Mica homeowners protest outside Dáil

ireland
Mica Homeowners Protest Outside Dáil Mica Homeowners Protest Outside Dáil
Mica homeowners, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Dominic McGrath, PA

Protesters from Donegal gathered outside the Dáil on Thursday to demand a 100 per cent mica redress scheme.

It was the latest protest to call for a 100 per cent redress scheme for homeowners whose properties were built using defective bricks containing excessive amounts of the mineral mica in Donegal, Mayo and other counties.

On Wednesday, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien attended the final meeting of a working group set up to consider changes to a compensation scheme for those impacted by mica.

In a statement, Mr O’Brien said: “The homeowner representatives have submitted a very detailed proposal as to what they wish to see in an enhanced scheme and I would like to thank them for their engagement and proposals.

“I expect to have receipt of the report of the working group tomorrow which I will then consider.”

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“As for the next steps, I will, along with the Taoiseach, Tanaiste, Minister Ryan, Minister Donohoe and Minister McGrath, and with input from the Attorney General, consider proposals which can then be presented to Cabinet in a memo.

“I intend to bring this memo to Cabinet in the coming weeks.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien (Niall Carson/PA)

“Enhancements to the scheme will be required and will be made with whole of Government approval.

“I will be meeting with and briefing colleagues in Government on this matter over the coming days,” the minister said.

On Thursday Paddy Diver, one of the leaders of the campaign, said that he had no confidence in the housing minister to deliver on his promises.

“I’m not impressed.

“They’re kicking the can down the street all the time,” he said.

“I don’t think Darragh O’Brien cares.

“He cares more about his image and his hairstyle than he does care about mica.

“He is playing with people’s minds.”

“He told them there’d be an answer at the end of September.

“Now he says the first week of October.

“Then he said the third week of October.

“Darragh O’Brien needs to get his act together.”

He called on people to attend a protest organised in Dublin next month.

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“We are asking for the support of everybody who knows anyone affected by pyrite and mica.”

Helen McLaughlin, who lives in Dublin but is from Donegal, attended the demonstration outside the Dáil.

“I’m from Buncrana originally and I think how this whole Mica disaster has played out has just been devastating and we’re here to lend support to our own local community in Buncrana, but also obviously to the wider community beyond Donegal.”

“We really think, taking time to come here today, the Government really has to get something over the line.

“It cannot go on any longer.”

A member of the mica working group has said that she believes the Government will deliver a 100 per cent redress scheme.

Ann Owens told Newstalk Breakfast that she had seen a change in attitude and was confident about a 100 per cent scheme.

The Government now understood that the previous scheme would not work, she said.

“It was never a 90/10 scheme and there were so many obstacles to families accessing that. Charges of up to €6,000 to get a lab to test cores, the payment of structural engineers, etc.,” she said.

The working group had been happy with the meeting with the Minister on Wednesday. It had been part of the process and had to happen, added Ms Owens.

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“Remember that we're getting to the end game, so this is a culmination of 10 years campaigning. We have brought this from virtually the kitchen table to the Cabinet table.

“Campaigners wanted to see decision-making, implementation and to actually save lives and limit further damage to families.”

A summary due to be presented to the homeowners on Thursday will be looked at carefully, she added. It will be thoroughly scrutinised and then ratified by family members.

The group had been told by the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien that he would be presenting a memo to Cabinet within two to three weeks — that he could not do that any earlier, she said. — Additional reporting from Vivienne Clarke

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