Limerick man says pyrite has 'destroyed our home and our quality of life'

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Senator Maria Byrne, who is helping Leonard and Majella Cruxton secure redress for their pyrite-damaged home in the Lower Park area of Corbally

Senator Maria Byrne, who is helping Leonard and Majella Cruxton secure redress for their pyrite-damaged home in the Lower Park area of Corbally

A LIMERICK man has said that he is living in constant fear that his home could crumble around him because of pyrite damage.

Leonard Cruxton, who lives in The Meadows estate at Lower Park in Corbally, has witnessed large cracks and holes in his home, and has spent close to €10,000 trying to improve the situation.

He and 15 other residents in the estate are bidding to be included on the pyrite redress scheme, which will see the government cover the cost of repairing each home.

Senator Maria Byrne has already held meetings with her Fine Gael colleague, the Minister of State for Housing Damien English, on the issue.

Leonard, who helped build the housing estate, and bought a property there for €175,000 with his wife Majella in 2004, said: “It’s had a terrible impact. You always look to own your own home. It’s your life. Look how lovely we’ve tried to make everything around here. Now we have a house that is absolutely useless. We are going to leave this to our four children and it’s a mess.”

Pyrite is a common mineral, but when mixed with moisture and air, can cause back-fill under concrete to swell, crack and crumble. Leonard is rated at grade C.

“It splits the house in two if you like,” Leonard said. “It’s destroyed our home and our quality of life. There are a couple of women in the estate who are widows, and they cannot sleep. They’re worried out of their minds. It expands at such a rate it lifts whole floors.”

Removing the pyrite from his home will cost up to €90,000 – and will involve the removal of the floors and walls, and reconcreting with material is free of pyrite.

However, it will mean that the garden which Leonard and Majella have carefully designed will be “destroyed”, he said.

“The cracks are so bad, you can put your fingers through then. One day we got up, and couldn’t get out our front door due to the movements,” Leonard added.

Since moving in, he has repainted and replastered the home a number of times, and carried out repairs to the ceiling.

Ms Byrne said she has submitted an application to Mr English on behalf of Leonard and his neighbours.

”Engineers reports have been done, and we’re waiting to hear back from them to see if there is anything else required,” she said.

At present, the redress scheme is only available to residents in Dublin, but both Ms Byrne and the residents are hoping this will change.

Leonard said: “We want to be recognised. We want Limerick to be recognised as a place where pyrite exists. It’s not only the people in Dublin who are tax-payers. We pay our tax too. We want to be accepted onto the pyrite board even if it means all the other houses who are untested get the test. Why should be pay for it?”