€10m approved to tackle pyrite
on 16/10/2013 13:12:14
An estimated 1,000 properties in need of immediate works are expected to apply for the redress scheme.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan said an initial €10m has been set aside to start the scheme, with additional funding allocated over the next two years.
"It would not be reasonable or defensible that affected homeowners, who have no viable option for redress, would be left without resolution," he said.
"My officials and I have been working for the past few months to put in place an alternative funding model for the pyrite remediation scheme."
The scheme will be implemented under the auspices of the Pyrite Resolution Board (PRB).
The fund is being offered alongside €10m to make the condemned Priory Hall complex livable and €10m to upgrade ghost estates.
The minister said while the State is neither culpable nor liable for the pyrite problem, it has taken responsibility to provide a solution for homeowners.
But Mr Hogan warned it was a remediation scheme and not a compensation scheme, so no homeowner will be given redress for any money spent to date on works or on alternative accommodation.
"It's a programme of last resort," he said.
"This is for people who have not been able to come to a conclusion."
Board chairman John O'Connor said 700 people have already shown interest in the scheme since the online application process went live in July, with more expected to come on stream.
He said figures that up to 10,000 homes could be at risk have not yet been proven.
"We are working on the basis of 1,000 homes give or take," he added.
Properties affected by pyrite heave have been identified in Meath, Kildare, Offaly, Fingal and Dublin City.
They include houses and apartments built after 1997, with the majority in the period between 2002 and 2007.
Pyrite, or iron pyrite, is a mineral also known as fool's gold. Where present in building materials - such as backfill used under floors - the mineral can swell over time causing buckling in concrete floor slabs, difference in flooring levels, cracking in internal walls and sometimes movement in outside walls.
The scheme will cover the costs of owners having to leave their property and find alternative accommodation for up to three months.