Pyrite housing settlement outlined


Some 670 damaged houses on estates in north Dublin are to be repaired as a result of the €25.5 million trust fund created under the final settlement of the lengthy court action by Menolly Homes over allegedly defective pyrite infill, the High Court has heard.

While most affected home-owners have agreed to participate in the settlement, a number are expected to pursue legal actions over damage to their homes.

Under the settlement, Brian O'Moore SC, for Menolly, told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan today the claims against defendant companies in the Lagan group were being withdrawn and the allegations by his client against those defendants were all withdrawn on instructions they were unlikely to succeed.

Counsel said the claims against five individual directors of the Lagan companies were also to be struck out, with liberty to re-enter for the purpose of enforcing the settlement, and a range of costs orders vacated.

Mr Justice Gilligan made those and several other final orders in the 155 day case today, thanked all those involved including Turlough O'Donnell SC, the mediator between the sides, and two special advisers to the court, and said the parties were "well-advised" to reach the settlement.

He added he "very deeply appreciated" the tributes paid by counsel to his handling of the case, which ran for some two-and-a-half years in the Commercial Court.

Mr O'Moore said the orders made by the court terminated the proceedings which, he noted, had been described as "the heaviest piece of construction litigation in the world".

He said the settlement had produced "a satisfactory result for the persons most affected, the homeowners". The end result was some 670 homes had benefitted from the court's stewardship of the proceedings, he said.

Of 550 houses on three estates, 519 had subscribed to the settlement while 152 out of 153 houses in another developments were also to be remediated, counsel said. Some homeowners did not wish to avail of the settlement, he added.

Counsel said the judge's mastery of the "often impenetrable and difficult" detail of this complex litigation was "striking" and his clients were grateful for the judge's "fairness, insight and patience" in relation to the "occasional turbulent events" during the hearing.

Counsel for the other parties to the proceedings also thanked the judge and said they were consenting to the orders sought.

Previously, the court heard the formation of the trust fund was dependent on the agreement of 85 per cent of homeowners who have sued over damage to their properties. More than 90 per cent had agreed to the fund.

Menolly Homes, now a client of Nama, and associated companies had brought the case against Irish Asphalt Ltd, part of the Lagan group and various other Lagan defendants. It claimed structural defects in houses in four Dublin estates were caused by defective pyrite infill.

The claims were denied, and the defendants had alleged faulty construction was responsible for the defects.

A settlement was reached by the two companies through mediation in November without admission of liability. Under the settlement, homeowners will get up to €3,000 for new floor coverings, €3,000 for legal costs, €2,000 for alternative accommodation while work is being carried out and €2,000 compensation for inconvenience caused.