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The following letter was sent today, June 27th to Minister Hogan…a copy was also forwarded to the Pyrite Panel & the Pyrite Action Group…

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Dear Minister Hogan,

I hope this letter finds you well. The Self Build issues within S.I. 9 are still at the forefront of my mind but another issue is also of major concern to me. I would like to draw your attention to the following Newstalk Pyrite podcasts: (please take a few minutes to listen to them!)

http://www.newstalk.ie/player/podcasts/Lunchtime/Highlights_from_Lunchtime/37642/2/I_was_told_in_one_year_it_could_collapse

http://www.newstalk.ie/player/podcasts/Lunchtime/Highlights_from_Lunchtime/37514/2/Donegal_Homes_Crumbling

These Interviews were carried out in November 2013. As self builders, myself & my husband are extremely concerned about the recent Pyrite Cases in Moneymore and I believe a School in Dublin. But I, like many others, thought that this was just a recent ‘one-off’ pertaining to an un-named Quarry in Leinster. This was confirmed when you answered Parliamentary Questions from Mattie McGrath on June 11 – you stated that your Department was made aware of the recent Pyrite cases in early April.

I am now shocked to hear these Newstalk Interviews from last November. I can hear the devastation in the voices of the poor homeowners – their homes may come down ‘within a year’ – this is abysmal. Why did the DOECLG not issue a warning to citizens last November regarding Pyrtie/Mica in the North West? This is like the FSAI knowing that there is poison in a bread factory and letting it continue operating with no warning to the general public – ludicrous! Why all the secrecy surrounding most serious life-altering issues for citizens.

My question to you and your advisors is: What measure in the BC(A)R 2014 (S.I.9) will prevent Pyrite finding its way into new builds in Ireland and protect the consumer if any defect does eventually show up in their home?

I have read through all information and have come up with the conclusion that there is no measure whatsoever that would do this. I would like to know what measure the Assigned Certifier uses to detect Pyrite?

However, the ‘Collins & O’Cofaigh – A Better Way’ system of building control does have safety measures for the consumer and the State, please read here an extract from Mr. O’Cofaigh’s Proposal:

‘It gives the State an additional layer of protection. The Approved Inspector with annually renewed and proven professional indemnity insurance stands between the building defect and the exchequer.’

After the disastrous few years of construction that we have all had to live with in Ireland, I would think that it would be for the benefit of the entire Nation, to have a system of building control that is totally independent of building contractors & developers. S.I. 9 does not protect the consumer as you claim that it does.

I believe the Pyrite Panel had also recommended that a system of Independent Inspectorate would be the only way to go. I am sure the last thing that the Panel want to hear of is yet more Pyrite cases – the worrying events in Donegal last year should have been enough for you to reconsider the BC(A)R 2014 – and to consider another way.

Concerning the self build issue – I do not mean to tell you your duties, but I would like to re-iterate to you, that self building most definitely not continue as before under S.I. 9 – one must be a principal or director of a building company only – until this wording is amended, self builders are halted from commencing their builds, even if they do find an Assigned Certifier ‘hungry’ enough to work with them, it still doesn’t change the fact that they have signed legal documents falsely, which in itself will cause numerous problems in the future.

Minister, the fate of the dwindling construction sector is in your hands, and your hands alone, be the change that we all want to see, be the common sense catalyst that ignites the revival of house building that we all want and need to happen – Ireland must progress – must move with the times. Heed our good friend Mr Shaw (above) – ‘Progress is impossible without change…’ – a simple change of your mind is enough to start the ball rolling to a brighter future for all.

Please could you send me on information on how Pyrite will be prevented from occurring in new builds that are commenced under S.I.9.

Regards to you at this most difficult time in the construction sector,

Amanda Gallagher

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