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Housing Minister insists Government still pursing faulty block manufacturers but ‘many have folded’


Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Photo: Gareth Chaney

The Housing Minister said Government is looking at “any legal avenue available to us to go off after” companies that developed faulty blocks but many have “folded”.

Government is facing a bill of up to €3 billion to funding the mica redress scheme and potentially another €3 billion for a remediation scheme for apartment defects. 

A new 10pc levy on concrete products was announced in the budget this week. The levy aims to raise €80 million for the mica scheme and is scheduled to start in April 2023. 

There has been significant opposition to the levy since it was announced, with many arguing that it will be passed on to consumers and raise house prices. Construction industry groups said the levy could add up to €3,000 to the price of new homes.

Minister O’Brien said Cabinet believes “it’s right” that the construction sector makes a contribution towards the redress scheme. 

"We're looking at using any legal avenue available to us to go off after those very people… who’ve been operating for the 10 or 12 years,” Minister O’Brien told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show

"So, this isn’t a new event. You know, the people who provided defective blocks, like they have absolutely have a moral responsibility but legally we will see what we can do. Unfortunately, many of those companies... folded.”

Mr O’Brien said the Minister Paschal Donohoe will bring forward details of how the concrete levy will work, “what the application of it is, who will pay it and those type of things” in the Finance Bill. 

Another Budget measure which has been hotly debated is the €500 rent relief scheme for students. 

Parents have voiced anger at their exclusion from the scheme, when in many cases they pay the rent for their student children. 

Minister O’Brien said the relief is “structured” as a tax credit and and other measures have also been introduced to “help students’ families”. 

"We’ve the once-off reduction in the student contribute contribution fee… a €500 reduction in the student contribution fee for families earning between €62,000 and €100,000,” he added.

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"That's the first reduction in contribution fees in actually nearly 30 years. So there are other measures that are there, real financial measures for students to help them.”

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