Three families were “victims of abysmal building practices” and of massive systemic breaches of building regulations, a High Court judge said yesterday.
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan made the comments when he awarded the families a total of €1.09m over defects in their homes.
He is to send his judgment to Environment Minister Phil Hogan and to the chairman of the Oireachtas Environment Committee so the Government “may give such consideration to the policy issues raised by the judgment as they may consider appropriate”.
What had happened to the families was “simply unconscionable” and he expressed the hope their appalling plight “may yet prove to be a clarion call for action in relation to the proper enforcement of building standards”.
The case concerned houses in the Ocean Links estate, Strandhill, Co Sligo, built in the early 2000s by Mulvey Developments.
Among the purchasers were Michael and Margo Mitchell; Ciaran Adams and wife Niamh Deasy; and Mary Brett, who initially only used the house during holidays before living permanently in it from 2009.
They sued the Mulvey firm and Thomas Mulvey over multiple defects. Both did not defend the case and judgement had been entered against them previously.
They also sued supervising engineer during building, Stephen Garvey of Adept Consulting Engineers, along with Design Development Ltd, since gone into liquidation. Judgment was also entered previously against those two defendants in default of them putting in a defence.
They further sued National House Building Guarantee Company Ltd which operates the Homebond repair scheme and that case is pending. Six similar claims by other householders are also pending.
Mr Justice Hogan was yesterday dealing with assessment of damages only in relation to the first three cases. He awarded €424,090 to the Mitchells, €250,175 to Ms Brett, and €424,805 to Mr Adams and Ms Deasy.
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