Tuesday, 4 October 2022
Defective Concrete Products Levy: Motion [Private Members]
Seán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source
Deputy Mac Lochlainn stated that these blocks are still being made. That is extraordinary. We know it is still going on. We know that defective buildings are probably still being built. Deputies have given examples of that in their constituencies. The Government announced an anaemic scheme of compensation but it never once tried to go after those who caused the problem. Once again, it is the people who are asked to pick up the tab. Just like the insurance levy, the people are being saddled with the bill for a levy that it seems is due to go on indefinitely. That is the way most people I know are looking at this. The levy will possibly add €4,000 to the price of a house - that is not our calculation; it comes from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland - and for what? We are talking about €80 million a year to fund €2.6 billion in compensation. This levy would have to be in place for more than 30 years to cover that.
In my constituency there are hundreds of desperate homeowners living in homes that have been affected negatively by fire and safety defects. There are apartment owners who cannot use their balconies because the struts were never treated and are now rotten. I have talked to these families. The windows in their homes are falling out. What happens then? The builder goes into liquidation. What does he do then? His family open a new company across the road and build houses from there and he walks away from the problem. It is not fair.
We have to break with the belief that the people should always be the ones to pick up the tab for corporate and commercial bad practice. We must hold those who are responsible for defects to account, be they developers or providers. Light-touch self-regulation is what the Government seems to love but it has constantly led us to disaster. This levy should be put on the banks, the profits of big developers and those who are responsible for the defects. It is not the fault of the owners or the people who are living in them; it is fault of the people who built them. That is not being followed up and it is happening to this day.