Dáil debates

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Defective Concrete Products Levy: Motion [Private Members]


8:50 pm

Photo of Johnny MythenJohnny Mythen (Wexford, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I thank Deputy Eoin Ó Broin and the Sinn Féin team for bringing forward this motion. The motion was brought about because of the introduction of a 10% levy on all concrete products by the Government in budget 2023. Under the Government’s design, this 10% levy is directly passed on to young couples and individuals who have saved and borrowed to build their new home or are in the process of buying a new home or a new apartment. That is according to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and the leading think tank, the ESRI. More disturbingly, the people whose homes have been decimated by pyrite and mica will see their remediation prices also increase.

Some of these folks have stood outside the gates of Leinster House for over a year. I have spoken to some of them. They are tormented and broken-hearted, and some have lost family members through suicide. This is the scale of this man-made problem. Surely these are the people the Government should be looking after the most, not penalising them through a badly designed levy. We in Sinn Féin believe a more concentrated and targeted approach should be implemented. Those who profit from their own greedy and irresponsible behaviour in providing inferior materials and concrete blocks that devastated homes and caused untold despair to families should be made to pay. That is why we want to make sure the levy is placed on a broad section of the industry, focusing on the super-profits of the cuckoo funds, large developers and the banks. The Government's hands are not clean on this either, with disregard for regulations and, in some cases, the removing of regulations during the so-called Celtic tiger era, allowing quarries, block manufacturers, developers and large builders and contractors to build with and supply deficient materials without any checks or inspections.

We know this remediation scheme is a once-off huge cost and it needs a revenue streamline. It also needs front-lining by the Government, which did not happen in the budget, when there was a mere €5 million extra. However, that streamline must be based on fairness and specifically targeted towards the real culprits.


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