December 8, 2023
Defective Concrete Block Oversight Committee involving homeowners and stakeholders must be established by Minister for Housing – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has called on the Minister for Housing to establish an oversight committee including affected homeowners, the banking industry, insurance and engineering sectors to resolve outstanding issues surrounding the Defective Concrete Block Grant Scheme.

Speaking in the Dáil, the Donegal TD said critical problems including the mortgageability of properties and funding shortfalls needed to be addressed.

Teachta Doherty said:

“Homeowners have been badly let down by the defective concrete blocks redress scheme, but despite this, are trying to engage with it to rebuild their homes and lives.

“The key question of the mortgageability of these homes following remediation – including the ability to sell the properties in the future – is a key issue.

“In a reply to my parliamentary question the Minister for Housing said that these properties would be fully mortgageable once a home has been certified as remediated.

“I have been informed that a number of engineers cannot guarantee certification of properties for a number of options under the scheme.

“I asked the Minister for State if his department or the Minister had sought clarification from the engineering sector on this issue.

“As it stands, there is an implementation group that does not involve key stakeholders.

“I asked the Minister to commit to establishing an oversight committee that would involve key stakeholders – homeowners, the banking industry, the insurance sector, and engineers – to resolve outstanding issues surrounding the scheme.

“It is totally unacceptable that the Minister has not established this oversight committee, given the serious outstanding issues facing homeowners under the scheme.

“I also raised the significant funding shortfalls homeowners face to commence works due to flawed design of this scheme.

“The banking industry submitted a proposal to the department for a bridging finance product to resolve this issue in October.

“I asked for the status of this proposal without receiving any assurances that a decision on it would be made.

“The management of this scheme, from start to finish, has been unacceptable.

“The Government must establish an oversight committee involving key stakeholders and resolve the outstanding problems that are causing such uncertainty and stress for affected homeowners.”

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