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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 6 Jul 2022

Vol. 1025 No. 1

Remediation of Dwellings Damaged By the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

SECTION 2
Debate resumed on amendment No. 7:
In page 6, to delete line 24 and substitute the following:
“ “dwelling” means any property prescribed as such by the Minister by way of regulations;”.
-(Deputy Eoin Ó Broin)
Amendment put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 8, in the name of Deputy Thomas Pringle, has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 8 not moved.

Amendment No. 9 has been tabled by Deputies Cian O’Callaghan, Eoin Ó Broin, Rose Conway-Walsh, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Pearse Doherty, Thomas Pringle and Marian Harkin.

I move amendment No. 9:

In page 6, between lines 24 and 25, to insert the following:

“ “foundations” means the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level;”.

The Minister finished off with respect to foundations. The problem is that the NSAI will not conclude that work until the first or second quarter of next year. That is assuming it meets the deadline for its research on foundations. In the meantime, this scheme will open. People will apply, if this Bill passes unamended, as outlined in the scheme. An engineer appointed by the Housing Agency will go into the home. That engineer will not be allowed to test the foundations, even if, in his or her professional opinion, it appears that core testing is required. That makes no sense whatsoever. Many homes will not need foundations to be tested, but the idea that there would not be a simple provision in this Bill to allow a qualified engineer, on foot of a visual inspection, to include core testing of foundations seems bizarre to me. The difficulty is that we do not know when the NSAI will come back to report. We do not know how long it will take officials to draft regulations. Even if the NSAI reports by the second quarter of next year, it could be another quarter before those regulations are complete. This scheme could be open for a year and families who have problems with their foundations in the affected counties could be left for a year. Even though it is visually clear that there is a problem, nobody can do anything. For the life of me, I cannot understand why it is not included in the Bill.

The Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage sent the Minister a letter yesterday. One concern for our committee is the exclusion of foundations from the Bill. When many of the Minister's party colleagues spoke on Second Stage last week, they raised this issue. I simply do not understand why he cannot table a Report Stage or Committee Stage amendment in the Seanad to deal with this issue. I urge him to do so.

It can be done now and then let the National Standards Authority of Ireland, NSAI, and the departmental officials do the work on their regulations separately next year.

To be frank, there is a strong suspicion that the reason the Minister has not ensured that testing of foundations would be provided for in this legislation, is that if a homeowner clears out the foundation and the blocks, and completely clears out the site, and seeks to rebuild again, that the house would be rebuilt to modern standards. The view is that the Minister would be denying people. In my Second Stage speech I spoke of the famous "gimlet eye" - as referred to by former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. This mindset is that you would deny people the ability to build a house, God forbid, with triple glazing and modern energy efficiency standards. Again, it is about penny-pinching. We know what penny-pinching did with the last scheme. It ended up costing the taxpayer a fortune of money because the Government got it so badly wrong. This is why we asked for a lengthy period of scrutiny in the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, to try to make sure the Government gets this right so it does not have to revisit the scheme and cost the taxpayer even more money by its folly.

The issue around the foundations is crucial. Deputy Ó Broin is right. I believe that the NSAI panel got it wrong with IS 465. The panel did not allow for the testing of foundations. They did not allow for the testing for pyrrhotite, which is emerging as the main offender now, with other deleterious materials. The problem is that they got it wrong with IS 465. The people who got it wrong are now reviewing their own mistakes. There does not appear to be any international peer review and there is no deadline. The Minister is going to roll out legislation that is really flawed. The appeal from Deputy Ó Broin, and I am sure from all colleagues here, is to include and provide for foundations now. We know of the phrase, "If in doubt, leave it out". If there is any doubt about the foundations, do not make people build houses on dodgy foundations.

This points to the problem with the Bill and flags up the issue that it must be all-inclusive and cover all of the requirements. There is no doubt that if the materials used in making the blocks are the same materials that were used in making the foundations, then that is reality of the situation. If the blocks are dodgy then the foundations could be dodgy as well, and that needs to be looked at also. The time to look at it is when the building is being assessed in the first place. For this reason, I am fully supportive of this amendment.

Like the previous speaker, I question whether the State is going to get value for money, to the extent that it is going to expend money. Of course, the affected homeowners are going to have to add to the money if they can and if they cannot, I do not what they are going to do because of this ban on downsizing. How is the scheme going to result in value for money if this money is expended on a house that has dodgy foundations and is liable to further crumbling and further subsidence? It strikes me as very skewed logic.

I have already asked how the Minister's Department and the State will save money by banning downsizing. I am still waiting for an answer. I appreciate that the Minister's time is limited. It is the Minister's side of the House that decided to limit the time here, not us. It was the Government side that said two hours would do for this debate, but God knows why. The Minister might explain why. I presume the decision was not made without the Minister's knowledge or that of the Chief Whip. It is the Minister's Bill after all. I presume the Chief Whip asked how long is necessary to debate this Stage and the Minister said "Two hours, and we will ram it through, sure they won't know the difference, and maybe the people affected will not know for years, and sure we will have the election, it will have come and gone and nobody will be any the wiser."

I want to know specifically how the Minister is saving money by banning people from downsizing. The amount of money they are getting is set elsewhere in the Bill. Once it is agreed how much money people are getting and they spend that money, what is wrong with that? How could this cost the State more money than if people were to build the house to the same size as the previous one? The only difference is by how much the unfortunate homeowner is going to have to augment the rebuild cost. Will the Minister explain how that is saving money?

