Hogan to consider making pyrite homes exempt from household charge

Pyrite can cause structural damage to homes

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he will examine a report from an independent panel before deciding whether or not householders who are affected by pyrite should be exempt from the household charge.

With a list of ghost estates and unfinished developments already exempt from the charge in 2012, Deputy Dominic Hannigan expressed his view in the Dáil last week that those affected by pyrite in their homes should also be excluded “until such a time as the home is free from pyrite.”

Between 20,000 and 60,000 Irish homes are believed to be affected by pyrite – which can cause structural damage to properties.

Currently pyrite problems have been found in the middle eastern part of Ireland, including Dublin, Laois, Louth, Meath, Kildare, Westmeath, Wicklow and Offaly.

Asked whether those affected would be excluded from having to pay the controversial €100 household charge, Minister Hogan said he would weigh the matter up when he received a report back on the subject from an independent panel that he had already appointed.

He said: “I understand the difficult and challenging situation faced by householders, who through no fault of their own, have to contend with the consequences of pyrite in their homes.

“I have established an independent panel with the remit of seeking to facilitate a resolution of pyrite contamination in private housing. “The panel is progressing its work and I have asked the chairperson of the panel to complete this task as quickly as possible and submit a report to me early in 2012. I will give further consideration to the position of owners of certain pyrite-affected houses upon receipt of the Panel’s Report.”

Last September Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that no remediation scheme for pyrite contamination of houses would be considered until the full scale of the problem is known.

Pyrite can cause great expense to homeowners with one Dublin City Council report from last October revealing that it would take upwards of €10.5 million to remove the defective building material from three recently built developments in Ballymun.

The household charge must be paid by March 31st, although just 4% have paid it so far.

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