The Pyrite Resolution Board was established in December 2012 by the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan. Its purpose was to oversee the implementation of a comprehensive remediation scheme for private dwellings affected by significant ‘Pyrite heave’. The board consists of John O’Connor (Chairman), Caroline Gill, Paul Forde, Sean Balfe and Matt Gallagher.
The board’s website has now gone live. The website includes an online process for eligible homeowners to register their interest. It is expected that applications will be accepted shortly.
There are an estimated 850 houses in need of immediate remediation at an average cost of €45,000 per dwelling. These repairs will be prioritised and work is expected to commence in the summer months.
The Pyrite Panel recommended that homeowners should not have to bear the costs of remediation. This has resulted in a contentious proposal to impose a mandatory levy on the insurance and quarrying industries. This is to be used to repay the banks who will be contributing an upfront sum.
Following Government approval of a general Pyrite Remediation Bill, urgent work is now under way to develop the Bill.
The Irish Insurance Federation has expressed outrage at the proposed mandatory levy and described the proposal as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unjust’. The IIF believes that the quarrying / construction industry and the State are responsible for the Pyrite problem and should have to pay for the cost of resolving it, not the insurance industry, who are already contributing to resolving the problem under particular policies covering structural defects.
It is expected the enactment of the Bill will be a contentious matter. It remains to be seen whether it will be challenged in the courts.