Letter to Labour Party: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team


The following open letter to the Labour Party and all elected party TD’s was submitted by Amanda Gallagher, self-builder on 30th April 2014. Link to letter here.


Re: Labour Party needs to help Self Builders

Dear Labour Party Members,

I write to you regarding the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – (SI 9) and the effect they have on people trying to provide a home for their family in Ireland.  My name is Amanda Gallagher from County Sligo. Myself and my husband were planning a ‘self build’ this summer. We have 5 young children and we were going to hand the keys of our current council house back to the State when our build was complete.  Our story was featured on RTE Radio & TV Shows and also the Six One News on Friday, Feb. 28th last – we hoped our pleas for a deferral of these new Building Control laws to the Minister would be listened to – how naive of us!

I write to you with the gravest concerns.   S.I. 9 are the most unjust, irrational laws  ever to be implemented in the history of this State. The Councillors in Wicklow County Council voted recently to formally request that Minister Hogan revokes S.I. 9 for one-off self build family homes and rightly so – but I was shocked to see that all Labour Councillors on this Council voted against this motion – how can Labour be against the principle of a family to build their own home in Ireland – how can you justify this? Actually you can’t justify this – these laws are unjustifiable.

By the Labour Party agreeing to these restrictive Building Control laws you have reneged your party’s core principles – Freedom, Equality, Community & Democracy – those core principles that have been at the heart of Labour for a century.  By taking the right away from the people to provide a home for their families (without a severe financial burden) you have taken away their Freedom (they will feel hopeless, you want them chained to poverty for life with a huge mortgage) – you have treated them with Inequality (there are no longer equal rights – only the rich can build a house in Ireland) – You have denied them a sense of Community (they are now the oppressed) and you have denied them Democracy (they can no longer shape their own lives, this is a grave injustice).

What would the Founders of the Labour Party say today? – James Connolly, James Larkin & William O’Brien – God rest their brave Souls – Those courageous men who represented the workers of Ireland – ask yourself what these great men would think of the Labour Party today – they would tell you stand up, speak the truth, protect the people you were elected to protect – cherish the centuries old tradition of self building in Ireland – for without a family home Ireland will be nothing – they would tell you if you are not prepared to do this then go home and hang your heads in shame and never be seen again under the ‘Labour’ banner.  How power, money, greed and the dazzling lights of Leinster House have reduced the core principles of the Labour Party to dust in the space of a century – how astonishing.

The Minister and his officials are not being truthful with the Nation – maybe they are not being truthful with Labour also – maybe they have ‘pulled the wool over your eyes’ too – but I am here to tell you no matter what they ‘say’ it does not change the Law of the Land – and that Law now states that to build a home in Ireland it must be built by a principal or director of a building company only.  After this letter, Labour can no longer ‘claim’ ignorance – you cannot self build in Ireland.

Truth is the most valuable thing we have – I urge you to tell the truth to the electorate – it may be hard for them to hear it – but promise them you will do your best to correct this terrible unjust law that has been passed without their knowledge – for if you don’t have the courage to tell the truth now – I am afraid those among you who stick with the S.I. 9 for one-off family homes will be shown to be unworthy of public life in the not too distant future.  As we all know you can eclipse the sun, but the TRUTH will always shine through – sooner or later – it will not go away – no matter how many statements of misinformation come from the Department – the truth will still remain. I do believe there are some honest men and women left in Labour – I have met one – so that gives me hope! The rest of you, I urge you all not to be known as the Traitors of Truth.

