Dáil debates

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Defective Concrete Products Levy: Motion [Private Members]


9:50 pm

Photo of Violet-Anne WynneViolet-Anne Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I am here to speak on behalf of the good people of County Clare in respect of the proposed levy of 10% on concrete blocks and products to be introduced next April. This levy has drawn huge attention, and rightly so. In the midst of a homeless crisis that has embarrassingly and shamefully reached record numbers, what sense is there in having those who are trying to build or buy their own homes, or who have to rebuild their own homes, pay a further levy? It does not make sense.

Last week, in my constituency of Clare, 16 planning applications were granted and a further 21 were received. These are, of course, young couples who are first-time home builders and retired people who have worked hard and paid into the State their whole lives. There are farmers, the backbone of commerce and community in rural Ireland. None of these people ripped off decent and hard-working people by selling them defective concrete products, causing their homes to crumble around them, yet they are the very people the Government levy has been designed to punish.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, as we know, has estimated that the imposition of this levy will tack on anywhere between €3,000 and €4,000 to the building of a three-bedroom home, which is the most common type in Ireland. We know why there is a need for a redress scheme, namely, because there was no regulation and a lack of action for many years. Everyone knows this, but why burden the ordinary person any more? Deliver, if anything, a progressive levy that will fund the necessary work in the redress scheme and, just as important, deter such despicable acts as selling defective products from ever happening again. That is what would make sense. Where are the repercussions for the quarries that started this fiasco? As of yet, they are nowhere to be seen.

In fact, Aidan O'Connell from Engineers Ireland told the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage - just three months ago - that there are still problematic quarries producing defective blocks. The answer here is not to target hard-working people building a home or those affected by pyrite and having to rebuild their homes. The answer is to get a move on with legislation to investigate the situation and hold the actual culprits to account properly and thoroughly and make them pay.


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