Fourteen times in the last two months I have raised the issue of pyrite and the lack of action from the Government on the matter.
I remind Members that there are potentially over 70,000 houses affected by pyrite. They are predominantly in Dublin and on the east coast in the greater Dublin area. I have visited many houses affected by pyrite and many of them are unsafe and uninhabitable. The houses are valueless but their owners must pay their mortgages. HomeBond has washed its hands of the issue and insurance companies and local authorities do not want to know. The Government has put together an expert group that was supposed to report in February, then it was March, then April and then May.
I know that the Leader has done his best and I am not criticising him. All I ask is that people, including the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, visit a family or home where people have been affected by pyrite, where their house is unsafe, where there are cracks in the walls the size of a fist, where they cannot use the bathroom, where they are paying mortgages of €1,500 and €2,000 per month yet they have no recourse to anyone. I have reminded the House repeatedly that the longer the delay the more people will become statute barred and they will not have recourse to the courts.
The average remediation cost for a standard three bedroom house is €30,000. Of the 72,500 houses estimated to be affected only 700 houses, or 1%, have been remediated which was due to a court case taken by a builder against the quarries.
I give the Leader advance notice that Fianna Fáil has prepared a Bill called the home remediation Bill 2012 that I intend to publish before the summer recess in order to give real support to people affected by pyrite. I have held off publishing my Bill because I want to see the Government’s report by the pyrite expert group. I hope that its report is published before my Bill. I sincerely ask the Leader to return next week with a date on when the report will be issued. If not, I will publish my legislation and we will proceed with it.