I will simplify it for the Minister. When I was a child I had child-size shoes. That was to do with my size and my weight load. Now I am a big boy and I have adult shoes. I have big foundations so I need big shoes. When you consider a house built in the 1980s and 1990s and the foundation structure that was put in at the time, it was based on the roof structure, which was lighter timber than that used today. This means that today, with heavier timbers and a heavier roof structure, if you have a trussed roof you do not need central support but if you have a cut roof then you need central support. The Bill would mean heavier timbers and heavier weight structures going down onto a foundation that was designed many years ago to take a lighter house. Today, you cannot build that lighter house because regulations have changed. Previously, you had 7 inch by 2 inch beams on the first floor, but now you have 9 inch by 2 inch, at a minimum, with a maximum of 4 m in width. Years ago, they were allowed to go to a width of 5.5 m. Now the regulations state that you cannot go wider than 4 m. This means that extra timber is required, resulting in extra weight on the foundations. This extra weight is proposed to be on top of foundations that were built in the 1980s. I put it to the Minister that he must stop wasting money with the NSAI. All foundations are different. Homeowners with affected foundations must be given the option of taking them out and putting them back in. That is all we are asking. It is common sense and it will save money. Every foundation in the country is different, the same way that every person in this country is different. People have different weights so they get proper shoes to carry their weight. The Minister's proposals do not make sense. We need to stop wasting time and stop wasting money. We must put foundations into the redress scheme now and stop going around in circles by wasting money on engineers' fees to look at different foundations. Every house is different, the regulations are different and the weight loads are different. Let us have a bit of common sense.

The foundations are an absolutely integral part of the scheme. The homeowners that are here today from Mayo know this. They can tell us that the foundations are not fit for purpose in some cases. Will the Minister please just allow the flexibility there with the applications within the system, so that homeowners watching this will know they can make an application and if the foundations need to be replaced, they will have them replaced. Who is going to sign off on the scheme? If an engineer knows that the foundations are not fit to rebuild on, who is going to sign off on it and who will insure that building?

I want to add my support and that of my party to this amendment. I am minded that we who are privileged to be elected to this House are messengers of the people. This is not our amendment. This is not my amendment, and while my name and those of Deputies Ó Broin, Conway-Walsh, Mac Lochlainn, along with other colleagues are on it, this is the people's amendment. These 80 amendments come from the people. Not only do they come from the people, they come from the people who are most affected as a result of this. They come from the people who have campaigned for this for more than ten years and who, time and again, have shown that the schemes and solutions being put forward by the Department, by the officials and by the Minister are flawed or defective, just as are the concrete blocks that make up their homes. This is the reality. Even though tonight the Minister and the Government lost its numerical majority, in reality this Government had lost the support of the people over a long period of time. Change is happening, about which I have no doubt, and especially given the way the Government is ramming this Bill through. As was said in a statement that was read into the record by Deputy Ó Broin, these families and this campaign will go on. Change will happen. The Government may be able to whip people into it by getting Green Party supporters and the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Party supporters to ram this through tonight, but change is happening. These 80 amendments will be given effect because people will not give up until they get this right. This amendment makes sense.

There is no-one in this House who would use the money in his or her pocket to build a house where there was a suspicion that the foundations it was being built on were defective, and especially foundations that were created with the same aggregate material that went into the blocks that were proven to be defective. People could see with their own eyes the cracks in the walls. They could feel with their own fingers the blocks crumbling in their own hands. The Minister would not do it. I would not do it. We should not be asking the homeowners of Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Limerick or anywhere else to do it. This amendment makes sense. The Minister's legislation is defective. The Minister needs to see sense and do the right thing. The Minister needs to make sure that foundations are included in the redress. I will make other points later on, but we need to get to voting on some of these amendments.

I will respond specifically on amendment No. 9. I want to make sure that people are aware that the Housing Agency will look at foundations and particularly the foundations of homes that have been proven to have pyrrhotite in the block. That work is under way and will be under way by the NSAI, to test scientifically should there be an issue with the foundations.

I said this clearly on Second Stage. I outlined that and people know that should the instance occur that there is an issue with this material, namely, pyrrhotite and that it is present in the foundations and that this is an issue, then we will include it in the scheme. We need to base decisions such as this on scientific evidence, however. We saw at the hearings of the Oireachtas joint committee that there were conflicting views on this issue, and rightly so. Deputies all the way across have been calling for the Government to ensure that the resources we use are targeted absolutely in the right place. I agree with that. Who would state we should not test this material scientifically to find out if the issue is prevalent, how prevalent it is and whether it affects the foundations? I have stated clearly that if that is the case, we will include foundations in the scheme. The NSAI is carrying out that work. The Housing Agency will test and take the materials from the foundations. To repeat, if it is the case, and it is “if” because we do not know that yet, foundations will be included in the scheme. There are very strong views. Some have views that pyrrhotite, in particular in the infill, is a problem. If that transpires to be the case, the scheme will be amended to include it.

