Tuesday, 4 October 2022
Defective Concrete Products Levy: Motion [Private Members]
Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source
"Not our fault": that is what tens, nay hundreds, of thousands of apartment dwellers across the country, many of whom are in my constituency, are saying as more and more shoddy workmanship, blatant disregard for fire-safety standards and criminal construction of dangerous homes in the Celtic tiger era come to light. The homeowners, occupiers and landlords are all discovering they have to pay tens of thousands of euro to make good the failures of the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Governments' light-touch building regulations. These people face the unenviable choice between being locked out of their homes for fire-safety reasons and being forced to find alternative homes while repairs are being carried out and living in fear for years, with no block insurance, all due to poor building construction and poor building regulations. This is while apartment dwellers such as those in The Crescent, Park West, are being told to magic up €15,000 within six weeks, out of a total of €67,000, which is required to fix a fire-safety issue. There are 232 dwellings in the complex and they are occupied by people in their 20s, 30s and 40s and their children. There are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of others who expect to hear about the same issues. Many of them expected to hear good news in the budget speech, but there was no sight of a sense of urgency or the 100% redress scheme to address the State's scandalous failure of regulation. As one woman said when faced with a crippling €15,000 demand:
These are life changing debts to put a person into. Myself and my husband work full-time to pay our mortgage, childcare and support our 3 children. We have NOTHING LEFT at the end of each month, we cannot afford these charges which are levied on us through no fault of ours.
In the Bridgefoot Court social housing complex, Dublin 8, residents got a letter in June asking them not to use the balconies until further notice, or until remediation works have been carried out, as the decking may not support people. Think of that, of the chaos that would cause up and down the country. It is on the Minister's watch that this is happening and it is on his watch that no scheme has been put in place to help people to ensure redress for something that is not their fault.