Letter to Minister Hogan: CIF & SI.9

by bregs blog admin team

Winston-Churchill-l

The following letter to Minister Phil Hogan was submitted by Amanda Gallagher, self-builder on 29th April 2014. See letter on Blog: Amanda Gallagher – a self builder’s blog “Latest letter to Minister Hogan“. Extract as follows:

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The Truth is incontrovertible – malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

– Sir Winston Churchill

Dear Minister Hogan,

I cannot tell you how disheartened I am at the complete lack of respect shown to self builders in Ireland by you and the officials in your Department and your continued refusal to answer most pressing questions that are crucial to the people of this nation who were intending  to build homes for their families.

You and your officials are most convincing in your attempts to ‘reassure’ the nation that self build can continue as before.  Even if we ‘park’ (for a minute!) the now-famous signatory issue within the S.I. 9 – you and I now know full well that a self builder will never find an Assigned Certifier to work with them.  I would advise you listen to Sir Winston Churchill’s words above – before the whole world knows exactly what an unjust ‘regime’ the Irish Government have turned in to – it is imperative that the truth be told as soon as possible for the sake of the Nation and for the sake of the reputation of your Party.

You know everyone is questioning the competence of Fine Gael at this time – I actually feel sorry for the whole party at this stage – most especially the local Fine Gael Councillors – the men and women whose face goes ‘blank’ when we talk to them about this Building Control Crisis.

Yesterday, after explaining (yet again!) the SI 9 to a member of Fine Gael, I was informed that you were not actually in control of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – you merely signed off on them – as a matter of fact this person claimed it was – the CIF Chief who was the ‘main contributor’ of the S.I. 9! (By the way this person was telling me this in defence of you!).  To tell you the truth I was relieved to hear that all of our suspicions were actually ‘real’!

I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to a few quotes from this man who you regard as ‘competent’ enough and that you  ‘trust’ enough that you let him dictate the wording of the Nations building control laws:

  • “Our message is now is the time to buy – there is real value out there!” – May ’08 Irish Examiner
  • “The IMF don’t know what they’re talking about!” – Oct. ’08 The Last Word – in response to the presenter saying that the IMF reported that Irish House Prices were most overvalued.
  • “Now we see value” and “we still need 40,000 houses built!” – Oct. ’08 Newstalk
  • The CIF Chief claimed he’d never seen a ghost estate! – Nov. ’08 The Last Word
  • “WE [IN THE CIF] SAW THE CRASH COMING!!” – Jan. ’09 Morning Ireland
  • “I’m in and out of the Dail every other day…every chance I get..” – Oct. ’10 Irish Independent
  •  “House prices need to rise to make it viable for builders to make a profit!!” – Jan. ’14 Newstalk
  • We have been getting good vibes from this Government…I have access to the Toaiseach’s office…I would find this Government very accessible..” – Jan. ’10 Irish Independent

Wow!  You really couldn’t make this stuff up – even if you tried!

The CIF should have shut it’s doors in 2009  – if they saw the crash coming – why on earth were they advising young families only weeks earlier to buy, buy, buy, buy – knowingly encouraging them to buy homes way overpriced and now they live in negative equity!! And I really don’t know who the Chief is trying to impress telling the world that now he has access into the Taoiseach’s office?  He certainly does not impress the self builder – especially in light of where we are now – we find it rather obnoxious and hurtful.

You know, this whole fiasco is now being discussed in other countries – I would highly recommend you find a resolution to this crisis with immediate effect – you have been given the ‘Collins & O’Cofaigh – A Better Way’ solution to Building Control – a solution that would resolve every single issue contained within S.I. 9 and would most importantly for you, be cost neutral to the State. We are all still wondering why on earth it has not been implemented yet.

Whether or not, the CIF Chief was the main author and your main advisor during the talks of the S.I. 9 – only the other key stakeholders know the answer to this – the fact that the CIF were in any way involved in the talks in itself is scandalous. These are the men that the S.I. 9 are supposed to be ‘regulating’ – have you learned nothing from Ireland’s Proprty Madness days? – why on earth were these men present at talks that were about regulating themselves?  It is madness!  It is like the Customs section of Revenue having talks on regulating the smuggling of cigarettes into Ireland and inviting the sellers of cigarettes on Moore Street to the talks and letting them have input into the wording of the regulations! 

We all know the only reason the CIF were let into the talks was because of who their Chief is (an ex government minister with access into the Taoiseach’s Office!!) and this I am afraid to say is cronyism.  In fact, even the media go to the CIF for construction ‘news’ – It is crazy – they should go to people who actually know a thing or two about construction – people like architects, engineers, surveyors, tradesmen etc… the poor media have even been ‘duped’ into thinking the CIF know everything when we can clearly see from the quotes above that the CIF are totally ‘incompetent’ when it comes to anything got to do with construction in Ireland.

You would have been so much better off if you had Trade Union representatives of tradesmen – the actual ‘builders’ of houses – as key stakeholders – you will see one day that it was a fatal error on your part to have let the CIF in to the talks.

I am hearing a lot of noise of the black market as one of the main reasons for erasing self building from Ireland.  I do know that this ‘reason’ originally came from the CIF – and I am absolutely shocked that yet again this government would be ‘hoodwinked’ by the same men who have this country in €15bn worth of debt – you know the self build houses have been one of the main economic aids that has kept the construction industry going since 2009.  The CIF were dying to get their hands on the one-off houses in Ireland – please do not listen to anymore black market nonsense from the CIF.  If you had a proper government Register of qualified construction workers, men and women who are all tax compliant etc.. this would sort out the black market issue and also generate revenue for the State.  Why don’t you research how every other country in the world copes with the black market – once again, you have made Ireland an International Joke – we are now the only country in the world to ban self building.

The poor citizens of this Nation are in fact ‘sleep walking’ amid political chaos and amid chaos in the construction sector.  I have every faith that it will not be too long until they are all wide awake and hungry for answers as to how on earth the SI 9 happened!

I am still looking forward to answers to all of my queries – this letter I have sent to others ‘in the know’ and we all await eagerly your reply.

Regards, as always to you, at this most difficult time in building control – my thoughts are with you.

Amanda Gallagher

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