Family's dream home turns into costly nightmare
Published 22/02/2010 | 05:00
A KILDARE family is facing the prospect of a massive repair bill for a "dream house" after pyrite was discovered there.
Ruth and John Beirne bought the five-bedroom house for €560,000 in 2003, but have since seen cracks appear in the floors and walls. A soil test has confirmed the presence of pyrite in the in-fill material used in the house.
Ms Beirne, who has three children with her husband, said the cost of repairing the house could be up to €220,000.
"We thought we were here for life and hopefully we are. It's bad. We've children in school and its going to be a big disruption to move them out," she said.
The family fears for the long-term safety of the house in Mill Race Manor, Staplestown, Co Kildare, after being told that the most aggressive forms of pyrite can keep moving for up to 50 years.
Although it may be possible to repair the house, the family fears that there will be no guarantee that further problems will not emerge in the years and decades ahead.
Ms Beirne said they initially hadn't panicked because their house was covered by HomeBond -- the builders' insurance company -- for 10 years.
The family engaged a firm of solicitors to deal with HomeBond, who eventually came up with a €38,000 settlement offer.
The family have not accepted the HomeBond offer and are currently taking High Court proceedings against the building firm, Slievemore Homes, which is defending the case.
Dan Finn, a director of Slievemore Homes, said he could not comment due to the court proceedings.
There is another house in the estate where the presence of pyrite has been confirmed.
Ms Beirne said it had been "very stressful for all the families", who will have to move out of their homes while the repair work is carried out.
"I can understand people's fears. People are afraid they will never be able to sell their homes again," she said.