The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has received Government approval for the General Scheme of the Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill, 2022
The Minister has also welcomed Government’s decision to extend the scheme to counties Limerick and Clare.
Minister O’Brien said the general scheme reflects the decisions made by Government in November 2021 and represents significant progress. Key features of the General Scheme include:
Provision for 100% grants subject to an overall maximum grant of €420,000 per dwelling
Grant rates in keeping with the construction cost report prepared by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland
A Government guarantee in regard to remediation works other than full demolition and rebuild (Options 2-5) through eligibility for a second grant if required for a period of 40 years
A revised application process which removes the financial barrier to scheme entry which will only require the homeowner to submit an initial ‘Building Condition Assessment’ at minimal cost recoupable on entry to the Scheme
The introduction of an independent appeals process for applicants with all key decisions under the scheme appealable by homeowners
Alternative accommodation and storage costs and immediate repair works to a maximum value of €25,000 within the overall grant cap
The Housing Agency playing a key role under the enhanced scheme by taking on the financial cost of testing and assessing homes and determining on behalf of the local authorities the appropriate remediation option and grant rate for each dwelling
The extension of the enhanced scheme beyond the current scope of Principle Private Residences only, to also cover rented dwellings registered with the RTB on or before the 1 November 2021
Inclusion of Clare and Limerick in the enhanced scheme upon commencement
Exempt development status under planning legislation for remediation works carried out under the defective concrete blocks grant scheme on a like for like basis,
Thanks to @drivetimerte and @rtenews for coming to Clare to meet with Clare Pyrite Action Groups Dr. Martina Cleary and Mary & Seamus Hanley. The interviews will be on the radio this evening and on the @rtenews 6.1 this evening. pic.twitter.com/xT4z4J596k
— Clare Pyrite Action (@ClarePyrite) June 14, 2022
Minister O’Brien acknowledged the affected homeowners and thanked them for their involvement in the process over the last twelve months in particular saying, “Since establishing the working group in June 2021, affected homeowners have put a significant amount of time and effort into working with my Department through the homeowner liaison officer John O’Connor, on the development of the enhanced scheme. I am satisfied that the enhanced scheme will represent a significant step forward in having a fit for purpose grant scheme which will help homeowners rebuild their homes and their lives.”
Minister O’Brien went on to thank his Government colleagues and the Attorney General for their support for the enhanced scheme, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) for their work on the construction cost report, the Expert Group chaired by Mr. Paul Forde, for their expert advice on a significant number of technical issues, John O’Connor, homeowner liaison officer and the Housing Agency for agreeing to take on a key role under the enhanced scheme.
“I have consistently said the State has a moral obligation to assist affected homeowners and that is what we are doing through this enhanced scheme,” he concluded.
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is welcoming the inclusion of Clare and Limerick in an expanded Defective Concrete Block Scheme by Cabinet today – but is warning that this is not the end of the road.
“I’m delighted that Clare and Limerick will today join other counties in being deemed eligible for redress for pyrite defective blocks,” said Deputy Crowe. Today’s decision by Cabinet to include our county is significant but by no means is it the end of the road.
“The campaign for redress for homeowners in Clare was instigated by Dr Martina Cleary, who founded the Clare Pyrite Action Group, and she and others who serve on that committee deserve huge credit for putting this issue high up on the political agenda – both in Clare and indeed nationally.”
Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has also the news and paid tribute to the Clare Pyrite Action Group, Clare County Council and Engineer Simon Beale for their determined work in ensuring the scheme would be extended to Clare and Limerick
“Their work illustrated without any doubt that pyrite is present in the concrete blocks of homes throughout the county. However it’s important that the legislation is fit for purpose and therefore properly scrutinised so that people can finally move on from the nightmare of watching their houses crumbling because of defective concrete blocks.
“These are all welcome measures but the devil will be in the detail of the scheme,” Deputy Carey added.