Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Enda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
A sense of pride in their home is very important to people and this is self-evident when one visits them. Unfortunately, for a substantial number of people, this cannot be the case. They have decided to buy or build and taken out a mortgage, but after a period they have found their home has begun to disintegrate. This is no joke. It is very distressing for people to experience gables splitting, floors rising, and cracks appearing in walls in front rooms, sitting rooms and bedrooms. I visited a number of these homes in County Meath with Deputy McEntee and also visited a number of apartment blocks in Santry and it is evident that pyrite explosions, particularly in the foundations when they have got wet, causes these fractures. Some contractors have taken measurements to assess the extent of the damage caused and a small number of contractors have rectified the damage themselves.
I cannot comment on the outcome of the long court case in respect of pyrite being in the material from the quarries or as to whether builders who used material from those quarries knew there was pyrite in that material. I met with Homebond last year and with a number of people in different communities who are affected by this distressing problem. I understand Homebond dealt with a number of people affected but that its resources are now used up. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has set up a working group. This is an opportunity for the working group to meet those affected by this problem and to ensure the issue is discussed by the Oireachtas committee dealing with the environment and housing.
I am sure the Minister and the Minister of State with responsibility for housing will be interested to hear proposals as to how the problem can be rectified. This is a civil matter. However, it is one in which the State has an interest for the well-being of families and people who purchased houses in which they intended to live. This is not a nice prospect when there is a 2 mm or 3 mm split across the wall or ceiling. I have seen this at first hand and am aware of the distress it has caused.