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Pyrite families to unite over homes disaster

A WORKING group is to be set up by Environment Minister Phil Hogan to help thousands of families affected by pyrite.

The householders in Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Offaly are being urged to make submissions to the new body rather than take the costly legal route to resolve the issue.

These people already face bills of up to €70,000 to repair damage to their homes caused by the use of pyrite in the foundations, which expands and contracts and ultimately leads to severe structural damage.

The working group is headed by former secretary general of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Brendan Tuohy.

It will call in "all relevant" bodies, including the national building insurance agent HomeBond, the Construction Industry Federation, developers, builders and quarry operators.

The group will also work with affected homeowners.

Minister of State Shane McEntee announced the establishment of the new body at a meeting of the Combined Pyrite Action Group in Santry, Dublin.

He said it was essential that householders in every estate where homes were affected by pyrite should unite together and make a comprehensive submission to the working group.

He stressed that the State had no legal liability but was "willing to act as a facilitator of a resolution of the issue".

A special hearing of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment is be held next month on the pyrite issue.

Earlier this month, it emerged that thousands of householders could face bills of up to €70,000 to repair pyrite damage after HomeBond said it would not accept liability or pay out on claims.

In announcing the establishment of the working party, Mr McEntee said he saw it as "a significant step forward towards a resolution of this issue.