Monday 27 January 2020

Relief at last for ‘pyrite homeowners’

€10m pledged by government for repair

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan

Niall O’Connor

THE State has pledged to spend €10m in order to finally assist homeowners plagued by pyrite problems.

In a major boost to hundreds of families caught in the so-called 'pyrite trap', Environment Minister Phil Hogan has promised wide scale repairs.

The Herald can reveal that €10m of state funding is being set aside in order to "kick start" the pyrite remediation scheme.

However the money is significantly short of the €50m that experts claim will be needed to solve the crisis.

The government had previously sought to impose a levy on insurance and quarry firms in a bid to force them to address the problems caused by pyrite.

It had been intended that a €50m loan taken out by the government would address the crisis - which would then be recouped by money raised through the levy.

However sources today said "legal difficulties" meant the plans for the levy have been scrapped.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said that securing exchequer funding would finally provide relief to needy homeowners affected by the crisis.

 "I am acutely aware of the long wait that many affected homeowners have had to endure in waiting for solutions to the pyrite problems in their homes," the Minister told the Herald.

"It has not been an easy time for those people and I understand how stressful such situations can be but I want to assure those homeowners that it has always been and, will continue to be, a high priority for me to bring about a final resolution to this problem as quickly as possible.  It is the very least that those homeowners deserve."

Houses and apartments affected by pyrite - a type of iron sulphide used in construction - have been identified in Meath, Kildare, Offaly, Fingal and Dublin.

It's estimated that some 1,000 homes are affected across the country.

The Pyrite board will now examine which estates can initially benefit from the €10m in exchequer funding.

Homeowners must vacate the premises during remediation, which includes removal of the concrete ground floor and of the subfloor hardcore.

Minister Hogan described the pyrite problem as an "unpalatable legacy of building failures".

"I would like to assure affected homeowners that there will be no undue delay on my part or on that of my Department and the Pyrite Resolution Board to ensure that the pyrite remediation scheme is delivered in the shortest possible timeframe," he added.

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