New regulations next year to prevent carbon monoxide leaks, Seanad told

Minister of State John Paul Phelan pledges ring-fenced funding for local authorities

The first sitting of Seanad Éireann in its temporary location in the Ceramics Room of the National Museum of Ireland. Photograph: Maxwells

The first sitting of Seanad Éireann in its temporary location in the Ceramics Room of the National Museum of Ireland. Photograph: Maxwells

 

More efficient and transparent regulations to prevent carbon monoxide leaks are to be introduced next year, Minister of State for Local Government John Paul Phelan told the Seanad on Tuesday.

He said there would be specific ring-fenced funding for local authorities carrying out the inspections.

“Anecdotal evidence from local authority inspectorates to date indicates that landlords, generally, have been proactive in fitting carbon monoxide detection devices in their rental properties,’’ Mr Phelan added.

The Minister was replying to Mayo Fianna Fáil senator Dr Keith Swanick in the House’s first day sitting in the National Museum.

Senators have moved there temporarily to allow for repair work to be carried out in the Seanad chamber in Leinster House.

Dr Swanick said he was increasingly concerned about landlords across the rental sector who were failing to carry out the servicing of oil and gas boilers.

He said all heat-producing appliances that emit carbon monoxide needed to be serviced annually.

“According to the HSE, an average of six people die unnecessarily from carbon monoxide poisoning each year, and countless more present to their GPs and other health professionals with other symptoms from carbon monoxide poisoning, such as nausea, headaches, breathlessness and vomiting,’’ Dr Swanick added.

Mr Phelan said the presence of carbon monoxide in the home was recognised as a critical health and safety risk for households.

This was why it was included as one of the new measures introduced under the revised minimum standards for rental accommodation this year, he added.

He said more than €32 million had been paid to local authorities since 2004 to assist them in the performance of their functions under the housing acts, including the inspection of rented accommodation.

Since then, said Mr Phelan, more than 185,000 inspections had been carried out.

He said the maximum fine for non-compliance with regulations was €5,000 and a daily fine of €400 if the offence continued.