A register of builders who are responsible for substandard and unsafe homes needs to be established immediately, a Fine Gael Senator has said. Senator Mary Seery Kearney said those responsible for building homes with poor and inadequate fire safety measures should be prevented from future work until they repair and redress their previous errors. In the Seanad recently, Senator Seery Kearney said she is in constant contact with apartment owners who have been or are being obliged to pay out exorbitant fees to rectify these substandard fire safety provisions in their complexes and who are already paying mortgages for homes they thought were safe.
“A defects working group was established under the Housing Department, but the terms of reference are not yet agreed. “I have sat and listened to parents talk about how they fear for the safety of their children when they are putting them to bed at night; if there is a fire, will they get out in time? Will they be protected? “Homeowners are completely innocent in this situation. I believe there has been criminal behaviour by builders who knowingly cut corners. There was also a failure in enforcement of building regulations and standards.
“We need the Housing Minister to intervene with the Working Group and ensure that a terms of reference for redress is established that addresses the needs of these home owners. “The redress needs to have a retrospective element – if you are a professional landlord, you can write the cost of remediation off against tax, why can’t individual homeowners do that – we need to address that immediately. “We need to create a register of builders who have allowed these situations to occur, and to block them from bidding for any more work until such time as they have addressed the outstanding defects – they can’t walk away and pretend they have clean hands. “We need action now,” Senator Seery Kearney said.