As Cabinet agrees a massive new redress scheme for Celtic Tiger defective apartments, Shane Coleman is warning that ‘nowhere in the world writes blank cheques like Ireland’.
Minsters this morning approved a “fully-funded” scheme to repair up to 100,000 homes – at a cost of up to €2.5bn to the taxpayer.
Announcing the scheme this afternoon, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said it would cover 100% of costs – and would include works that have already been completed or are already underway.
He noted that fire safety is the biggest concern facing the homeowners, with water ingress also a major issue.
'Nowhere writes blank cheques like Ireland'
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, presenter Shane Coleman said Ireland ‘shovels out money’ in these situations – and we are not doing it wisely.
“I have no doubt it’s difficult for the people who are in that situation and some kind of compensation is needed,” he said. “But I have to say, I do worry a little bit.”
“There is no state in the world like Ireland for writing blank cheques when it comes to redress schemes – there is any number of them.
“Individually, you can absolutely make the argument that all of them are genuine and worthwhile and so on – but it doesn’t happen in any other country.
“Nobody else writes blank cheques like the Irish Exchequer.”
He said he is not arguing that the homeowners should get nothing – but he is concerned that the “amount on offer is never, ever enough”.
“What really worries me is there is no politician in the country - not one - that is standing up and saying, hang on a second, are we right doing this?
“We shovel out money in this State. We absolutely shovel out money in this State and I’m not sure we do it wisely.
“In fact, I am 100% sure we do not do it wisely.”
Fellow presenter Jonathan Healy said it is important not to discuss the issue from a ‘position of privilege’ – noting that there are people out there living in fear of household fires breaking out.
“We have to be conscious of that – but there has to be a limit doesn’t there?
“There has to be a limit on what the State will indemnify against, particularly in a private transaction between a developer and the homeowner.”
He said the Government’s redress schemes ignore the basic trading rule of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).
Minister O’Brien said the legislation to establish the new scheme will take several months to pass through the Oireachtas – adding that he expects payments to begin this year and increase in 2024.