Dáil debates

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Defective Concrete Products Levy: Motion [Private Members]


9:30 pm

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent) | Oireachtas source

Everyone accepts that those impacted by mica have suffered enormously. We see the images of houses disintegrating and it is heart-wrenching. The hopes and dreams of their owners have crumbled into dust. These are not just houses; they are homes to 8,000 families who have innocently found themselves trapped in a nightmare. Their homes were the biggest and most significant investments of their lives. Many of them undoubtedly struggled to build them. Sacrifices were made as they turned their dreams into a lifelong reality. These people must be compensated for the cruel hand they have been dealt, and that is beyond question.

The budget decision has unintended consequences. The cost of addressing the mica mess has been shifted onto the young couple saving to build their first home or the family who needs to extend their house. This decision will exacerbate the existing housing crisis. This is at a time of unparalleled demand for all forms of housing throughout the country and when homelessness and housing demand have spiralled to record levels.

The use of defective building blocks in people's homes was, and is, a catastrophe. It was not created by the average person. They are not responsible for this appalling travesty and should not be expected to carry the cost.

What efforts were made to pursue legally the quarries and developers involved? Some operators within this supply chain are glaringly culpable. They behaved in a reckless fashion and exploited light-touch regulation. The Government needs to explain to the public why it is that no entity is being held responsible or accountable. The Government should publish its legal advice on this issue. The construction industry should also share some responsibility and contribute from net profits. Surely some mechanism can be found to target and pursue the offending operators to recover moneys for the State. I am not in favour of a blanket 10% levy. The Government must restructure and design an acceptable scheme when it introduces the finance Bill. The Sinn Féin motion highlights a serious problem without giving us a solution. It is important now that the Government takes time to review this measure and returns to the House during the taking of the finance Bill with a just and fair solution.


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