Construction defects: Varadkar signals potential help for apartment owners

Tánaiste responds to Labour leader on the need for financial assistance due to faulty construction

The Dáil heard that up to 44,000 apartments are in the process of being remediated at present. File photograph: iStock

There will have to be Government assistance for people who purchased apartments affected by construction defects, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar was responding to Labour leader Ivana Bacik during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Thursday, who said “up to 80 per cent of apartments built between 1991 and 2013″ may be affected by such defects.

Ms Bacik said a working group on defective homes would be completing a report next week, but her party understood it will find that up to 100,000 apartments have been affected by fire safety and other defects. The Dublin Bay South TD said up to 44,000 apartments are in the process of being remediated at present.

She said the scale of the problem was “immense” with properties in every county in Ireland affected by construction defects, with “a particularly acute problem in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin South-Central, Dublin Bay North and Dublin Fingal”.


Ms Bacik said a full remediation scheme would have to be developed and that she had heard from families and individuals who were “living in fear”.

“There is the fear of debt due to the cost of fixing the defects, but also a fundamental fear about safety in their homes, primarily due to fear of fire because these homes were defectively built,” she added.

Large bills

Mr Varadkar said he was “very familiar” with the issue in his constituency of Dublin West, “where a large number of apartments have defects”.

“People have been sent bills, sometimes for €10,000 and sometimes for as much as €60,000 per apartment, to carry out necessary repairs. The inevitable happens; some people can afford to pay, some cannot afford to pay and some people will not pay,” he said.

“Therefore, the money cannot be raised and the work cannot be carried out, so people are left in a terrible limbo, unable to sell the apartment and they are worried about whether it is even safe for them to continue to live there.”

The Tánaiste said there would need to be a response to assist people “facing large bills as a result of defects in apartments” and that the report from the working group was close to being completed.

“Once we have that report we will be able to give consideration to it,” Mr Varadkar said. “However, the basic principle applies that there will have to be Government assistance for people who, through no fault of their own, purchased apartments that are in buildings where there are defects and those defects need to be repaired.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times