Friday 20 October 2017

Bust builders are 'back in business' while homeowners left with defective properties, Dáil told

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John Downing

John Downing

Many builders who went bust are back in business – but many people who bought defective houses from them are left without redress, the Dáil has been told.

Green Party TD, Catherine Martin, said that more than five years after scandals like Priory Hall in Dublin, little had changed. She said the only change had been a strengthening of the building inspection regime.

Ms Martin, a TD for Dublin Rathdown, said that people whose homes were incomplete or with serious defects had little real recourse – in contrast to the “second chance” given builders who went bankrupt.

“There has been lots of talk – but very little action,” the Green Party deputy leader said.

Deputy Martin added that many people found remedies for their problems were statute barred because of an expired time limit. At the same time inspection services were underfunded.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the problem occurred in many other countries and he cited the Berkeley College tragedy in California as an example of something caused by “builders cutting corners.”

Mr Kenny said the only remedy was independent inspection of buildings to ensure they complied with planning permission terms. He said the rules were already there and must now be implemented.

The Taoiseach said builders who flout the rules “should not be allowed build again.”  But he said there were no guarantees of cases like Priory Hall not happening in the future.

“Can I say this is the last case in the country? No, I can’t,” Mr Kenny said.

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