Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said financial institutions have agreed to participate in a voluntary fund to resolve problems caused by pyrite in houses.

Mr Hogan told the Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht that substantial progress has been made in negotiations in recent days.

He said those responsible for causing the problems have a responsibility to help resolve it.

Some 850 homes are in need of immediate remediation.

He has now asked the Construction Industry Federation and Irish Concrete Federation to discuss proposals arising from the engagement of the financial sector at upcoming meetings.

He said the Pyrite Resolution Board will be established within days, and if the concrete and construction sectors do not voluntarily take part, he will seek the Government's permission to impose a mandatory levy on the sector to fund remedial work on houses.

Mr Hogan said the advantage of a voluntary fund is that the money will be available upfront, whereas a levy would take months to accrue.

But he warned that "if we have to go down road of forcing people to pay the levy we will do that".

An expert panel on pyrite reported in June that 74 housing estates, involving 12,254 ground floor dwellings were affected by pyrite damage.

It said 850 homes were in need of immediate remediation.

Campaigners say the number of houses involved could be substantially more.