A DAIL motion on building standards by a local TD was passed earlier this month, signalling Leo Varadkar’s first defeat as Taoiseach.
Dublin Rathdown TD and Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin said the Government must tackle “shoddy developers and cowboy builders”.
Speaking following the vote in the Dail, Deputy Martin told The Gazette: “The message from the Dail is clear – the Government must end their hands-off approach to building regulation.”
TDs voted by 84 votes to 46 in favour of the motion put forward by the Greens to put an independent regulator in the form of an Irish building authority in place, and to abandon plans to allow the construction sector to continue its self-regulation.
It calls for the improved regulation of building standards and the implementation of a remedial scheme to assist homeowners “to resolve serious structural and fire safety issues resulting from grossly defective building standards in Ireland”.
The motion was submitted by Deputy Martin before the Grenfell Tower tragedy had occurred in London.
She also cited Irish examples of inadequate fire safety, such as Priory Hall, Longboat Quay and the Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford where homeowners may have to pay up to €15,000 for essential refurbishment work.
Deputy Martin said: “They must put in place a strong, independent regulator – an Irish building authority, and abandon plans to allow the construction sector to continue regulating themselves.
“They must develop remediation mechanisms for homeowners who have been left to pick up the pieces of substandard building practices, while cowboy developers get off scot-free.
“I have been contacted by constituents in multiple apartment buildings throughout the constituency who are facing bills of up to €38,000 for defective homes which they bought in good faith – the Government must look to assist people dealing with this financial nightmare.
“The overriding priority underpinning all construction must be the safety of residents. There is no doubt about it – under the current rules and regulations, we could easily have a blaze like Grenfell Tower in Ireland,” she said.