Leitrim Senator Paschal Mooney has raised concerns about the inflated insurance costs for rebuilding properties in Co Leitrim and across the North West.

The Fianna Fáil Senator Mooney told the Seanad this week that insurance costs for rebuilds in Leitrim are particularly disproportionate, as there are so many unfinished and disused properties in the county and prices have plummeted.

“I live in County Leitrim, which has suffered more than most as a result of reckless building by developers and pseudo-developers in recent years.  At 25% we have the highest proportion of both unfinished and unused housing stock, and the housing market in Leitrim will never recover because of the surplus stock. But what the insurance industry is charging for rebuilding has not reduced,” explained Senator Mooney.

“Rather than prices falling proportionately, the insurance system is instead using unreasonable, long-standing benchmarks that actually make costs much higher than they should be.  I believe the benchmark for setting prices in this region in Galway.  Therefore the cost of rebuilding a house in Galway also applies to Leitrim, Sligo or Roscommon where insurance is concerned.

“The industry claims it costs €122 per sq. ft. to rebuild in Leitrim.  But builders in Leitrim and across this region would generally rebuild for as little as €90 per sq. ft.  It is a scandal and consumers are being ripped off to such an extent.  The industry has not changed those benchmarks in spite of the economic downturn.

“I am calling on the Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton to investigate this situation. Essentially the industry is ripping off consumers by charging higher premiums based on exorbitant and unrealistic building costs.  At the end of the day if the house has to be rebuilt, it will not cost a standard €122 per sq. ft, it will cost whatever the current market conditions are in that area.  This is a consumer issue and I believe it is up to Minister Bruton and his department to deal with it,” Senator Mooney said.