Fianna Fail’s housing spokesman Darragh O’Brien has branded the initiative for home owners affected by pyrite damage as a spectacular failure.

The Fingal TD quizzed Minister Damien English in the Dail over what he described as the inadequacy of the State’s Pyrite Remediation Scheme.

Naturally-occurring mineral pyrite can cause significant structural damage to homes if used in the infill below floor slabs or for backfill during construction.

Also known as ‘Fool’s Gold’ it can cause walls and floors to swell and buckle and has been detected in a large number of housing developments built during the boom.

Deputy O’Brien said the plight of homeowners, particularly in Fingal, was not being alleviated and people were left paying hefty mortgages for homes which they cannot sell.

Speaking in the Dail he said: “Since the inception of this scheme, not one home affected by pyrite has been approved as part of the remedial scheme under the exceptional circumstances category.

“The homes that have been remediated so far are all in category 2 whereby the pyrite level is above that set down in the Pyrite Resolution Act. As a consequence, many other homeowners continue to be left in limbo and what’s worse, with no prospect of remedy. 

“We’re not talking about one or two homes; we’re talking about potentially hundreds of homes across the east coast that have been left damaged by pyrite. The owners of these homes are left with mortgages on homes that are effectively valueless.

“The only bit of hope that these people have been able to hold on to is the prospect of the Government eventually recognising their situation and subsequently introducing long over-due changes to the schemes clauses. They’re still waiting for the scheme to be expanded to include their home.”

In November 2018 Deputy O’Brien called for owners of pyrite-hit homes to be made exempt from Local Property Tax.

He told Minister English: “A comprehensive review of the pyrite scheme has never been more pressing. These homeowners fighting for inclusion under the scheme have gone through another year of unnecessary hardship simply because the State is ignoring this matter.

“The pyrite remediation scheme needs to be expanded so that all homeowners affected can have their homes repaired in the instances where their insurer won’t fork out.”