I thank Deputy Ó Broin for raising this issue, which has been discussed a lot in the House in recent years. It is a very important issue and more cases are being brought forward. It is an issue in which the Minister, Deputy Murphy, the Department and I are very interested. I recognise the work of the Deputy and the committee on the issue. It is something of which we are certainly well aware.
The Safe as Houses report has been considered by the Department, and while I can subscribe to many of the principles in it, I believe the building control reform agenda that is already well under way provides a comprehensive road map for embedding a culture of compliance and accountability in the construction industry and for strengthening the building control framework in this country. I am conscious that many of the issues raised date from prior to the new building control measures coming into place.
The reform agenda includes amendments made to the building control regulations, the national building control management project and the ongoing development of new legislation through the building control (construction industry register Ireland) Bill. I am conscious the report mentions this and it is something we hope to publish later this year.
Local authorities have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003, the Fire Services Acts, the Housing Acts and the Planning and Development Acts. Fire services may inspect buildings in cases of defects or complaints in respect of fire safety. They work with building owners to ensure immediate risks are addressed and a plan is put in place, where required, for works to bring buildings into compliance. This framework, which followed the 2015 report, is enabling and is a model that can be used to try to address some of the issues affecting some of these apartments.
In relation to legacy issues generally, I acknowledge the very stressful circumstances that owners and residents face when defects occur in their homes. However, in general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved, that is the homeowner, the builder, the developer and-or their respective insurers, structural guarantee or warranty scheme. The State has no general statutory role in resolving defects in privately owned buildings, including dwellings, nor does it have a budget for such matters. It is not possible for the State to take on responsibility or liability for all legacy issues nor would this send the right message to the industry regarding its responsibility for compliance now and in future.
My focus will remain firmly on ensuring the full roll-out of the building control reform agenda, to ensure all those engaged in the construction sector take their responsibilities seriously and are appropriately held to account. As part of the reform agenda, consumer protection will continue to be my core concern and any proposal in this regard will, of course, be considered. We have seen some new products in the insurance market on foot of the building control measures in place. Naturally, if they had been in place in the past we would not be in this situation. There is a lot of reform going on. I am conscious the Deputy is raising legacy issues and it is the exposure to taxpayers-----