To try to put in legislation now something that is not based on scientific fact yet and that we do not yet know would do a disservice to the scheme itself and the legislation. However, I am giving that commitment very clearly. I gave it on Second Stage and I am giving it here again. We are undertaking the work to get independent scientific advice and research on this matter to see if there is a problem. If it is the case that there is a problem with pyrrhotite, particularly in the foundations and infill – that is an “if” because neither I nor anyone here can say that with any degree of certainty and we such certainly – foundations will be included and we will amend the scheme to do that. Therefore, I will not accept this amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 10:

In page 7, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:

“ “standards assessment and compliance report” has the meaning given to it by section 41;”.

I will not address the amendment because it stands for itself. I want to move on so that we can get through these as quickly as possible to actually get to the ones that the mica people put forward themselves in order that they can be debated.

I will respond to the amendment the Deputy has tabled. It proposes to add a new definition in section 2 in respect of a “standards assessment and compliance report” and insert the requirements in respect of the said report in section 41. The report would require the Minister to publish a report confirming the amendment of various standards in full compliance with others. It is not possible to commit to publishing a report confirming such matters when the research and reviews that are needed to be in a position to confirm them have been completed yet or may not, when completed, be in position to confirm them as required. Basically, this is premature until the work that is under way has concluded. However, the Deputy can be assured that when that work is concluded, every Member of this House will be made aware of the outcome. I cannot accept amendment No. 10.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 2 agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
NEW SECTION

I move amendment No. 11:

In page 7, between lines 25 and 26, to insert the following:

Reports

4. The Minister may within a year of the commencement of this Act, commission and publish reports on the following matters:

(a) the enforcement of construction product surveillance in the construction industry and measures taken to strengthen such enforcement to ensure full compliance with all relevant standards and regulations;

(b) the enforcement of all relevant construction industry and environmental standards in quarries supplying aggregate and other materials into the manufacture of construction products and measures taken to strengthen such enforcement and compliance;

(c) the raising of a levy on quarries, block manufacturers, building suppliers, construction companies, non-life insurance providers and pillar banks or any other such measures aimed at ensuring appropriate financial contributions from relevant industries to the ongoing costs of defective block and other deleterious material defect remediation;

(d) legal challenges and, or public enquiries into the causes of the defective block and related deleterious material scandal and those responsible for that scandal.”.

I propose to withdraw the amendment and have it reintroduced in the Seanad.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 4 agreed to.
SECTION 5
Amendments Nos. 12 and 13 not moved.

Amendment No. 14 has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 14 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 15 to 18, inclusive, 65, 66, 83, 98 and 113 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 15:

In page 8, to delete lines 34 to 37 and substitute the following:

“(11) For the purposes of making a recommendation, the Housing Agency shall consult with—

(a) the local authority which made the request, and

(b) affected homeowners’ representative groups, including nominated competent building professionals (as defined in Part 2 of this Act) and/or academic professionals with expertise in the fields of geology and materials science (of the homeowners’ choice), from the administrative area of the local authority which made the request, and

(c) such other persons as it considers appropriate.”.

I withdraw this amendment and intend to do the same for all the other amendments in this group. I can have them brought back in the Seanad.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 16 to 18, inclusive, not moved.

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 9, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:

“(16) The Minister shall request the National Standards Authority of Ireland to complete the review of I.S. 465:2018, in a timely manner and as far as is possible to ensure that that review is completed in time for the opening of the Defective Concrete Block Scheme as provided for in this Act.”.

The Minister and his officials explained both at the special hearings of the committee and on Second Stage that the NSAI had been asked to undertake a more comprehensive review of industry standard, IS 465, which underpins the current scheme. We are all in support of that and want that to happen as quickly as possible. There is a genuine problem here, which is that we were informed by the Minister’s officials at the Oireachtas committee hearings two Thursdays ago that the NSAI review of IS 465 is delayed. It might not happen and it might not be concluded until the latter end of next year. Again, that means if they meet that deadline, and assuming the officials take a period of time to get the regulations right, it could be the latter end of next year or early 2024 before any change with respect to pyrrhotite in particular but also potentially foundations and other matters. Again, that makes no sense.

I fully accept the NSAI is independent and one cannot interfere with its work. I am asking the Minister to try to do everything he can to ensure that it completes that work in as far as is possible in parallel with the commencement and opening of this scheme. That is the ideal for the homeowners in resolving many of the issues we raised here. I am appealing to the Minister to use his good offices through this amendment to ensure that the reviews of IS 465 and the regulations are expedited as a matter of urgency and, in preference, in parallel with the opening of this scheme.

I referred to this in my earlier comments. I just cannot emphasis strongly enough that it is madness to put forward, as the Minister said, billions of taxpayers’ money and base it on what is a flawed standard , namely, IS 465. Already there have been tests carried out by Petrolab in Britain. There have been examinations by Dr. Andreas Leeman, who is a highly respected international expert. There is absolute clear scientific evidence that IS 465 is not up to the standard required to invest billions of taxpayers’ money. Why on earth would the Minister start this scheme without making sure that we have clear feedback from the NSAI in terms of the review that the Minister has given it the terms of reference for?

