Minister O’Brien establishes Independent Working Group to examine defective housing

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has today [16 February 2021] announced the establishment of an Independent Working Group to examine the issue of defective housing.

Minister O’Brien, who brought a memo to Cabinet today asking Government to note the establishment of the working group, said this was an important step in assisting owners of latent defect properties.

The Programme for Government sets out a range of commitments in respect to housing defects. Among these are a commitment to examine the issue of defective housing in the first twelve months of Government, having regard to the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing report, “Safe as Houses” and to assist owners of latent defect properties by identifying options for those impacted by defects to access low cost, long term finance.

Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “The establishment of this group is a significant step forward in helping those most affected by this awful issue. Just before Christmas I appointed Mr Seamus Neely, former Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, to the position of Chair of the working group and he, along with the rest of the group will get to work finalising a detailed terms of reference so that the working group can begin without delay.

“The main purpose of the working group will be to identify the scope of relevant significant defects in housing, to evaluate the scale of housing affected, to propose a means of prioritising defects, to evaluate the cost of remediation, to recommend appropriate mechanisms for resolving defects and, to consider financing options in line with the Programme for Government commitment to identifying options for those impacted by defects to access low-cost, long-term finance.

“For many years I have been highlighting the plight of homeowners who have been left with the consequences of poor workmanship and/or the supply of defective materials. I have visited homes which have fire safety or structural defects and the worry and stress this causes is immense. Through this working group we hope to begin the process of remedying these issues,” he concluded.