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Support Irish owners of properties in Carmenes del Mar, La Herradura

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Carmenes del Mar is a community of 416 homes situated in the seaside village of La Herradura in the municipality of Almuñecar in Granada, Spain of which a large percentage of the owners are Irish. The houses were completed and sold between 2001 and 2005 and very soon afterwards it became clear that there were very significant structural problems. Cracks began to appear in houses, streets and swimming pools. In 2007 the owners commissioned a geological study. The resulting report delivered by Dr. D. José Chacón Montero, a professor from the University of Granada specialising in Geotechnics (Dept. of Civil Engineering), known as the “Chacón Report 2008”, made it clear that the building techniques used in the construction of the houses were not adequate for the type of terrain being built on. The report demonstrated a pre-existing tendency to landslides on the hillside, described in old geological manuals, and showed that the geological deficiencies of the land made it wholly unsuited to this type of construction. Additionally, the report showed that a suitable geological survey had not been carried out. In other words, the special characteristics of the terrain being built on were known, but nothing was done to avert the problem.

Since that report was presented the situation has deteriorated at an alarming rate. Some houses have collapsed, the Almuñecar Town Hall has condemned others and ordered their owners to quit, and public access routes have become dangerous. 

Faced with this situation, the affected home-owners have set in motion a whole series of legal actions whose aim is to defend themselves and to try to save their homes. Up to now, these actions have presented evidence of, for example, the existence of expert reports that advised against the construction techniques used in this zone. It is possible that the judicial process will last another five or six years, which could mean that by the time a final sentence is pronounced, it will not be feasible to repair the damages, all because of a political class and a legislative system that protects the builder at the expense of the buyer. 

The property owners, many of whom are foreign residents in Spain and a significant percentage of whom are Irish, feel that they have been abandoned to their fates. Neither the Almuñecar Town Hall, nor the Junta de Andalucia is willing to help and the owners are left with the prospect of their life-savings being lost and their homes collapsing, and with that their dreams of a long and happy retirement in Spain. 

We, the Irish owners of Carmenes del Mar ask the Embassy of Ireland to represent us and to intercede on our behalf at the highest political and diplomatic level in Spain. We ask that the Junta de Andalucia and Central Government in Madrid act now to remedy the situation while there is still time to save Carmenes del Mar.

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