THE group representing householders affected by pyrite has outlined its proposals in a document submitted to politicians.
Sandra and Peter Lewis, of the Pyrite Action Group, were forced out of their €285,999 apartment in Santry, which is riddled with pyrite.
The frustrated homeowners spoke out in the week that the Government received a report from a panel set up last year with the aim of identifying a way forward with regard to pyrite contamination in private housing stock.
Sandra and Peter Lewis’ nightmare began in 2005 when they discovered pyrite in their home about one year after they moved into their Santry property.
Significant defects in the property and concerns for their health and safety forced the couple to rent a home in Kildare.
The young couple, who have to commute to Dublin for work and continue to pay a mortgage for their home in Santry, have been lobbying tirelessly to highlight the problem of pyrite, which has affected around 20,000 people nationally.
A panel to examine the problem of pyrite was set up last year after HomeBond, the building industry’s guarantee scheme, indicated that they would not accept liability for defects caused by the presence of pyrite.
Minister for Environment Phil Hogan (FG) intends to publish the report from the panel as soon as possible.
However, according to Ms Lewis, the Government has been quicker to address the problem of pyrite in public buildings, including three Northside schools where pyrite was recently discovered.
“At the end of the day we’re only consumers and we’ve learned that we are not protected,” she said.
“We just have to keep paying our mortgages regardless.
“You have a situation where kids have been sitting in schools with pyrite, which the Government is now fixing, but are then allowed to go home to houses with the same problem.
“It just goes to show that the Government’s priority is watching its own back in terms of liability.”
She added: “It’s so frustrating that not alone are we burdened with debt, negative equity, and homes with defects but we have no comeback with anyone. Our builders and developers have gone out of business so we have no line of recourse and no compensation from HomeBond.
“Our only option is to take on the quarry which would cost thousands of euro.”
The Pyrite Action Group recently drafted a detailed report that was sent to all TDs and the Taoiseach, outlining how the pyrite fiasco can be resolved.
The group proposes that funding to repair damaged properties be provided upfront via the sale of State assets; from money made available from Europe through a possible stimulus package; or from loans taken from banks that benefited from bailouts.
According to the group’s proposal, addressing the pyrite problem would be at no cost to the taxpayer. It would also create thousands of construction jobs while reinstating value in the Irish property market and “giving families back their homes”.
According to Ms Lewis, the Pyrite Action Group felt they had to put forward some well-thought out suggestions for the Government on the matter.
“We are well aware that the Government has a list as long as its arms of things that need money so we’re afraid that the tens of thousands of householders affected by pyrite fall very far down that list,” she concluded.