The other point is that the NSAI, as confirmed to me in recent days, has exactly the same panel, including strong industry input from the construction and concrete industry. The very people who designed IS 465 are the people who created this disaster. Let me repeat that for the record. The very people who are advising the NSAI on IS 465 and this review are the people who created this disaster for thousands of families around this country. They should be taken off from that review immediately. Anybody involved in the construction or concrete industry should not provide input to that review. There are plenty of international experts who can do that. There are plenty of laboratories around the world and there is plenty of international best practice. I ask the Minister to urgently intervene with this review and make sure that the people who are doing it are actual experts independent of the industry and it based on best international practice, before he goes spending billions of taxpayers’ money.

All the families in the Gallery are asking for is for this to be done prudently and sensibly, based on up-to-date international practice and science. I ask the Minister to support the amendment.

I concur with all the other speakers. IS 465 is out of date and needs to be updated. The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage had specialists on pyrite, which is more than what the Department had. Specialists understand pyrite and understand the regulations. IS 465 is like putting the cart before the horse. We need to get this right. It needs to be up to date. Fully independent people, experts in their field and outside of the NSAI, need to do the review.

I welcome all the people who have travelled to be in the Gallery tonight. I support the amendment. The Bill is rushed and half-baked. If the fox is minding the henhouse, we can only expect to get dead hens in the morning and no eggs or maybe an odd glugger the fox would not eat. I support the amendment and I support my colleague, Deputy O'Donoghue, who is a member of the committee. The Minister should listen to the experts. He might say experts are experts, but above all they must be independent of the Construction Industry Federation and any of the quarry people. We cannot fix the problem if there is an elephant in the room. I also support the amendment.

I fully support the amendment. The committee showed that IS 465 is not fit for purpose. The mica people had experts there who were worldwide experts on pyrrhotite and other things. Their input could have been listened to and taken on board. IS 465 could be amended to make it worthwhile and fit for purpose. I ask the Minister even at this late stage to consider that because it is vital and goes to the crux of whether the Bill will work.

The list of people on the NSAI review group of industry standard 465 reads like a who's who of the industry. I question whether there is sufficient independence in that. What measures are in place to ensure they are sufficiently independent and not tied in with many of those industry representatives in the group? Where are the measures to ensure sufficient international experience and expertise is giving input to that group?

At the committee hearings, one of the most eminent and respected experts on pyrite and deleterious materials, Mr. Paul Forde, presented to the committee and did a really good job as chair of the expert group. He was very clearly of the view that an independent review and a scientific study of the material needed to be done. By the way, he had another view on foundations that was contrary to what some other experts proposed. This work needs to be done urgently.

Deputies have asked the question and of course we have impressed upon the NSAI the absolute importance of carrying out this review scientific study as quickly as humanly possible and that it would be done in the right way. It is absolutely a priority for that to be done. The Deputies who tabled the amendment, Deputies Ó Broin, Conway-Walsh, Cian O'Callaghan, Doherty, Pringle and Harkin, can be assured that we are in regular contact with the NSAI. I expect that people of international standing will be feeding into this process. Some of them are people in this jurisdiction, including Mr. Paul Forde who has done an excellent job in chairing the expert group throughout. I will be keeping in regular contact with the NSAI to conclude that review as speedily as possible. We also need it done properly. Deputies have mentioned the timeframe and it is likely to take until 2023. Let us consider how long we have waited for an enhanced scheme. We have been working on this element of the scheme from the review which I sought back in June 2020 and residents have been dealing with these issues for years. Of course, we want to get it right. This scheme provided for in this legislation is the basis to do that. If Deputies are saying that we need to delay the passing of legislation and the implementation of the scheme and putting the parameters of the scheme in place, the Housing Agency's involvement in that, the testing and all the other things we need to do, to wait for an independent body that I have no control over as to exactly how and when they do their work or when they are going to report-----

That is not what the amendment says.

Please Deputy, let the Minister speak. I will call you when the Minister has finished.

I read the amendment. When an amendment includes the words "as far as is possible", it leaves it open to interpretation. What is as far as possible? I am explaining where we are at. This review is important. It will be based on scientific research done independently. I reiterate that should problems or issues be found within it, we will amend the scheme accordingly. Everyone would say that such decisions need to be based on scientific evidence and that is what we will do.

The amendment would require me, as Minister, to request the NSAI to ensure the review of IS 465 is completed in time for the opening of the defective concrete block scheme, as provided for in the Bill. My Department has been and continues to be in consultation with the NSAI on the review of IS 465. While the review has begun, the NSAI has confirmed that the research necessary to inform the review will take some time. I think that is understood by most. I do not think any Deputies want to delay the commencement of the enhanced grant scheme, given that homeowners want to and need to press on with their applications and make preparation for the remediation works that are necessary.

We did not get to respond to that one but as I advised earlier, section 51(2) of the Bill makes provision for review at within three months of any review of IS 465 by the NSAI. I can assure Deputies that under no circumstances will that be delayed. A report of its findings and conclusions will be provided to both Houses of the Oireachtas. I genuinely believe we need to move on with the establishment of the scheme. The review will take place and is taking place in parallel. I will keep the House informed on it.

Amendment put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 73; Staon, 0.

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Cairns, Holly.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.

Níl

  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Rose Conway-Walsh; Níl, Deputies Jack Chambers and Brendan Griffin.
Amendment declared lost.
Sections 5 agreed to.
Section 6 agreed to.
SECTION 7
Amendment No. 20 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 21 to 24, inclusive, have been ruled out of order.

