Dáil debates

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Defective Concrete Products Levy: Motion [Private Members]


9:30 pm

Photo of Peter FitzpatrickPeter Fitzpatrick (Louth, Independent) | Oireachtas source

The new 10% levy introduced on concrete blocks, pouring concrete and other concrete products is expected to raise €80 million annually. Based on that figure, however, it would take 40 years to raise what is needed to pay for mica redress.

This levy will penalise young people trying to build or buy their first homes as well as local authorities trying to build social housing. Given robust demand for housing, combined with the long-standing supply constraints, the burden of this new levy is likely to fall on the residents of newly built homes rather than on industry. Ordinary people are being made to pay for these errors and the crooked developers are getting away with it scot-free. The SCSI has calculated that the levy will add approximately €3,000 to €4,000 to the cost of an average three-bedroom semi-detached house. We need to fully assess the cost implications of this new levy because, let us not forget, this levy will affect not just housing but also major infrastructure projects due to significant extra costs.

Additionally, the president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association said the 10% levy will have "huge implications for farmers" building a slatted tank, slurry or silage storage facilities or grain storage facilities.

Overall, now is not the right time to do this, in the midst of a housing crisis. While construction has picked up strongly over the past year, with the commencements of nearly 30,000 homes during the second quarter of this year, mounting headwinds in the form of higher input costs and shortages of labour will mean that the momentum in the housebuilding market will slow. The Taoiseach has said that the construction sector has to realise that, because of what happened, the levies are being put in place to deal with rogue behaviour, but ordinary people will pay the price.

I in no way mean to portray the families affected by mica as not needing to receive redress, but let us stop playing a political game of football. Why do we continuously look to plaster over problems rather than getting to their root causes? Yes, more thorough inspections have been implemented, but more needs to be done in respect of building control regulations. Would it not be more beneficial to invest this €80 million towards a new building control scheme that would be independent and ensure building regulations were met on all new builds?

As I mentioned, we need to assess fully the implications of this new levy and how it will affect the most vulnerable in our society.


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