The Irish government approved a scheme to repair 100,000 apartments and duplexes that were built during Ireland’s Celtic Tiger boom. It will cost up to EUR2.5bn (PS2.2bn).
In recent years, homeowners were hit with huge repair bills due to poor fire-stopping or other deficiencies. This was because of lax construction oversight during the boom.
At a meeting today, the Irish cabinet approved the scheme. Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, stated to reporters that “Today” is a significant step forward for homeowners who have lived with despair, distress, and no hope of returning their homes to safe and secure environments for their family.
He stated that any remediation work, whether completed or already in progress, would be included as a remedy.
This long-awaited scheme will be a relief for thousands of Celtic Tiger-era homebuyers, who had to face repair bills that were just too high and inability to sell their homes.
Debbie Horan, a retired woman, recalls the moment she was issued a EUR18,000 (PS15.700) repair bill due to fire defects. These were discovered after a fire at a neighboring property.
She says that “we were all absolutely horrified” and “just horrified.” Debbie purchased a 2-bed apartment at the Linden Apartment Development in Blackrock, Co Dublin in 2001. It was constructed in the late 1990s.
After an inspection, owners were informed that they would need to pay EUR15,000 each (PS13.100) for remediation. This increased to EUR18,000.
Debbie says, “It wasn’t our fault.” “Something that we didn’t know when we purchased the apartments.
“And it put many people under a lot more financial strain. We protested, we attended meetings, but it was clear that we were forced to pay the amount because apartments couldn’t be sold or bought until the fire-stopping problem was resolved.
“There was a lot anger.”
Although she says that the news is an “absolute relief”, she hopes they keep their word and compensate those like her who have already made payments. It is crucial to reflect.
Constructions Defects Alliance (CDA), a pressure group, said that it “strongly supported” today’s decision. It also described it as an “important one for the tens to thousands of people who live in apartments with fire safety defects.”
Pat Montague, however, warned that due to the huge scale of the defect issue, it would take many years for all the apartments to be remedied.
The legislation to implement the remediation plan must be passed in the Dail (the lower Irish house of parliament). The government acknowledges that the scheme will not be operational until late this year.