Here is an article on how to fix this whole mess:


This is Labour’s chance to do the right thing – to tell Fine Gael these laws are wrong – to point them in the direction of a better solution – a system of building control that is fair to the entire Nation and is cost neutral to the State – there is no reason in the world why this system cannot be implemented. After all, the S.I. 9 has erased the right for a family to build their own home – this is like Minister Quinn removing the right to an Education from the Nation because he couldn’t put together a School Inspectorate – it is outrageous! By the way I have noted that Minister Quinn was shown favouritism less than one week after the implementation of S.I. 9 as he ensured his building projects were exempted from these outrageous regulations. Here is the link to the solution that must be implemented with immediate effect:


The Law Society have now advised all Assigned Certifiers not to take on the role of certifier for a self builder.  This is serious as this fact alone renders self build impossible in Ireland today.  Here is the link to the Law Society’s advise:


Ireland is now the only country in the world to ban self building – how sad – how grim – we have become an international joke – the U.K. Government have just introduced the ‘Right to ‘Build’ Scheme which enables low income families to get up and build a home for themselves. They quote an example of the cost of £130,000 to self build as opposed to £220,000 to buy a Building Contractors home – what a huge difference. So the UK Government have set up a system that make it easier to get mortgages to self build, (Build Store UK) they have made  sites available for families etc and they return all VAT on materials used in the build.  This is most admirable of the UK, Australia too, give incentives to self builders, in fact all of Europe enshrine self building.

Now, let us look at what our Government have done to us –  wiped out the rights of the ordinary man and woman to build their own home- and given incentives to Building Contractors and Developers to build more houses! – have you not seen all the Ghost Estates in Ireland? – the CIF said in an interview in January that house prices must rise to make it viable for builders and developers to build houses with a profit – what greed! – let the CIF say that to young families struggling to buy a suitable family home within their budget – disgraceful – the Government are financially supporting and rewarding the same men who have us all on our knees with debt- the same men have now been enshrined in our laws and given incentives to ‘build for profit’ – our coalition Government – Labour & Fine Gael have the audacity and stupidity to fuel the greed of these men – I hope before these men get their ‘reward’ you insist that they go around all their past projects and fix any shoddy workmanship that has shown up since they got their princely sums from the poor buyer – that poor owner who is today in negative equity – I hope their is a ‘fix past projects first’ clause before any financial support goes their way.  Here is the link to an article on this shameful incentive:


Labour Party – unless you make a stand right now and inform Fine Gael that they must revoke these irrational laws for one-off family homes then the Nation will have no choice but to turn their backs on Labour – just as you have turned your backs on the ordinary men and women of Ireland – the Tradesmen, the self builders, the farmers, the architects, the civil engineers, the architectural technologists, the draughtsmen – the local builders merchants and building suppliers – the young apprentices – our children of tomorrow and our ancestors of the past. You have the chance now to strengthen once again the core principles of the Labour Party – take that chance – while the Nation is watching.  It is always the right time to do the right thing – never forget this.

My last piece of advice to you is – do not attempt to have any part in this big commemoration of the 1916 Rising that Fine Gael are organising – because with the introduction of the S.I. 9 Fine Gael have just proved that they no longer ‘put people first’ they now ‘put builders and developers first’ – Fine Gael no longer stand for any principal that the people of the 1916 Rising stood for.  Please remember – the Spirit, the Genes and the DNA of those men, women and children of 1916 are alive and kicking in the men, women and children of the Irish today – we are those people of 1916 – our reputation precedes us when our freedom feels threatened – when our rights are withdrawn from us – when our hopes and dreams are crushed – when our own Government makes our hearts sink with the notion that if we want to build a home for our children we must do so with enormous financial burden – we are the people of 2014 – and we now say enough is enough – free our hands from these chains of the S.I. 9 – and let us all pull together to retrieve the Ireland we all love – it should be your mission to not only get Ireland working again but also to get Ireland ‘smiling’ again.  We cannot even smile anymore with the injustice we feel has been thrown upon us by this Government.

I hope you take on board my suggestions – I am only one of thousands by the way who feel the injustice and I only want to warn you of the destruction the S.I.9 is causing and will cause the economy, the reputation, the community spirit and the lives of the people of this great Nation of ours.

Regards to you all at this difficult time in Ireland,

Mrs Amanda Gallagher