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Agreement Reached in Pyrite Case

As reported in the Irish Times on 9th November 2010 - A multi-million euro trust fund is to be set up to repair faults in over 500 north Dublin homes and compensate owners for the problems caused by defects such as cracks and swelling.

Menolly Homes, which built the houses, and the Lagan Group, which supplied the infill prior to construction, have reached agreement to establish the fund, the Commercial Court heard last week.

The development heralds the end of a long-running court battle between the two parties - 150 days of hearing in the case.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan welcomed the agreement reached by the parties and noted that the case was "one of the longest running and probably the most expensive, from the point of view of litigation costs, in the history of the State".

The deal was also welcomed by lawyers for the homeowners in the Drynam Hall, Myrtle and Beaupark estates, whose own legal cases have been delayed by the long-running action.

Lawyers for the homeowners will now enter into talks with the companies, and the help of a mediator, to see if the proposed trust fund forms the basis of an acceptable settlement.

Mr Justice Gilligan warned that if the litigation was restarted, it was unlikely to end before the middle of 2012.

He said he was always acutely conscious of the plight of the homeowners, who were "caught in the middle" of a substantial commercial litigation. "It is clearly in all parties' best interests that the monies being expended on the litigation before the court be utilised towards the remediation of the affected homeowners' houses."

The settlement would bring certainty and assurance to all parties, including the homeowners, against the background of difficult economic circumstances.

In the case, Menolly claimed that stone infill material from one of the Lagan companies contained excessive amounts of pyrite mineral, which swells when it comes into contact with water. The Lagan group blamed the problems on defects in construction.