Dublin West TD and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed new government legislation which will support vital repairs of Celtic Tiger-era apartments and duplexes.
These homes were signed off by building contractors during the self-certification era from the 1990s, many ‘completed’ without fire and structural safety and water ingress defects.
Many homeowners were stunned to find themselves living in homes which were deemed unsafe. Some owners like Odette and Sam Doran found themselves facing bills up to €65,000 to make their home safe, and many were unable to secure home insurance in the interim.
Minister O’Gorman noted: “A ‘whole building’ approach will be taken, ensuring common areas and shared spaces are also remediated where required to the relevant standard. It is envisaged that the Housing Agency will play a central role in the administration of the scheme and that Owners’ Management Companies will be funded to carry out the necessary remediation works, with specific limitations or exemptions on certain commercial owners.”
However, Deputy Paul Murphy (People Before Profit) gave a ‘cautious’ welcome to Minister Darragh O’Brien’s announcement last week.
“The announcement of a scheme for redress for apartment and duplex defects is extremely welcome. The devil will be in the detail, and we have seen precious little detail so far.
“For this scheme to work, it will have to be 100 per cent for all affected, and must include full retrospection and be rapidly implemented with a central body responsible for it. I’ll be pushing for these details in the coming weeks in the Dáil.”
For Odette and Sam Doran of The Crescent, Park West, the lack of detail and delivery date is a major issue. The couple have joined protests with Not Our Fault outside the Dáil throughout December and sat in on Sinn Féin’s motion calling for a full redress.
Alas, on December 20, the Dorans and similar homeowners were devastated to learn that Minister O’Brien’s memo would not be going to cabinet until the New Year.
“We were stuck in limbo yet again – not a nice feeling over the Christmas. On Wednesday last, January 18 the long-awaited announcement was made that a full 100 per cent redress would be given. It was met with a sigh of relief from many of us – but our battle is not over, not by a long shot!
“Our insurance was due for renewal on December 31; our insurance company gave us a month to come up a plan to commence work on our building. As we are looking at a budget of €15.9m, we cannot finance a plan for that!
“The Minister stated that it would take a couple of months to roll out this scheme and realistically, we are looking at early 2024.”
Stating the Minister noted there would be emergency measures in place, Ms Doran said, as yet, they have not been given an access communication number or email.
Having failed to secure insurance cover anywhere, Ms Doran felt as the government has accepted responsibility for the debacle, the government should under-write fire claims until these defective buildings are made safe.
“The government had no problem stepping in for PMPA and Quinn Insurance when they collapsed. It’s no different here, insurance for defective apartments has COLLAPSED.”
Minister O’Gorman stated remediation works relating to fire safety defects will need to be agreed with local authority Fire Services and the details of this process will be worked out as a priority and provided in due course (subject to terms and conditions).
He concluded by saying the Green Party has been advocating for this scheme for years,
“Apartment owners have been raising concerns with me about these defects since I became a local councillor in 2014, and I have continued to highlight these issues with government colleagues since elected as TD for Dublin West.”