Seanad debates

Thursday, 13 July 2023

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Defective Building Materials

9:30 am

Photo of Victor BoyhanVictor Boyhan (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy O'Donnell, to the House. I thank him for coming in to deal with this issue, which falls clearly, of course, within his brief.

I will be brief and concise. The Minister of State will be familiar with the Not Our Fault campaign that has been running. At the very outset, I salute the people involved in this campaign. These people have been affected by homes that are defective with regard to fire issues or construction defaults. They are the very people who feel totally abandoned by the Government. They feel the Government has reneged on its commitments and promises to get them out of the living hell they have had to endure both day and night. It is a living hell.

I acknowledge that Senator Seery Kearney held a meeting in the audiovisual room recently. She invited those people in and I met many of them. I was shocked to hear story after story, testament after testament, of what these people have had to endure.

On 18 January 2023, the Government announced a list of supports that would be available to address some of these issues. They involved emergency funding, which has not yet been delivered, interim measures of which there has been nothing yet and no delivery and insurance support of which there has been nothing and no delivery. To date, the Minister of State's Department and the Government have delivered nothing for these 100,000 affected homeowners. This is what they assert and this is what they have asked me to pursue with the Minister of State today.

The families involved are undergoing stress and pressure every day from management companies seeking to collect levies that were applied against them to carry out remediation works that have nothing to do with them. They do not have anything to do with them. They have no responsibility and it is not their fault. The Government promised that it would provide funds. What has happened to this promise? I hope the Minister of State can shed some light on all that today.

I understand that people are receiving daily solicitors' letters or suggestions that they will be called to give court appearances on dates to deal with something that is not their fault. They have no responsibility with regard to these matters. On behalf of these people, I seek reassurances today from the Minister of State.

The people involved need emergency funding, as promised, to get some of the work started in order that they can make these developments safe enough to continue to live in. I visited them and they are appalling. They are fire hazards. In some cases, people cannot even get insurance. They cannot afford property maintenance. It is a living nightmare and a living hell for these people.

I do not want to overstate the case, but they feel abandoned and let down. There is mixed communication. I want to hear from the Minister of State about what is happening, not what is happening next month or next year, but what is happening now. They are tuned in today because I alerted them to the fact. I sent the press release that was issued by the Oireachtas today and the link to this particular Commencement matter. It is important that when we stand up here and advocate for people, we do it well and robustly. To be fair to the Minister of State, I know he is committed to addressing the issue, and that it is a big, complex issue.I want some sort of reassurance today and a timeline for how the Government will deliver for the people involved.


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