Amendments Nos. 21 to 24, inclusive, not moved.
Section 7 agreed to.
SECTION 8
Amendments Nos. 25 and 26 not moved.

Amendment No. 27 is in the names of Deputies O'Donoghue, Michael Collins, Danny Healy Rae, Michael Healy Rae, Mattie McGrath and Nolan.

I move amendment No. 27:

In page 11, line 26, after “home,” to insert “voluntary community housing,”.

We will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment No. 28, in the name of Deputy Pringle, has been ruled out of order.

Amendment No. 28 not moved.
Section 8 agreed to.
SECTION 9

Amendments Nos. 29 to 36, inclusive, have been ruled out of order.

Amendments Nos. 29 to 36, inclusive, not moved.
Section 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10

Amendment No. 37 to 48, inclusive, have been ruled out of order.

Amendments Nos. 37 to 48, inclusive, not moved.
Section 10 agreed to.
SECTION 11

Amendments Nos. 49 to 51, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together. I call Deputy Cian O’Callaghan to move amendment No. 49 and to address it and the other amendments in the group.

I move amendment No. 49:

In page 14, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

“(1) The Minister shall request an updated Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland report on construction costs for the Defective Concrete Block Grant Scheme in advance of the opening of the scheme, based on appropriate regional or county-based costings. The Minister may also amend the terms of reference for this report to take account of the varying costs for replacing or remediating smaller homes, bungalow and dormer bungalows, and to include other affected works such as boundary walls and attached garages.”.

I will speak briefly on amendment No. 49. This is an important amendment. When the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, SCSI, was before the joint committee, it made it clear that it was happy and willing to do this work. It was also clear that it would like to be asked to do it quickly and to be given notice in that regard by the Minister. I ask that the Minister accept the amendment and give notice, because this work is required to be done as quickly as possible.

I call Deputy Pringle. He will be followed by Deputy Ó Broin.

This amendment is vital to anyone who supports Deputy Cian O’Callaghan in what he said. The Minister stated earlier, in response to a previous amendment, that while he cannot instruct, he can ask. That is something we should be doing. It is vitally important to make sure that the scheme is fit for purpose. In that context, the Minister should ask that a report be provided as quickly as possible.

Amendments Nos. 50 and 51 relate to the timelines in which things are meant to happen. Their purpose is to reduce the timelines from 12 months to six.

The Minister made a claim that this scheme will provide 100% redress for homeowners. That is not true on the basis of the current framing of the scheme. That is the case because the costings underpinning the scheme, on the basis of the legislation in front of us, were made by the SCSI in January, and the terms of reference were made by the Minister and the Department, not the SCSI. Unless this amendment is passed and unless the Minister requests the SCSI to update those costings in advance of the opening of the enhanced scheme and revises the terms of reference and includes the option of foundations, then when the scheme opens, what will be on offer will be very far from 100% redress.

A concrete example was given to the joint committee by Ms Martina Hegarty from the North Mayo Pyrite Group when she described a very modest-sized 90 sq. m home. She outlined how, on the basis of the current costings from the SCSI report and the expert panel's recommendations on the implementation of that, it would give her a grant size of somewhere between - the Minister should note this important information - €160,000 to €170,000. The costings she is getting from contractors in her county at the moment place the costs of the remediation and replacement of that dwelling now at €20,000, €30,000 and €40,000 above what the level of the grant. In order for Martina Hegarty and many other affected homeowners like her to rebuild their homes on a like-for-like basis, it is not 100% redress.

If the Minister accepts this amendment, it will send a clear signal to the SCSI to start undertaking the relevant work. Its representatives spoke to us at committee and said they would need approximately three months to carry it out. It would also send a clear signal that the Minister would also consider amending the terms of reference. Why is that important? If the Minister does not include foundations in the costings now, when this scheme opens, he cannot review those costings for another year. As he mentioned earlier, even if the NSAI completes its work in respect of foundations early next year, there would be no review of the costings until 12 months after the commencement of the Act. As a result, it is absolutely crucial to update the costings and provide a comprehensive range of options in order that if and when the Minister amends the scheme by the way of regulation, all the costings will have been calculated, in place and up to date and will bring people closer to 100% redress, which is not provided under the scheme as it stands.

I concur with the previous speakers. Again, I say to the SCSI that when it is updating its figures, the template stays the same. All it has to do at the moment is update the existing costs; it does not take three months. We updated our data sheet on 1 July when we got all the price increases from all the different providers across the country. We got the costings we are voting on tonight in February. How much has that changed since February? The costings from all the different suppliers and providers that are coming in can be upgraded in the space of a week. The template stays the same; it is only a case of upgrading the costings to today's costs, which can be done within a week. If everyone else can do it, I cannot understand why the SCSI cannot. This, again, is common sense. People who do it on a daily basis can actually do it because they depend on it for a living. When it comes to other bodies, however, it can take them two and three months. That is why we are so far behind. I believe it should be index-linked going forward.

The current SCSI model discriminates against smaller homes, in particular smaller semi-detached homes. Can the Minister give a commitment that when setting the regulations, there will be an uplift for smaller homes with regard to the square foot range, which as currently constructed will not cover their full costs?

