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Pyrite Remediation Programme Issues (Continued)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

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Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins The Minister of State indicated that reports should be available soon. It is disgraceful that the Government continually provides the same information on what will be the position at some point in the future. In the meantime, pyrite remediation measures have not been carried out on a single house. People can no longer wait for action. Has HomeBond been challenged to use its surplus of €25 million to fund remediation measures or investigations to certify whether pyrite is present in homes? It is crucial that the company is tackled on this issue as it is unacceptable to leave families in limbo. The Government, which has acknowledged the scale of the problem on numerous occasions, must speed up the process. Has it raised with HomeBond the company's €25 million surplus?

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd With respect to the Deputy, her figure on the remediation of homes is wrong. The independent report, which I have with me, states that 1,100 homes which were seriously-----

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins HomeBond has not done any remediation work.

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd I did not interrupt Deputy Collins. The report states that 1,100 homes with serious pyrite problems are being addressed. I concur with the Deputy that all of the families involved are in an awful and extremely difficult position. They purchased homes for a fortune at the height of the market and generally before 2008 only to find significant pyrite problems with their homes. Another 850 houses, for which claims have been made, are also being addressed. It is estimated that in theory pyrite problems could occur in 11,000 houses. The report maps these homes using a colour code in which red indicates the homes in question must be immediately addressed, yellow means they must be monitored over a lengthy period and green means there are no individual problems.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis It is disappointing we have not yet had word back from the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, given that he has twice indicated to us that he has given the industry a deadline to produce a solution to the pyrite problem. He stated previously that he was considering making requests for funding remediation measures in the houses in question. The issue of funding is fundamental.

The Minister of State referred to a figure of 11,000 homes. As Christmas approaches, it is vital that urgent action is taken to address serious problems found in 850 homes. If legislation is required, as appears likely, a solution will not be found until the new year. Legislation must be retrospective as we must avoid a scenario in which people are informed they missed a deadline for submitting applications and so forth. This issue needs to be addressed urgently.

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd I agree with the thrust of the Deputy's argument. As he correctly noted, this is a serious problem. I stress, however, that the Minister established the independent panel in June 2011 and it did not report until earlier this year. He has held a number of significant meetings with all of the stakeholders and insists that responsibility for meeting the costs of addressing the pyrite problem rests with those who built or insured the homes in question. The Minister is committed to resolving this problem as quickly as possible.

One of the proposals in the pyrite report is to establish a resolution committee to address all outstanding issues. This will provide a fail-safe mechanism in the event that problems in certain houses are not addressed. The Minister is establishing a body which will deal effectively with any issues that may yet arise. This will provide closure for families. The Minister is working extremely hard to resolve this matter and whatever needs to be done will be done. If possible, however, it is better to have a voluntary, agreed process.

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins The people who are experiencing this problem are frustrated because time and again they have heard about deadlines. Pyrite remediation works on the 1,100 homes to which the Minister of State referred were carried out by Premier Guarantee rather than HomeBond.

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