Seanad debates

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Commencement Matters

Pyrite Remediation Programme Implementation

2:30 pm

Photo of Thomas ByrneThomas Byrne (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Gabhaim mo bhuíochas leis an gCathaoirleach as ucht an deis a thabhairt dom an t-ábhar tábhachtach seo a ardú ar an Tosú inniu. I am grateful to be allowed raise in the Seanad this critical issue for many people. Since this Government took office it is fair to say it has taken steps to rectify the issue of pyrite. Many people will benefit from the pyrite remediation scheme, and some have benefited already in terms of having work done on their houses, but similar to many Government announcements there is a good deal of spin on top of the reality, which is a pity. As far as I am aware, the pyrite scheme so far has only accepted 300 applications in terms of saying it will do the work. We are not even clear whether the pyrite board is funded to do all of the work it has approved given that thousands of homes have pyrite damage.We know there are thousands of people whose homes have pyrite damage, some of whom cannot afford the test because it costs between €1,000 and €2,000 or more. Some do not have sufficient damage to be covered by the scheme. Yet another category has been tested and we know there is a significant amount of pyrite in those foundations, but no damage is apparent yet. The damage can take many years to appear. It has happened in north county Dublin that the damage appeared 12 years after the homes were built. There are people in limbo who have lesser damage, no damage but damage on the way, and those who cannot get their houses tested to be covered by the scheme.

I have met members of the pyrite equality group. They want a comprehensive response from the Government and from all parties as we come into an election year on what is proposed in respect of pyrite. I have welcomed what has happened up to now and have highlighted its flaws but we have to give these people an answer, saying what the overall plan will be for the next ten years.

There is also a difficulty with the exemption from property tax which requires a test that costs thousands of euro. Many people cannot afford the test. The application of the rules, which the Revenue Commissioners apply, is very strict. Very few get the exemption for which the Oireachtas legislated.

We want more funding for this necessary scheme. In the interests of justice, more people should be allowed enter the scheme. There should be an overall plan for the future for houses that have pyrite and that are in pyrite estates but do not yet have the damage, which will almost inevitably arise. We need to give these people certainty. They feel they are in limbo.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.