I will be extremely brief. The crux of the issue is 100% redress and nothing less. This amendment is aimed at scrapping the asterisks and small print the Minister has put in, which, in effect, turns 100% redress into 80% redress. It means that homeowners would not be able to access it. It is completely immoral and unjust because it puts a burden on homeowners who are at no fault for this whatsoever. This is essential. The Minister should accept the amendment. I also encourage Deputy Calleary to follow the example of Deputy McHugh and vote in favour of the amendment, because he clearly agrees with it, and send the clearest possible signal to the Government.

This is the core of this issue. This is what the demand is and this was the chant from tens of thousands of people who came to the streets more than a year ago. It is to ensure that people are able to have their homes remediated. I am sure the Minister probably believes his own spin or some of the stuff he said earlier that this is 100% up to €420,000. That is simply not true. If it were true, then people in my country and other countries would be happy with this legislation. It is not true, however, and they know that. They have examined the numbers. They sat at their kitchen tables, took out their pens and pencils and looked at what this will mean for them.

Deputy Ó Broin gave an example of one of the campaigners for whom this means that she would have to get approximately €40,000 or something of that order to rebuild her home. The reason the people in the Gallery travel and the reason people campaign outside the Houses is because they know those figures are real. Depending on the size of the house or a person's circumstances, it can be even higher than €40,000 or €50,000 because there is not 100% redress. The SCSI costings exclude a huge number of costs that will be associated with rebuilding these families' homes. The costings themselves are so far out of date that they need to be brought up to date. This is the core. If the Minister believed in his own guff that there is 100% redress up to €420,000 then he should support this amendment and give the people what they deserve, which is 100% redress.

I will continue on the issue of 100% redress. The Minister was not at the meeting of the joint committee that day but, certainly, the officials to whom he is now speaking were there when we were repeatedly told that it was not going to be 100% redress simply because of inflation if nothing else. There has been considerable price inflation in the period since the prices for which this scheme is based were drawn up. I have asked the following question many times; I am still waiting for an answer. The Minister is free to answer it whenever he chooses to do so. How does allowing people to downsize cost more money? The amount of money they are going to get is set out. How does allowing them to downsize cost more money? Deputy Pringle and I tabled an amendment on this matter, but it was ruled out of order on the basis that it would involve a cost to the Exchequer. We both accept that we cannot introduce legislation that would involve a cost to the Exchequer, although neither of us accepts that this particular amendment would actually involve any cost to the Exchequer. Could the Minister or the officials to whom he is speaking so earnestly please outline how it costs the Exchequer more money if people are allowed to downsize?

The Minister has curtailed the debate and the Bill will be guillotined. Will he tell us how it will cost more money if a person downsizes? It is a very simple question. It is not for me. Thankfully, I do not have a home that is affected by pyrite but I know people who do. They will not be able to build a house the same size because the money the Government is going to give them will not allow them to build a house of the same size. They are pensioners with their mortgage paid off. They are not going to get another mortgage. People do not give pensioners mortgages in the real world. As a result, they will not be able to avail of the scheme unless they can downsize. Can the Minister please tell me how it costs more money to allow people to downsize?

I, too, support the amendment. I cannot imagine the thought process around it or what kind of thought process came into it that people are not allowed to downsize. We all know there is massive, indeed savage, inflation in building costs right across the board - even leaving the foundations out of it - in terms of blocks, cement, labour, tradesmen and, above all, timber.

The Government will not allow us to cut a cipín in rural Ireland. It wants to import timber, which is costing a fortune. Thankfully, like Deputy McNamara, I do not have a house that is affected. We are lucky and blessed but people are affected. It is not only the elderly - anyone over the age of 50 or 55 will not get a mortgage. One would have to wonder how an amendment like that is ruled out of order on the basis that there is a cost to the Exchequer. Surely, if you cut your cloth according to your measure and cut it down, it will save money in the long run.

People will be happier. Perhaps children have moved on or whatever and they do not need the same size house. For a plethora of reasons it makes perfect sense to allow them to downsize.

Deputies will be aware that the €420,000 overall cap is set by the Government. It is a significant change from the existing scheme, at 90% maximum grant, to 100% maximum grant under the new scheme for different house types. There is a cost per square foot of between €161 and €145 per square foot.

They are very significant changes. Under the Bill, every 12 months those rates can be varied by a Minister by regulation without changing the Bill. The SCSI set the rates, and I commend it on the work it did. It was an important piece of work. I committed to homeowners at the time with regard to the previous rates, and homeowners had understandably been very critical of those rates, that we would get the work done independently through the SCSI and that I would accept those rates, which I did. They were independently calculated and fully accepted. That was in February.

Yes, we have had price inflation across various sectors since then. The members of the SCSI in their evidence to the committee were very clear that inflation should not be considered over a short period of time. Others have spoken about tracking the consumer price index, CPI, for that over a short space of time, particularly in this inflationary environment. I have given a commitment and it is set down in the Bill. There is no issue with reviewing rates into the future, but one has to allow a period of time for that to happen. That is what is set in the Bill. That is why it is so important that we get this passed by the summer. Then the review of that can take place. It is provided for that in the first three years the rate can be varied every year. After that, it would have to come back to the Oireachtas.

