Owners of crumbling Irish homes ‘disgusted’ by compensation plan

5 January 2022

Homeowners in Ireland living in houses built with defective blocks that “crumble like Weetabix” say a compensation scheme unveiled by the government will still leave them with devastating bills of up to €80,000 (£60,000).

A long-awaited redress scheme for the estimated 6,000 people living in homes that have to be demolished and rebuilt was unveiled by the government earlier this week. The government says the scheme will cost €2.2bn and means homeowners will bear no upfront costs.

At first it appeared the government had met many of the demands of campaigners representing people whose homes were built with blocks containing too much of the mineral mica, which caused the blocks to crack and crumble.

But after studying the details – in particular the inclusion of a tapering element to the bailout funds – the campaigners condemned the government’s scheme as a cynical attempt to grab positive headlines.

Government funds for rebuilding are tapered from €145 a square foot for the first 1,000 square feet (93 sq metres) to €110 a square foot for the next 1,000 and €100 a square foot thereafter. Campaigners said this leaves major shortfalls for those whose homes need demolishing and rebuilding.

“Just for the contractor alone this is going to cost me €79,000,” said Angeline Ruddy, acting deputy principal of a school in Carndonagh in Donegal, who lives in a house that will have to be demolished. “If I went to the bank looking for that they are going to laugh at me because my collateral is a house full of holes that is crumbling.

“I am absolutely disgusted,” she said. “I cannot believe that after all these years trying to get redress, that the government has decided to treat us like this. This is shocking behaviour.

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