Defective apartments: Up to €2.5bn to be allocated to fix Celtic Tiger buildings

Coalition is preparing to sign off on a plan to address defects in up to 100,000 apartments

The Government is preparing to sign off on a scheme costing up to €2.5 billion to address defects in up to 100,000 Celtic Tiger-era apartments but will face further pressure to deliver for thousands of homeowners who have already paid to remediate such issues.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is expected to get Cabinet approval this morning to draft laws enacting the landmark scheme to repair fire safety and other issues in the homes.

Campaigners welcomed the news but warned that the detail of how the scheme, estimated to cost €1.5 billion-€2.5 billion, will operate would be “crucial”. The Construction Defects Alliance said last night that the fact the Government was about to make decisions on addressing apartment defects marked a “major step forward”.

“However, the details of who will be included in the scheme, the level of support being offered by Government – in terms of both the financing and the management of remediation works – will be crucial and we await that detail with considerable interest,” alliance spokesman Pat Montague said.


It is understood that the Cabinet will today make a political commitment to include apartment owners who have already paid to remediate their homes, or where works are under way.

However, with talks continuing between the Department of Housing and officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, details of how the issue of retrospective funding for works will be handled are not expected to be announced until the legislation is drawn up.

Works that begin from tomorrow onwards will be included in the scheme. Meanwhile, interim measures – such as sprinkler systems, fire wardens or alarms – are also expected to be funded by the State. Under the plans due to be considered by Ministers, the Housing Agency would be given responsibility for handling the scheme.

The scheme will fund owners’ management companies (OMCs) – the corporate entities comprised of apartment owners that are responsible for managing blocks – to carry out remediation works on the basis that an entire building is repaired at the same time, including individual apartments and common areas.

The scheme is expected to be rolled out on a “worst first” basis, sources said, with the most seriously defective and dangerous apartments prioritised for repairs.

The Cabinet will meet today ahead of the resumption of the Dáil following the Christmas recess. A rare show of political unity is expected from the Opposition benches to press Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe to explain discrepancies in his 2016 general election expenses. The Minister is due to make a statement to the House on the matter this evening.

Sinn Féin whip Pádraig Mac Lochlainn had contacted all Opposition whips yesterday and got agreement to send a joint letter to the Ceann Comhairle and the Dáil business committee requesting that Mr Donohoe make a statement at the earliest possibly opportunity and answer questions about omissions in the disclosure he made to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

Mr Donohoe admitted at the weekend that he had not included expenses worth €1,057 in since-amended regulatory filings.

The Opposition parties are expected to focus on the sums paid to the workers involved and to argue that these are below the “commercial value” of such work in the open market. They contend that the Electoral Acts are quite strict on such matters and argue that the sum attributed for the work should have been higher.

The Cabinet will also consider plans to install high-powered electric vehicle chargers along the State’s main road networks in an attempt to encourage more people to switch from diesel and petrol vehicles to more environmentally friendly options.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times