Tardy pyrite scheme ‘crazy’

by Gazette Reporter

THE Department of Environment has confirmed that remediation work on 43 units in Fingal is due to begin this month.
However, Senator Darragh O’Brien (FF) said the Pyrite Remediation Scheme was “grossly inadequate” following confirmation that only five houses nationwide have been remediated since 2012. He also pointed out that 630 households had applied under the scheme since the beginning of last year with less than half accepted.
“It is crazy that we are now in the second year of the remediation scheme and you can count on one hand the number of homes that have been remediated,” he said, adding that the Pyrite Remediation Board has had its hands tied by a lack of resources and funding, and that the Government ignored a Fianna Fail Bill to expand the programme in 2012.
He said: “The Government needs to wake up and recognise the fact that the scheme in its current form is totally inadequate. What we need now is a much more comprehensive plan with a realistic assessment of the number of homes that are damaged by pyrite.”
A Fine Gael TD hit back, saying Fianna Fail did nothing to help homeowners affected by pyrite when it was in government.
It emerged in 2007 that thousands of homes in north County Dublin, including Malahide, Lusk and Swords, were built with inadequate materials that contained the mineral pyrite, which caused houses to crack and crumble in parts.
The Pyrite Remediation Scheme was launched in 2013 for affected homeowners to apply for assistance in fixing their damaged properties. To date, 400 Fingal homeowners have applied for remediation under the scheme.
Deputy Alan Farrell (FG), who owns a property affected by pyrite but remediated by the developer that built it, said “it really irked” him to hear members of the previous government criticising the current Government over the scheme. According to him, Fianna Fail and the Green Party did nothing from 2007 to 2011 to address the issue.
“I think it’s a bit much from Fianna Fail to come out with that statement. They did nothing themselves for four years on this matter. It’s really frustrating when you hear something like that.”
He said he continued to engage with Junior Environment Minister Paudie Coffey in relation to the possibility of expanding the scheme, particularly in relation to the need to address the situation whereby many homeowners are not currently eligible for remediation works unless the developer who constructed their house accepts responsibility.
A spokesperson from the Department of Environment said: “The reality here is that the five completed dwellings referred to were part of a pilot project completed last year. It should be noted that the pilot was necessary as the remediation of dwellings suffering from significant pyritic heave was a relatively new departure.”
The spokesperson said a remediation project of 20 dwellings was under way, with three more projects, totalling 81 dwellings due to commence this month.
Contractors for two more remediation projects, for four dwellings, would be appointed later this month; tenders were due back for two remediation projects, for 25 dwellings later this month; and tenders for three projects, for 86 dwellings, would go out to tender this month.

Related Articles