Defective block scheme cost may impact on Limerick hospital services

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Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath

PUBLIC Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath has been questioned over the fact none of the cost of the government’s revised defective concrete block grant scheme will be recovered from the quarry operators who provided defective blocks.

The issue was raised in the Dáil on Wednesday by Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara who asked Minister McGrath if he was happy that quarries would not be obliged to contribute to the €3 billion fund to remediate homes.

Referring to the level of funding needed to support services at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), Deputy McNamara asked the Minister if he was happy that “the quarries that provided the dodgy materials for profit are going to get away scot-free and that the Exchequer is going to carry all of the cost.

The Minister has to balance that with the cost of providing badly needed funding for University Hospital Limerick, childcare, and many other competing needs. The entire cost will be will be landed on the Exchequer and off we’ll go on our holidays. Does the Minister think this is okay?” Deputy McNamara asked.

In response Minister McGrath said the immediate priority was to  get the scheme up and running, and to ensure that homes can be remediated and rebuilt under a much improved scheme.

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“Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has appointed a senior counsel to examine the issues raised by the Deputy. There has to be accountability in respect of the root cause of this issue. The State will do whatever it takes to pursue anyone responsible for what will end up being a very large cost on the Exchequer.

“The State will explore every avenue to seek recompense in respect of that. In the immediate term, our priority is to get the scheme up and running and get work done on homes. We will pursue that issue to the end,” Minister McGrath added.