11 Aug 2022

Joe McHugh won’t support mica redress scheme until changes are made

The Fine Gael TD has called for sliding scale to be removed from the scheme

Donegal TD to chair important Brexit Bill meeting this morning

Donegal TD Joe McHugh has given the new mica redress scheme a cautious welcome but says he cannot support it

Donegal Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh says he cannot support the enhanced mica redress scheme as it stands but hopes the Government will make changes to the controversial sliding scale which has been rejected by the Mica Action Group.

The reducing scale for rebuilding costs, which drops from €145 per square foot after the first 1,000 square feet, has been criticised by mica campaigners and Opposition Donegal TDs who say it will not deliver 100% redress to homeowners.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien has insisted the scheme will give 100% redress.

Mr McHugh has previously threatened to give up the Government whip if the redress scheme does not satisfy homeowners. He has given the new scheme a cautious welcome but said he could not support it as presented. 

“The announcement yesterday was that it is a 100% scheme. As of now, it is not a 100% scheme. Until that is rectified, no absolutely, I won’t be backing that scheme," he said.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said he has asked the Minister for Housing to look at the sliding scale element of the €2.2bn scheme again.

“To be honest, I don’t see the logic of having in there. It never formed any part of the conversations or the negotiations between the mica group and the officials and I think it would be the right thing to do to just get rid of it altogether.”

He said the minister had not been able to explain to him the logic of having the sliding scale in the scheme. 

“I just don’t understand how you can introduce something as substantive as a square footage issue at the eleventh hour without due consideration. This was introduced on Monday night, Monday evening.”

The former Government chief whip said he believes that if the Government had proposed a flat rate of €145 per square foot, the scheme would have been accepted by mica campaigners.

“The 43 houses that are being reconstructed at the moment through the first scheme are €150 per square foot -  that’s the average cost”, he said.

He said Darragh O'Brien has assured him he will look at the issue and there is time to make changes before the legislation comes before the Oireachtas.

“I will be calling on him and calling my own party colleagues tonight to try to come out and assure homeowners sooner rather than later.”

READ MORE: Cabinet approves €2.2bn mica redress scheme

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