AS hundreds of Northside homeowners affected by the pyrite crisis prepare for another protest at the Dail this week, the Department of the Environment has confirmed that a deadline for stakeholders to report back to Minister Phil Hogan has been met.
This is despite reports to the contrary. In a statement issued on October 6, Dublin West TD Patrick Nulty (Lab) said Minister Hogan set a deadline of September for the construction industry to bring forward proposals to resolve the pyrite issue.
“Sadly this deadline has passed without even a whimper from the construction industry,” he stated.
However, when Northiside People contacted the Department of the Environment, a spokesman told Northside People that “all of the stakeholders responded to the Minister within the deadline set and the responses are now being evaluated”.
Following receipt of the pyrite report at the end of June, Minister Hogan met with the Construction Industry Federation, Irish Concrete Federation, HomeBond, Irish Insurance Federation and the Irish Banking Federation with a view to securing a voluntary, industry led solution for homeowners.
The Minister asked the stakeholders to give urgent consideration to the relevant recommendations in the pyrite report and come back to him with their proposals by the end of September.
“The Minister has, on numerous occasions in the past, made it abundantly clear that in the absence of workable solutions from the stakeholders, he would consider an imposed solution along the lines recommended in the pyrite report,” a spokesman for the Minister told Northside People.
“The pyrite report recommended the establishment of a resolution board which could be funded by a levy placed on the construction/quarrying and related insurance sectors.
“Following careful consideration of the responses from the stakeholders and taking account of the recommendations in the pyrite report, the Minister will be bringing forward proposals to Government as soon as possible to provide for a solution for the pyrite problem.”
When asked if the Department was satisfied with the contribution of the stakeholders thus far, the spokesman said it was “too early to give a considered response to the question”.
“In its report, the Pyrite Panel expressed disappointment with the lack of engagement by stakeholders in trying to resolve the pyrite problem,” he stated.
“Stakeholders did not engage constructively with homeowners and it appeared to the panel that they hoped by non-engagement the problem would be resolved by someone else.
“The Minister concurs with the view of the Pyrite Panel that there was a lack of engagement by stakeholders in trying to find solutions for homeowners and for this reason and, being cognisant of the difficult situations faced by homeowners, who through no fault of their own were living with the consequence of pyrite, he set up the independent pyrite panel in September 2011.”
When asked if the Minister believes that this crisis can eventually be solved to the satisfaction of the hundreds of affected homeowners, the spokesman replied: “The report of the independent Pyrite Panel provides a framework to resolve the pyrite problem.
“The Minister is moving quickly to implement the recommendations in the report and he is working towards rapidly providing a solution for homeowners whose homes are affected by pyrite. “He is confident that the pyrite problem will be resolved satisfactorily.”
Deputy Nulty said the Pyrite Panel details the problems faced by people who bought their homes in good faith.
“It is now essential that action is taken by the Minister,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sandra Lewis, a spokesperson for the Pyrite Action Group, said the ball is now firmly in the Government’s court.
“We are looking for upfront funding to kick-start the pyrite remediation scheme,” Ms Lewis told Northside People.
“And we hope the Government will pursue the stakeholders to recoup the costs to the taxpayer. “We don’t want the burden to fall on taxpayers but we need money now.”
The pyrite issue will be discussed in the Dail this Thursday (October 18). The Pyrite Action Group is urging as many of the affected homeowners as possible to take part in a protest outside the Dail that day at 11.15am.