Seanad debates

Friday, 16 October 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Fianna Fail)

Most Members will be familiar with the problems associated with pyrite and mica. However, they may not be aware that the schemes involving restitution for those affected by these issues are limited to certain areas, namely, counties Mayo and Donegal in respect of the defective block scheme and parts of counties Dublin and Meath in respect of pyrite. The pyrite scheme has been extended to cover County Limerick. It is about time for a national scheme to be put in place. A situation is developing in the county I know best, County Clare, where between 30 and 40 houses are affected by the defective block situation. That number is growing. Anyone who has visited one of these houses knows it is devastating for the owners and their families to see a relatively small crack in an otherwise well-built home widen over a period of months or, in some cases, a year or two to such an extent that one could put one's fist through it. That has a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people concerned.

I am calling for a debate on the matter in an effort to extend the scheme nationwide such that those affected in each county or area where these problems develop do not have to get together, spend a vast amount of money trying to prove their case and go through the same rigamarole as the homeowners in Mayo or Donegal or on the east coast. We should do all we can to give certainty and security once and for all to those who have been impacted so badly. I ask the Leader to facilitate a debate on this issue at the earliest possible opportunity. I know there are departmental mandarins who like to limit the potential exposure of the State. I get that. I understand that. Why does the scheme developed for Donegal and Mayo not apply to homeowners in counties Clare, Kerry, Limerick or elsewhere? A nationwide scheme should be instituted in the interests of fairness and equity and in recognition of the tremendous impact this issue has on homeowners and families. If one's home is not protected under such a scheme, what else can be done? These issues are not covered by insurance. When these houses were built, building regulations were not as strictly observed as they currently are. Nobody wishes to cast blame or look back. One cannot do so because this condition was not known or tested for at the time, but the manifestation of it now is very serious. It is a matter the House should try to address without delay.


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