The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D, announced that the Government has approved Exchequer funding for a pyrite remediation scheme to be implemented under the auspices of the Pyrite Resolution Board (PRB).
While the State is neither culpable nor liable for the pyrite problem, it nevertheless took responsibility to provide solutions for homeowners, whose homes through no fault of their own, have been significantly damaged by pyritic heave and who have been left with no viable means of redress following the withdrawal of cover for pyrite damage by HomeBond in the summer of 2011.
The Minister said “it would not have been reasonable or defensible that affected homeowners, who have no viable option for redress, would be left without a resolution. My officials and I have been working over the past few months to put in place an alternative funding model for the pyrite remediation scheme. While this has not been an easy task having regard to budgetary constraints in the current climate, I am pleased to announce that the Government has approved €10 million initial funding to kick start the scheme, and additional funding will be allocated over the next two years from the Capital Stimulus Programme in early 2014.”
The PRB estimate that there are approximately 1,000 dwellings affected by pyritic heave and requiring immediate remediation. The new funding arrangements will mean that the more complex structures originally proposed for the delivery of the scheme, involving the establishment of a not-for-profit company, are no longer required. The PRB, with support from the Housing Agency, will now implement the programme in line with the scheme outlined on the Board’s website (seewww.pyriteboard.ie).
The Minister added, “I had hoped that there would be more solid progress for affected homeowners, in terms of applications being processed and remediation works commenced. As with Priory Hall however, complex legal issues had to be addressed before a resolution could be finalised. The certainty now provided by yesterday’s Government Decision, removes the remaining obstacles and means that the proposed legislation can now be drafted as a matter of priority, thereby enabling the PRB to begin its work in earnest”.
The Government Decision will enable the PRB to quickly advance work on the online application and processing system, and also to finalise work on developing other complementary systems, with appropriate checks and balances, to ensure that effective and efficient programmes of remediation are delivered to affected homeowners.
The Minister said: “I have full confidence in the commitment of the PRB to having the pyrite remediation scheme operable as quickly as possible. The legislation to put the Pyrite Resolution Board on a statutory footing and to give effect to the remediation scheme will be enacted before the end of this year.”
The Minister concluded: “I am acutely aware of the long wait that many affected homeowners have had to endure in waiting for solutions to the pyrite problems in their homes. It has not been an easy time for those people and I understand how stressful such situations can be but I want to assure those homeowners that it has always been and, will continue to be, a high priority for me to bring about a final resolution to this problem as quickly as possible. It is the very least that those homeowners deserve. Pyrite is part of the unpalatable legacy of building failures that I inherited and which I have been determined to put right. I would like to assure affected homeowners that there will be no undue delay on my part or on that of my Department and the Pyrite Resolution Board to ensure that the pyrite remediation scheme is delivered in the shortest possible timeframe”.