Concrete block levy cannot be allowed to proceed – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that it is totally unacceptable that homeowners and buyers should be expected to foot the bill for the defective blocks scandal.
He said that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs must ensure that the government change course. Last week in the Dáil a Sinn Féin motion, calling for the new levy to be scrapped, was defeated by those same deputies. The levy, if introduced, will increase the cost of building a home during a housing and inflationary crisis.
Speaking during the Dáil debate, Deputy Carthy said:
“The twisted logic behind the decisions of this Government can often be mind-boggling but the defence of the concrete block levy we have just heard would send the head spinning.
“In the midst of a housing crisis that has merged with an inflationary crisis the Government is proposing a measure that will make houses more expensive. They have essentially proposed a defective funding mechanism to pay for an under-funded defects remediation scheme that, by the Minister’s own admission, is going to cost ordinary workers, families and small businesses.
“This measure will mean houses will cost more. Every expert in the field has reaffirmed that as a matter of absolute fact. In fact, the Government is not disputing that but just claims the increase will be less than what those experts claim.
“This measure will mean fewer houses will be built. That is especially the case in rural areas where many one-off building plans have already been shelved due to soaring costs. For many more this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“This measure will result in job losses and company closures. The bitter irony is that it is likely to be the concrete companies that have maintained high standards and did not and do not manufacture defective blocks that will be put into jeopardy as they compete with others who do not apply the same standards.
“As always, this Government has ignored the blight on this country that is the Border. Naturally, many of those building, especially in counties like my own, will travel North to purchase material that is not subject to this levy. The Government has provided no insight as to how they will deal with imports from outside the island altogether, both in relation to standards and this levy.
“As a final point, I fear this measure will make farms unsafe and perhaps even unviable. Farmers are already under severe pressure due to increased costs and reduced Common Agricultural Policy supports and will simply forego plans to build slurry holding tanks, sheds or animal housing.
“I have listened over the past number of days to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael backbenchers whispering that they accept that this levy is a harebrained notion. They now have their chance to stop whispering and start speaking up for the constituents by supporting the Sinn Féin motion and rejecting the Government amendment.”