In response to Deputy Calleary, who has spoken to me about this issue, if there are specific issues, we will look at them through regulations for smaller homes and terraced houses. We need to work through the regulations to make sure that the scheme is fully operational as soon as possible. I will do that and I will continue to engage with Deputies on all sides of the House on that. By the way, this is not a question of just starting work on regulations post the Bill passing. Work is already under way on that. We do not want to delay this legislation in any way, shape or form. It will take time to get the regulations in place. We will bring them forward, and I expect that to be in the autumn, and we will have the scheme up and running. It is a greatly enhanced scheme that will provide 100% redress, access to the scheme for a second grant and a 40-year guarantee. It will ensure there are no financial barriers to enter the scheme, as there were in the previous scheme in early 2020. There are no upfront costs of €5,000 to €7,000 in this scheme. I could go on, but Deputies will be aware of this.

This is a greatly enhanced scheme, an improvement on the previous one, that will provide 100% redress so people can get their homes-----

It would be nice if the Minister spoke to the amendment.

I am allowed to respond, Deputy Ó Broin. People can get their homes back on track and get their lives back on track. That is what we want. We want engagement from the Housing Agency as well, which will be there, and resourcing of the agency on the ground. There are independent appeals and independent assessments.

This is a vast improvement on the previous scheme, and I thank the residents for the work they have done in ensuring that we got this far. What the Oireachtas has to do this week and next week is pass the legislation so we can put the new scheme in place and make sure that it works for residents. I am absolutely confident that it will. I will not accept the amendment.

The Minister is adamant that this is a much improved scheme and that everybody should accept it on that basis. I do not believe anybody has argued that this is not an improvement on the previous scheme. The problem is that it is not improved enough. The problem is that families are going to have to wait to go through the third iteration of this coming around to actually get redress and to be able to rebuild their homes. What is wrong with this scheme is that the Minister has not gone far enough. He could save a lot of money and save the State and this House a lot of time by going far enough and making it a scheme that will work.

The Minister said he is going to make the scheme through regulations, but the problem is that the regulations will be bound by what is in this Bill, so it still will not deal with the issues. I hope it does. It will deal with them for some people, but even those people who get into the scheme will be left with big costs. That is the reality. It is being dressed up as being the €2.4 billion scheme to make it look as if it is costing the State and the State is doing a great job by giving people all this money. That is not the issue. The issue is that the scheme is not going to meet the needs. People will avail of the scheme and get the scheme, but they are also going to have to cough up money themselves and put money into it, for something they did not cause. It is not their problem but a problem that has been caused by this House, by the industry involved in it and by the lax regulation formed in this House.

All I will say to the Deputy is that nobody is throwing around figures of €2.7 billion. That is not the purpose. The State needs to intervene in a market failure on behalf of its citizens, to help people to get their homes and their lives back together. I am not throwing around figures of €2.7 billion. That is the cost initially. That only takes in a certain amount of inflation. The decision the Dáil will make this evening and the Oireachtas will make by the end of next week is whether we will stay with an old scheme that obviously failed people or move on with an enhanced scheme that is going to-----

It will fail people as well.

-----greatly improve the situation and provide 100% redress for people. I will not go over the other points raised. I have already put on the record many of the different changes. Voting against the legislation means there is no new scheme in place and it is further delaying the remediation and replacement of people's homes and enabling them to be able to see a future and some light at the end of the tunnel. To be clear, it is voting this down after all the consultations right through the process since June 2020. In fairness to Deputy Pringle he has engaged in this and has acknowledged there are vast improvements on the previous scheme. This scheme absolutely will work for people. It is, of course, any Deputy's right to have a view on it but the reality is that if this legislation were voted down this week and next week, we would be left with the existing scheme that was launched in January 2020.

We would come up with a new one then.

We would have no legislation, because that scheme was set up under regulations only.

Accept the amendments.

It will not be grounded in primary legislation as it needs to be. We will not have the Housing Agency involvement in it or the independent appeals. We will not have all the infrastructure that is set up to make this scheme work. It will all fall. That is what happens if this is voted down.

I will be brief. When the old scheme was mentioned I thought back to the fallout from the old scheme. The Minister is correct that it fell way short. Everybody knows that. That is history. I made a decision tonight on the second scheme based on my gut. It is not for the want of work on the part of the Minister and his officials to try to get it right. I honestly believe there is no such thing as a perfect scheme for a scheme of this magnitude. However, I believe this scheme falls short on a number of fronts. It falls short for people in terms of accessibility and affordability. In my consultation and engagement with the Minister through the last few weeks he has been honourable and has kept an open line. I am asking this of the Minister tonight because I feel I have not achieved what I wanted to achieve on behalf of the constituents I represent, many of whom are here tonight and many of whom are at home, still trying to figure out how they are going to enter the scheme. I voted against this and I will be voting against it all the way through.

This is not over. It is not over for the people. We still have to figure out a way to try to make this scheme better for people. I am talking in particular about people who are of my generation or a little older who will find it hard to get a €30,000 or €40,000 loan upfront. Where will the money come from, even to pay for engineering fees at second stage or for demolition? There are many shortcomings and a lot of work still needs to be done on this. My decision to vote against this tonight is because we do not have enough time to put our heads together properly as a Parliament on it. I know the Minister's motivation is to try to get this done before the summer. I called for that, as did everyone in this House, but this scheme falls short. We did not have the time.

