Contractor convicted after his work created fire threat at south Dublin home

Dara Griffiths ordered to pay €2,345 after illegally carrying out electrical works

A contractor has received a criminal conviction  over electrical work that threatened a house fire in south Co Dublin. File photograph: Getty Images

A contractor has received a criminal conviction over electrical work that threatened a house fire in south Co Dublin. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The criminal conviction of a contractor over electrical work that threatened a house fire in south Co Dublin should serve as a warning to all unregistered tradesmen carrying out works across the country, a State watchdog has said.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), the State watchdog for electricians and gas installers, made the remarks after Dara Griffiths, of Inspired Homes, Meath Place, Bray, Co Wicklow, was ordered to pay €2,345 after illegally carrying out electrical works in a house in Monkstown in March last year.

The unregistered tradesman is the latest person to be prosecuted as a result of an investigation by the CRU.

The CRU found 16 breaches of the national wiring rules at the property in Monkstown following his work, resulting “in the potential risk of a house fire”.

At a subsequent hearing at Dublin District Court, Judge Timothy Lucey fined Griffiths €500 for the offence of illegally undertaking designated electrical works and awarded costs of €1,845 to the CRU.

Paul McGowan, the watchdog’s commissioner for energy safety, said the conviction should send out “a strong message” to unregistered electrical contractors and customers alike.

“When getting electrical work done in your home always ask your electrician if they are a registered electrical contractor before they commence work,” he said.

“If an electrical contractor does not have the required registration or cannot prove membership of the Safe Electric scheme, consumers should not use them.”

Safe Electric is the statutory regulatory scheme for electrical contractors.

Criminal offence

Since 2013, it is a criminal offence for an unregistered individual or company to carry out certain electrical works or to pass themselves off as registered.

Penalties for non-compliance include a fine of up to €15,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

Last year, the CRU carried out 78 investigations into alleged illegal activity.

There were four successful prosecutions, while the remaining cases remain under investigation or were dropped due to lack of evidence.