A county Meath couple are facing into the prospect of a further winter spent sleeping in a van or a cowshed in a bid to avoid a constant buzzing noise that prevents them sleeping in the bedroom.
And even the best efforts of the local council, the Health and Safety Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency, have been unable to solve the mystery of where the noise is coming from.
In a letter to Tony and Gemma Agnew of Brownstown near Navan a senior executive with Meath County Council admits they have given up after numerous attempts to discover the source.
He writes, ‘ As you are aware a number of Council Officials visited your house to investigate the noise complaint and I understand officials from other agencies such as the HSA and the EPA also attended.
‘While unable to hear the noise during the course of the visit they do acknowledge this noise is a source of distress and discomfort to you both, I regret the council is not in a position to offer you a solution to this challenging situation.’
The Agnews house is nearly 200 years old so they even looked into the possibility it was haunted.
Tony said, ‘We thought of that but we had it checked out and nothing came up, we are at crisis point because we a re near winter again and last year I was in two sleeping bags in our van and still freezing.’
The noise actually appears to have got worse sine the council inspections.
Gemma claimed, ‘I used to wear ear muffs in the house but lately even they don’t work as the noise still gets through and the ear muffs I use are the same ones you would wear when using a jack hammer on a building site
‘At first I thought I was going crazy and imagining it but then Tony managed to record it on his phone so I knew it was for real but as the letter says the council and the EPA sent people out and they could hear nothing.
‘The suspicion has to be was that whatever machine is making the noise was turned off when they were doing their inspections.
‘ We have even had people from the ESB out to check the supply. They seemed to think there may be an issue and said they would be back but that was over a year ago and they haven’t returned yet.
‘If we try and sleep in the bedroom we get three hours at best before it wakes us up. I have been out walking the fields at 3 am to try and find out where it is coming from but found nothing so it must be inside somewhere.
‘The inspections took place during the day in late 2022 and while it is bad then it is worse at night and really annoying when we are inside the house so we have little choice but to wear ear muffs during the day and sleep outside in the van most nights.
‘The problem with outside is that we have to park the van in a certain part of the yard or else we can still hear it.
‘It’s not so bad sleeping in the van this time of year but during the winter it was freezing, I mean that literally, we’d wake up with frost all over the van..
‘It was suggested we turn the radio up to drown out the noise but we have tried that and it is only when we get it to 97 decibels, which is extremely loud, and keeps you awake anyway, that it has any effect.
‘I have a few school copies full of notes detailing the times the noise starts but there doesn’t appear to be any pattern to it.
‘We need help to get this sorted out sooner rather than later.’