Downsizing was a big issue for me. I still believe it is unfair that somebody who wishes to downsize is being penalised. The person downsizing cannot salvage their kitchen and staircases; I felt very strongly on that point and will continue to raise it. I thank the Minister for the engagement once again, but my gut tells me that this second scheme is falling short for too many people and for constituents in my county in particular.

The Minister spoke about the magnitude of the scheme and we cannot but agree with him. It is a major scheme. It is important that it is underpinned by legislation. Deputy McHugh also spoke about the magnitude of the scheme, which is at €2.4 billion. Of course, we are only starting. Does anybody sitting here really think it will cost just €2.4 billion? It will cost an awful lot more than that. At the very least, one might expect that a Bill introducing a scheme that will cost, conservatively, €2.4 billion - I would have thought it would be at least €5 billion - would introduce enhanced measures to ensure those who provided concrete blocks that were defective, did so for profit, and obtained significant profit, would be pursued through the courts for that.

Not alone does this scheme not introduce any enhanced measures, it, in effect, ensures those who provided the blocks will not be pursued by homeowners because they cannot be. The Minister is correct that the cause of action accrues to him. It is for him to pursue them. I wish I could have confidence in that happening. I tried to introduce an amendment that was not ruled out of order or anything, but we will not get to it. I tried to introduce an amendment allowing for the Minister to at least report back on how many cases were pursued. The reality is nobody will be pursued. That is why the share price of the biggest quarrying company in Ireland is unchanged by this scheme. In fact, its share price is defying downward movement of the ISEQ and staying pretty level.

I do not have the human resources of the Attorney General's office at my disposal but the Minister does. I would have very much liked to have seen him introduce something whereby we knew each and every case was going to be pursued and the unfortunate homeowners could possibly piggyback on a case. I do not think the Minister is going to give a homeowner €200,000 and then pursue that case. There will be many cases where he cannot do so. I accept that as an unfortunate reality, but there will be some cases where he can. If the real cost to homeowners is more than the €200,000 the Minister will give them, they could bring a case in parallel but this cannot happen under this scheme. In fact, what this introduces, and I do not think the Minister has done this intentionally - I certainly hope he has not - is that no cases will be taken by homeowners against any of the quarries. There will be none taken by the Minister either because there is no requirement to account back to this House, even though €5 billion will be spent.

It is a scheme of considerable magnitude but it is deficient. I appreciate that we need to call a vote on a couple of other amendments that will be reached, but we needed much more time to discuss this.

I will make a couple of points and respond to Deputy McHugh. I thank him for all his engagement right the way through. I also thank Deputies Calleary, Carey, Cathal Crowe and many others who have engaged very positively and constructively, in what is a difficult situation, to improve this scheme and work it through. I have no doubt that, through the regulations, there will be other areas we will need to work through to seek further improvements. I assure Deputies I will continue to work with them.

Let us be also be clear, however, that we need to pass the legislation to establish the scheme and get it up and running so we can set up the apparatus for it, not just the legislative apparatus but the human resources required on the ground, the testing that needs to be done and all those various things. There are many moving parts in this. We cannot have a situation where this is continually delayed. Deputy McHugh was right when he said that every scheme, and I said it in Buncrana when I was there with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy McConalogue, in early 2020, evolves when it operates. I have seen that happen with the pyrite scheme for the east coast. Schemes evolve through operation. I expect this scheme to be no different. I will continue to work with Deputies on this.

Specifically on the area we are discussing, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, SCSI, has done the work on the costs that are set down within the legislation. We have the review in place. We will do that. When we are looking at inflation, the period between February and now is far too short to make a further decision on that. As I said, I am not in a position to accept the amendment.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided by electronic means.
Rinne an Coiste vótáil ar mhodh leictreonach.

I was a teller for the last vote. Countless homeowners will be locked out of this scheme, this legislation is defective and the Government has failed to see sense and support this amendment. Therefore I am asking that we take this opportunity to do the right thing on behalf of all of the families in the Gallery and that we have a vote other than by electronic means.

Amendment again put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 74; Staon, 0.

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Cairns, Holly.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.

Níl

  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Pearse Doherty; Níl, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers.
Amendment declared lost.

The time permitted for this debate having expired, I am required to put the following question in accordance with the order of the Dáil of 5 July 2022: "That amendments Nos. 71, 72, 81, 94, 106, 111 and 150, set down for Committee Stage and not disposed of, are hereby made to the Bill; in respect of each of the sections undisposed of, that the section, or as appropriate the section as amended, is hereby agreed to in committee; the Title is hereby agreed to in committee; the Bill, as amended, is accordingly reported to the House; Fourth Stage is hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed.".

Question put.
The Dáil divided by electronic means.
Rinne an Dáil vótáil ar mhodh leictreonach.

The gap is just five votes and we have seen the immense hurt felt by ordinary hard-working decent people from across the west of Ireland and how they reacted to that immense hurt.. These are traumatised families. This legislation is flawed. Those across the floor know that in their hearts. It is flawed and it would be wrong to get this wrong again. I ask for another vote so that they can reflect on this one last time. I ask them to please do the right thing.

The vote will be conducted by other than electronic means. It will be a short bell.

Question again put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 74; Níl, 69; Staon, 0.

  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Cairns, Holly.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers; Níl, Deputies Eoin Ó Broin and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.
Question declared carried.
Barr
Roinn