July 4, 2023
Updated Defective Block Scheme will leave many homeowners behind – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that the updated defective concrete block remediation scheme that opens today will leave many homeowners behind.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said that ‘Sinn Féin will be monitoring the updated scheme closely and will continue to work with homeowners and tenants to improve the scheme further.’

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The legislation underpinning the revised defective concrete block remediation scheme was deficient. It was rushed through the Oireachtas in June 2022 and over eighty amendments proposed by affected homeowners in Donegal, Mayo and Clare were rejected by the government.

“Despite a clear promise by Darragh O’Brien that the updated scheme would be open by the end of 2022, it has taken them a full year to get the scheme up and running.

“While the changes to the scheme will provide much needed relief for some affected homeowners, we believe that it will leave many homeowners and tenants behind.

“It does not provide 100% redress. It does not provide retrospective redress. It does not include foundations impacted by pyrrhotite, and IS 465 – the industry standard underpinning the original scheme – remains in place. This standard has been undermined by the emerging scientific evidence and has resulted in large number of applications for funding being stalled and it is likely that this will continue in the revised scheme. The damage threshold cannot be used as a barrier to access the scheme.

“It is also not clear whether the local authorities have been given adequate resources and IT systems to process the new applications in a timely manner.

“Minister O’Brien has also yet to set out how he intends to address the issue of defective blocks in a very significant number of social homes owned by Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.

“Sinn Féin will study the detail of the regulations in the coming days. We will also be closely monitoring the implementation of the scheme.

“We look forward to hearing from affected homeowners, the Department of Housing and Local Authorities at an Oireachtas Housing Committee meeting on the scheme scheduled to take place on Thursday, 13th July.

“Sinn Féin remains convinced that the flaws in the underlying legislation must be addressed to ensure that no homeowner or tenant is left behind. We will be publishing amending legislation over the Summer, following consultation with affected homeowners, to address these very serious concerns.”

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