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'Massive time bomb': Public safety at risk as 'thousands' of boilers illegally installed each year

A representation association has called the current system “a sham”.

Image: gas boiler via Shutterstock

Updated 8.41pm

PLUMBERS WALKED OUT of talks with the energy regulator yesterday, citing alleged inaction over the illegal installation of thousands of boilers each year.

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors Ireland claim concerns for public safety are being ignored.

One stakeholder claimed in a consultation paper published by the Commission for Energy Regulation that the number of boilers installed each year without the necessary safety certification could be as high as 18,000.

“Our members have been concerned for some time about the passive approach to tackling safety issues and illegal activity in the industry and this report clearly reflects our concerns,” chairman Sean Giffney said.

We are deeply frustrated that we continue to pay for a regulatory system that is quite frankly a sham.

“At present, the APHCI feel that there is a massive ticking time bomb with tens of thousands of homes at risk where 50% of installations are not subject to inspection and nothing said by CER will change this,” Giffney continued.

The fact remains that the present system is a cosy, ineffective, inefficient sham that needs to be changed.

A spokesperson for CER said that since 2009 anyone carrying out gas works must be registered. A consultation process on this is currently underway.

However, the spokesperson noted that despite engaging with the Central Statistics Office and industry manufacturing and wholesale representatives, the regulator has been “unable to put in place verifiable statistics regarding the number of boilers that are sold in a domestic setting each year”.

“In 2014, there has been a significant increase in the number of prosecutions carried out by the CER against individuals who carry out illegal gas works or portray themselves as gas installers without being registered,” he continued, “while in comparison to 2013, there has been approximate a twenty percent reduction in the number of reports received.”

If any member of the public suspects that a domestic gas installation has been maintained, repaired or installed by an unregistered individual they should report it (anonymously if preferred) by completing an illegal gas works complaint form at www.rgii.ie or by contacting 1850 454 454.

Read: Unregistered Carlow plumber prosecuted for installing gas boilers >

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Nicky Ryan

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