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Only 5 homes have been fixed as part of Phil Hogan's big plan to tackle pyrite

Fianna Fáil is calling for the remediation scheme to be overhauled.

Former Environment Minister Phil Hogan
Former Environment Minister Phil Hogan
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Updated at 6.25pm

FIANNA FÁIL HAS hit out at the Government’s pyrite remediation scheme after new figures revealed work has been completed on only five homes.

The scheme – launched by former Environment Minister Phil Hogan in 2013 – began taking applications in February of last year.

It allows homeowners whose property has been affected by ‘pyrite heave’ – where the sub-standard building material has caused structural damage – to apply to have the problem repaired.

According to figures released to Fianna Fáil in a parliamentary question:

  • 630 applications have been received.
  • 485 were validated.
  • 300 homes were approved for inclusion in the scheme.

A pilot scheme of works was carried out on five homes late last year, and work started on 20 houses last week, Junior Minister for Housing Paudie Coffey said.

Fianna Fáil Senator Darragh O’Brien described the progress as “completely unacceptable”, and called the scheme a mistake.

“There are thousands of homes in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Offaly and across the east coast that are riddled with pyrite,” he said in a statement.

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.

The scheme was designed to address the most severely damaged homes first. Buildings with less significant structural damage could be included in future schemes.

It is also limited to homes in Meath, Kildare of Offaly, or the administrative areas of Fingal County Council or Dublin City Council constructed between 1997 and 2013.

“Fianna Fáil has committed to expanding the Pyrite Remediation Scheme so that all homeowners affected by pyrite can have their homes fixed should their insurers not pay,” O’Brien added.

“We flagged this issue when the scheme was first proposed and we submitted a series of amendments to the legislation, all of which were rejected by Fine Gael and Labour. ”

Reaction

A spokesperson for current environment minister Alan Kelly said the comments were typical of Fianna Fáil who, he said “ignored the pyrite problem while in Government”.

“This Government established the Pyrite Resolution Board and allocated funding to deal with the problem effectively cleaning up the FF mess.

“The reality here is that the 5 completed dwellings referred to were part of a pilot project of 5 dwellings 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.”

Three more remediation projects – on 81 homes in total – will commence this month. A raft of other projects are at various stages of planning, the spokesperson said.

Read: Enda Kenny vows to crack down on cowboy developers >

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Nicky Ryan

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