace a public footpath outside her home.
“I believe that the bricks were placed on top of the tarmac at the gable end wall and that the new pavement was not properly sealed, resulting in water ingress to my basement,” she claimed. 
Upon further investigation, she says she discovered a water pipe had burst at the end corner of the house. 
However, the Department disputed this allegation when Coral sought to take legal action, only after what she describes as “prolonged attempts to engage in negotiations”.
She explained: “I first noticed it in 2011 when I had problems with my front door and the porch walls. I got a builder in to look at it and he had to fix it a couple of times. He eventually said that the water was coming in under the front door, and had to seal it.”
“After having had to replace my living room skirting boards a total of three times, I asked the builder to check the basement and living room; he discovered that the whole living room corner was damp and that a mushroom-like weed was growing.” 
Since then the deterioration of the floorboards in her home on Main Street has deepened. The wooden floorboards were eroded by the weed, rendering her living room unsafe. The basement became unusable as there was mould growing along some of the walls. 
 To facilitate extensive building work, Coral was forced to move all her living room furniture into other areas of her house; her kitchen has now become her living room. 
 The heavy rainfall over the weekend has caused a recurrence of the water ingress. But the question that Coral keeps asking herself is – who is going to take responsibility for the damage?
“The water caused the floor of my living room to rot and so the whole floor had to be taken out. The walls then had to be treated. This treatment alone has cost me £2,500. The work to replace my walls and floors is going to cost me at least £15,000,” she said.
She has spent almost 10 years trying to establish who is at fault, enlisted the help of politicians such as Councillor Victor Warrington, MLA Rosemary Barton and former MP Tom Elliott and held numerous meetings with officials. While some remedial work has been carried out in the past, Coral believes she has now reached a dead end.
“I have been fighting with the Department on this for years but have been getting nowhere.
“I am living in my kitchen and have all my living room furniture in here; two sofas, a reclining chair, a dining room table, I have everything stuffed into the kitchen.
“During the lockdown I have been here on my own, I can’t wait to get back to work to get out of this house to tell you the truth. I just want this sorted,” she told this newspaper. 
A Department for Infrastructure spokesman said: “The Department is aware of the problem being experienced by Mrs. Hunter.  We are seeking to identify the probable cause of damp ingress to her property and whether there are any measures we can take to help improve the problem she is experiencing.”