Figures showing the true cost of rebuilding homes built with faulty blocks that ‘collapsing like Weetabix’ could end the ‘torture’ for thousands of homeowners affected by Ireland’s Mica building scandal, have said activists.
They gave a cautious welcome to a government-commissioned report which they say more accurately reflects reconstruction costs. If passed by the government as planned, it would significantly increase the €2.2bn (£1.8bn) compensation scheme unveiled last December.
The housing minister ordered the independent report after his initial bid was heavily criticized for the shortfall it would leave landlords.
‘All we did was ask them to find a fair number,’ said campaigner Paddy Diver, who claimed that behind closed doors Irish Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien agreed that the old program be abandoned.
“It’s not brilliant, the numbers are accurate, but they’re definitely achievable for families,” Diver said. “The minister seems to be doing the right thing for the people here despite opposition from within government. He gets a lot of heat, but we just hope he’s a man of his word and accepts the new numbers. He said he would, so we expect that.
The original program offered a sliding scale of compensation with €145 per square foot for the first 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) and a lower amount for anything beyond that.
The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) has now submitted direct reconstruction costs after looking at eight types of houses affected by the scandal. He concluded that costs ranged from €150,000 for a two-bedroom estate house to €421,000 for a five-bedroom rural house on two floors.
But he warned in his report submitted to the government on Thursday that the costs did not include storage, septic tanks, boundary walls and fencing or outbuildings.
An estimated 7,500 homes, mostly in Donegal and Mayo, have been identified as affected by the mica scandal, in which walls inside and outside new homes crumbled to the touch.
Last year, Angela Ruddy, the acting deputy principal of a school in Cardonagh, on Donegal’s Inishowen peninsula, said she was “absolutely disgusted” with the curriculum unveiled in December, which it said she would leave him a bill for €79,000.