Tuesday 20 March 2018

Government's pyrite scheme finished repairs on just five homes

Pyrite cracks in a home
Pyrite cracks in a home

Daniel McConnell Group Political Correspondent

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

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 but an answer to a parliamentary question asked by Fianna Fail’s Barry Cowen has revealed that just five homes have been fixed.

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.

Read more: Families in pyrite homes are 'unaware of redress'

So far, 300 homes have been approved for inclusion in the scheme.

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 5 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 4 developments involving some 74 dwellings are nearing contract award stage.”

Speaking to Independent.ie, Fingal Fianna Fail senator Darragh O’Brien, who has been a leading campaigner on behalf of those affected by pyrite, was deeply critical of the lack of progress.

“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.

The scheme was designed to address the most severely damaged homes first. Buildings with less significant structural damage could be included in future schemes.

It is also limited to homes in Meath, Kildare of Offaly, or the administrative areas of Fingal County Council or Dublin City Council constructed between 1997 and 2013.

Read more: Pyrite plan extended after new discovery

Mr O’Brien added that many people have been put off applying for help as the system only seeks to address “worse case scenario” homes.

“This is ridiculous. Pyrite is a progressive issue and surely it makes sense to tackle it early before thousands of people see their homes wrecked,” he added.

“There are thousands of homes in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Offaly and across the east coast that are riddled with pyrite,” he said in a statement.

“Fianna Fáil has committed to expanding the Pyrite Remediation Scheme so that all homeowners affected by pyrite can have their homes fixed should their insurers not pay,” Mr O’Brien .

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