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15/07/2022

Concerns Over Structural Defects On Irish Apartments

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Up to 80% of apartments built between 1991 and 2013 may be affected by construction defects, a Labour representative revealed.

This statement comes as Labour leader Ivana Bacik questioned the Tánaiste in the Dáil yesterday, 14 July.

After meeting with a number of those living in such apartments, found mainly in Dublin, Deputy Bacik has said they are now living in fear – fear for fire safety in their homes and fear because of the immense cost they will have to incur in order to fix these defects.

Bacik has now called for government support for households impacted by construction defects in defectively built apartments.

Deputy Bacik said: "I am deeply concerned about the many apartment blocks across Dublin that have serious fire safety problems and structural defects, impacting upon thousands of people. To ensure that vital safety works are carried out on these homes, Labour is demanding that Budget 2023 include 100% refundable tax credits for those who have paid, and are paying, levies for the remediation of defects in their apartments.

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"It is hard to overstate the scale of this problem. While we await the imminent publication of the report by the Working Group on Defective Homes, my understanding is that up to 100,000 apartments are impacted, with up to 44,000 of these in the process of being remediated right now. However, there are concerns that the vital safety works being carried out may be deferred, causing unnecessary risk to health and safety for the tens of thousands of people living in these apartments.

"These people live at real risk of fire in their home. They need this government to provide them with security and peace of mind. In my own constituency, a woman recently told me that she fears she will be unable to help her daughter progress into third level education due to the cost of making her defectively built apartment compliant with fire safety regulations.

"Today, we learn that inflation has hit the highest rate in 38 years. In the midst of this unprecedented cost of living crisis, those households in defectively built apartments have an additional fear of debt due to the cost of fixing the defects; they also fear increased insurance costs, and due to the ongoing cost liability, many are simply unable to sell their homes, even where their families have outgrown them. They need supports from Government, in particular through the introduction of refundable tax credits to cover the remediation costs already incurred or ongoing.

"I welcome the positive response by the Tánaiste to my call for such supports; and his acknowledgment that Government will need to offer a response to the households affected so adversely by defective construction practices."

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