Limerick families want full redress for defective building blocks

Ann and Kieran Ryan whose home in Askeaton was built with defective blocks.

FAMILIES  in Limerick whose homes have been destroyed by mica and pyrite are concerned that the government’s compensation scheme to help repair damaged homes will not meet the entire costs, and have reiterated their calls for full redress.

One such couple, Kieran Ryan, (60), and his wife Anne, (58), from Askeaton, said that while they welcome the government’s plan to fund some of the costs associated with replacing defective blocks, they will not be able to meet any outstanding costs.

The Ryans said a number of structural engineers have told them that their home, which began crumbling in 2011 due to pyrite in the block work, needs to be demolished and rebuilt.

Around 1,300 homes hit by mica and pyrite in Limerick and Clare have been included in the State-funded defective blocks compensation scheme, which is being capped at €420,000.

However, the Ryans believe that this will not meet rising construction costs and will leave  homeowners in massive debt.

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Kieran Ryan said: “We’re a long time waiting for Limerick to be included in the scheme, but they are capping us at €420,000, they’re offering up to €165 a square foot, but any builder won’t give a quotation of less than €195.”

“If you add up the square footage of the house, upstairs and downstairs here, we are going to be out of a whole pile of money at the end of the day, and who is going to come up with the rest of it — it’s either 100 per cent or nothing.”

“It’s great to get Limerick and Clare into it, that’s half a battle won. All we’re looking for back is whatever is here, nothing modern, whatever is here, that’s all we want, to just replace like for like.

“We are waiting ten years. This started after the hard frost in 2010. The house started cracking after that, when the frost went to minus 16 degrees.

“The house is a nightmare now, it’s cracked all on the inside, in the corners, and all across the ceilings, along the west wall, all up along the bedroom walls, and all of the outside walls are badly cracked.

“The rain comes into the house, in on top of the windows. I’ve sealed it up a bit but when we have heavy rain in from the west, it still flies in on top of the window board.

“The roof is still on it but for how long more I don’t know. It’s a worry. The blocks are just crumbling away, and there is no other answer for it, only to knock the house.

“A couple of engineers told me the house needs to be knocked, and one even told me we shouldn’t be living in it. I would say there is a long road ahead of us.

“Say, for example, you have a new roof  and the windows are in, and the next thing the money runs out for everything else. Who is going to come up with the money?

“It’s a nightmare and, at my age, I’m not going to take out a mortgage again, and why should I.”

Limerick Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, who is offering support the Ryan family, said the government grant aid has “come as great relief to residents in addressing the defective concrete blocks in their homes”.

He pledged to “consider all aspects of same as it applies to Limerick households affected by defective concrete blocks”.