The cost to the State of repairing 1,000 private homes damaged by the presence of pyrite in their foundations has risen to just under €70 million, with at least 600 more homes scheduled for work.
The pyrite remediation scheme was set up in 2013 to address structural damage arising from “pyritic heave”, where the presence of the mineral in the foundations has caused subsidence and cracks in homes.
More than 10,000 homes completed between January 1997 and December 2013 in Dublin, as well as in Meath, Kildare and Offaly have been affected by pyrite.
New figures from the Pyrite Resolution Board show that at the end of March more than 2,000 applications had been received under the scheme and 1,600 dwellings have so far been approved for repairs. To date 1,003 homeowners have had the work completed and have moved back into their homes.
The average cost of the work has been €70,000 per dwelling, but the board said, there can be significant variation in costs, with one-off houses, generally having larger ground-floor areas, being the most expensive . To date, €68.3 million has been spent by the State on repairs.
The majority of the repairs have been undertaken in the Fingal area of Dublin, where work on 666 homes has been completed. The next largest group of homes is in Meath, where there have been 268 repairs. Far smaller numbers have been repaired in Offaly (21), Kildare (19), Dublin city (16), south Dublin (10) and Dún Laoghaire (3).
Minister of State for Housing Damien English said an additional 430 homes would be remediated this year. "To reach 1,000 properties is a significant milestone for us. We understand that there's still plenty of work to do but this shows we are delivering for the participants in the scheme," he said.
However, a campaign group of home-owners effected by pyrite said progress has been too slow. “A conservative estimate puts the number of houses affected by pyrite in the greater Dublin area at 10,000. In five years they’ve fixed 1,000, so at that rate it will be 50 years before they have been fully addressed,” Barry May of the Pyrite Equality Group said.
He says many home-owners have been left with unsellable properties, because although their houses are known to have pyrite in their foundations, the scheme is only available to those whose properties have sustained significant damage as a result.
“It means the vast majority of owners affected by pyrite are left in limbo,” Mr May said.
The Department of Housing said it had no plans to amend the scheme’s eligibility criteria.