Sunday 22 January 2017

Just five homes out of 20,000 fixed under pyrite plan

Published 09/04/2015 | 02:30

Former Environment Minister Phil Hogan
Former Environment Minister Phil Hogan

The Government's much lauded pyrite remediation scheme has finished repairs on just five homes, new figures reveal.

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The scheme - launched by former Environment Minister Phil Hogan in 2013 - began taking applications in February of last year.

In total, as many as 20,000 homes are believed to be affected by pyrite and the cost of fixing a pyrite-affected home is up to €50,000.

Last night, the Department of the Environment dismissed Fianna Fáil criticisms of the delays, saying the Government was clearing up Fianna Fáil's mess. "This is typical of FF, they ignored the pyrite problem while in government - this Government established the Pyrite Resolution Board and allocated funding to deal with the problem, effectively cleaning up the FF mess," the spokesman said.

The scheme allows homeowners whose property has been affected by pyrite - where the sub-standard building material has caused structural damage - to apply to have the problem repaired.

According to the figures, in the two years since the launch of the scheme, 630 applications have been received. Of those, 485 were validated. So far, 300 homes have been approved for inclusion in the scheme.

Professionals

Responding to the question, junior housing minister Paudie Coffey said: "Design professionals have been appointed to 12 projects involving some 255 dwellings. A pilot project involving the remediation of five dwellings was completed in the latter half of 2014."

He added: "I understand that a works contract for 20 houses has recently been awarded and works commenced last week, while a number of procurements in relation to a further four developments involving some 74 dwellings are nearing contract award stage."

The Pyrite Action Group, which has led the campaign for State assistance, criticised the "slow progress" of the scheme and called for the Government to ramp up the pace of repairs.

"The Government has said it hopes to fix up to 600 homes this year, we strongly urge it to deliver on that promise," said a spokesperson for the PAG.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Fingal Fianna Fáil senator Darragh O'Brien, who has been a leading campaigner on behalf of those affected by pyrite, was deeply critical.

"It would be 80 years at this rate before just half of the affected houses would be fixed. It is completely insufficient and it is clear the Government's approach is not working," he said.

Irish Independent

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