I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 59 together.
HomeBond is a private limited company providing structural guarantees for new houses and, since November 2008, the HomeBond insurance scheme has been underwritten by Allianz Insurance. As in the case of any private company , its operations, including how it deals with the management of funds, inspections or claims, are matters for its management and board of directors. In that regard, HomeBond Insurance Services Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and my Department has no function in these matters. The Minister, Deputy Hogan, has put on record his disappointment with the stance adopted by HomeBond by withdrawing in August 2011 cover for home owners for pyrite related damage.
Following receipt of the report of the independent pyrite panel in late June 2012, the Minister has engaged with all of the main stakeholders identified in the report, including HomeBond, to explore options for a resolution to the pyrite problem, including possible funding mechanisms for a remediation scheme. Discussions are now at an advanced stage and are expected to conclude very shortly, with outcomes arrived at on the basis of the pyrite report. The pyrite panel was unambiguous in its view that those with direct and indirect responsibility for the pyrite problem should bear the cost of remediation, and this has been the core of the Minister's discussions with the stakeholders over recent months.
It was considered that sufficient progress had been made to justify the continuation of these contacts for a further short period. However, matters must be concluded very shortly and outcomes must be arrived at on the basis of the report of the pyrite panel in order that the entirely unacceptable position in which affected home owners find themselves can finally begin to be addressed. The Minister has made clear that in the event that stakeholders do not, either individually or collectively, agree a voluntary funding mechanism for a remediation scheme, he will seek Government approval for the imposition of a statutory levy on the construction, quarrying and insurance sectors. He has already announced that he is proceeding with the establishment of a resolution board, as recommended by the independent panel, and final arrangements for its establishment will be made in conjunction with consideration of the final written positions of the stakeholders.