On April 7th, representatives of the National Roads Authority are to be questioned by the Joint Oireachtas Transport Committee about pyrite levels in the controversial M3 motorway. Earlier this month the Drogheda Independent reported the words of Meath TD Shane McEntee;

“THE start of the disclosure of ‘one of the greatest catastrophes to hit this country following the bank crisis’ was revealed by Meath East Fine Gael deputy Shane McEntee in the Dáil.

‘I do not say that lightly,’ he said. ‘HomeBond, which is in trouble, has confirmed that it has received claims from the owners of 20,000 houses with pyrite. At one stage pyrite reached Canada and is also a problem in England.

‘Some 20,000 people have lodged claims with HomeBond which is not in a position to pay to get these houses fixed properly. The builders involved – most of them very good builders – have disclosed that their insurance companies do not cover pyrite.’

Deputy McEntee explained that pyrite is a substance used in filling, which when it reaches a different atmosphere swells like gypsum. It brings all with it, including floors and walls.

‘ There is only one solution, which is for these floors to be taken up and the fill removed and replaced,’ he said. ‘HomeBond has 20,000 confirmed claims. It is far more epidemic here than in any other country.’

He asked the Transport Minister to call in representatives of the NRA to discuss the issue of the M3.”

Apparently there’s a possibility that contaminated material was used for in-fill during construction of the ’Tara’ motorway. One contractor has already stopped supplying it because of his concerns.

From the Irish Independent of February 22nd;

“According to an Irish Independent investigation, there are 20 building firms which have used material containing pyrite from at least four suspect quarries — which are located in Dublin and Meath. These quarries are still functioning.
The affected houses are located in parts of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Offaly where pyrite — a mineral that expands in the presence of moisture and oxygen — has been discovered in the infill material put in below their floors.

In Kildare, one family bought a €560,000 home which has been damaged by the presence of pyrite. Yet they are being offered only a €38,000 settlement by HomeBond when the total repair bill could be up to €220,000.”

There’s no point singing hosannah, by the way, if the road does prove to be affected. All us mugs will probably end up with the tab. Nice work lads.