IT is incredible to think that over a year has passed since the tragic deaths of six young students when a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California, and yet only now are the authorities reluctantly on the brink of changing the building code to ensure rogue contractors never cause such accidents again.
So, there is a powerful case for Irish people to support the Facebook petition campaign launched by 22-year-old Dubliner Aoife Beary, who survived the collapse despite suffering horrific injuries. The aim of the petition is to compel the authorities to change the building laws, thus forcing cowboy builders to reveal any legal claims that have been made against them in the past.
Incredibly, the company responsible for building the fatal balcony had such a long litany of claims against it for shoddy work that it had to pay out $26m (€23.3m) in legal settlements. But astonishingly, it was not required by law to disclose its claims record to the state license board the authorities.
So far, more than 2,000 people have signed the petition since Aoife’s posting. She only needs 500 more to bring the bill SB 465 through the California State Legislature and into law to reform the building industry and make it safer.
With some many Facebook users here, Ireland should throw its weight behind this laudable campaign. If only half of them signed the petition, it would amount to about a million signatures.
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