Thursday, 22 September 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank the Minister of State for telling me what the report published two and a half months ago said. There were ten paragraphs in his speech. There was half a paragraph containing one sentence in response to the question I asked. I hope after next week's budget announcements homeowners will be somewhat the wiser as to the Government's intentions.
One of the issues constantly raised by homeowners and their representatives through the Construction Defects Alliance and the Apartment Owners Network is the anger that those responsible are not contributing anything. If a redress scheme is announced in the budget, it will rightly be primarily funded by the Government, but we need to make sure industry pays.
Two companies were responsible for defects in the apartments and duplexes in Belmayne in north County Dublin. Kitara still trades. Stanley Holdings was reconstituted and the directors of that are now the directors of Cairn Homes, one of the largest home builders in the State. Much to the anger of homeowners in Belmayne, Cairn Homes is building a huge new residential development with significant support from the State on the land directly beside them. Homeowners do not understand why individuals or companies who in the past were responsible for defects get significant support, planning permission, State aid and support from NAMA to build homes and make enormous profits. Michael Stanley of Cairn Homes is a case in point.
I welcome that in reply to a parliamentary question in July, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, indicated to me that the Government is considering imposing a levy on industry to ensure it pays its fair share. My strong view is that it should be euro for euro because the Government has a responsibility for decades of light-touch regulation. For every €1 the State pays for remediation, €1 should come from industry.
I also hope the Government will support my sentiment that developers that continue to trade either as individuals or as companies should be brought to bear. For example, the homeowners in Belmayne who are facing substantial costs to address defects should not only get support from the State and industry but also from those individuals and companies who are making enormous profits despite the fact that in a piece of land next to where they are building homeowners have been left with defects for over a decade and a half. Can the Minister of State give me any update on the attempts being made by the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, to get industry to make a contribution? While I know the Minister of State cannot tell me what will be in the budget, will homeowners be any more enlightened next Tuesday than they will be after his intervention here this evening?