No stone should be left unturned in making every home safe
- Register necessary to ensure that residents of all eligible apartments are made aware of the scheme
Welcoming news that the Minister for Housing has opened the interim fire safety measures scheme for defective apartments, Labour Leader and Housing Spokesperson Ivana Bacik TD has called for a more robust Government response to ensure that all homes which are built defectively are made safe for the people who live in them.
Deputy Bacik said,
“I have welcomed that the Government has engaged with me on the issue since first I raised the true scale of the problem back in 2022. It is thought that up to 80% of apartments built between 1991 and 2013 may be affected by construction defects – with most of these in the Greater Dublin Area. Since first I raised the scale of the problem, I have been inundated with dreadful personal stories from individuals whose homes are not safe. In many cases, they have paid thousands of euros to remedy defects and are in dire financial straits as a result. Those who have been unable to afford the cost of works live in fear – fear for fire safety in them homes, and fear of the immense cost of fixing the defects.
“While we await the release of the full scheme, it is very positive that the interim scheme has now been launched. These measures would ensure safety and peace of mind for people who are living in homes which are affected by fire safety defects. Those who live in apartments without state of the art fire alarms should be provided with them without delay This new scheme is a step in the right direction towards that. However, because the Government does not maintain a list of all the owner management companies in the country, it is entirely reliant on the media and word of mouth in relation to the scheme. In other words, the onus is largely falling on those who are living in a defectively-built home, which is patently unfair. I call on Minister O’Brien to move now to create such a register – to ensure the effective delivery of this scheme, and for future schemes too.
“The full release of funding to make safe every defectively-built home takes time. Moreover, there are outstanding issues to be resolved, such as what to do with those whose homes are unsafe which fall out of the scheme because they were built prior to 1991, for example. In any event a legislative framework must be put in place in advance of any general election. The recent experience in my constituency of Dublin Bay South, where we saw the Department of Housing appearing to row back on commitments made by former Minister for Housing Simon Coveney TD for the provision of social and affordable housing at the former Irish Glass Bottle Site, underlines the importance of political accountability in the making of promises. I hope that Minister O’Brien will learn from the experiences of his predecessor, and that he will live up to his commitments before his time as Minister is up.”