Pyrite found in Dún Laoghaire and south Dublin homes

Minister for Environment confirms discovery of mineral that can damage buildings

Pyrite, a mineral which can cause severe structural damage to buildings, has been discovered in homes in Dún Laoghaire and south Dublin.

Minister of State for the Environment Paudie Coffey said details had emerged of "significant pyritic damage" arising from the presence of the mineral in the foundation materials of homes in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin County Council areas. The presence of pyrite can result in severe subsidence and cracks in buildings.

Pyrite remediation scheme

The areas will now be included in the pyrite remediation scheme, the €10 million State-funded redress scheme set up to fund the repair of damaged homes. The scheme had been restricted to homes in Dublin City, Fingal, and Co Kildare, Meath and Offaly.

“The inclusion of these areas into the scheme will now provide access to reasonable and sustainable solutions for those homeowners who have no other practicable options for redress,” Mr Coffey said.

Since it became operational last February, 630 applications have been made to the scheme, 485 applications have been assessed as meeting the eligibility criteria and 300 have been approved for inclusion in the scheme.

Just five houses have so far been remediated, under a pilot project in the Fingal County Council area. €1.1 million has so far been spent from the fund, but not exclusively on the five Fingal homes.

So far fewer than 20 homeowners have come forward from the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin County Council areas for inclusion in the scheme, but chairman of the Pyrite Resolution Board John O'Connor said more applications could be made.

“These are just the numbers so far. The problem doesn’t manifest itself as soon as something is built, it arises over time, so we can’t say how many applications will be made.”

However, Mr O’Connor said previous estimates that some 10,000 homes would come under the scheme had been wide of the mark.

“Wild figures were thrown around . . . We have had 630 applications made to us, I don’t think this is a problem that’s going to run wild.”

The board will appear before an Oireachtas environment committee next week.