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28/10/2021

'Mica blighting lives' - Minister Charlie McConalogue

Minister and Mica Action Group to meet Housing Minister

Mica has been described as a "blight on people's family lives" at the online public meeting hosted by Minister Charlie McConalogue on Wednesday night (May 19).

Speaking at the conclusion of the meeting, which had just over 400 participants at its height, Minister McConalogue said when the [Defective Concrete Blocks Grant] Scheme opened last June, people worked with it in good faith.

Mr McConalogue added: "However, issues have emerged with the Scheme, which do need to be addressed. My commitment as a Government Minister, liaising closely with my Cabinet colleagues and the Minister for Housing and working with all of our councillors and other Oireachtas representatives, is to ensure that those issues are addressed and get the full consideration of Government.

"I can assure you, I will be doing everything I can to try and get them addressed and make sure the Scheme is fit for purpose and that it fixes people's homes. 

"Mica has been a blight on our county for many, many years. It has been a blight on people's family lives. It has been a blight on people's health. People deserve to get their lives back to normal and to have something, which was no fault of their own, sorted out and to enable them to get on with their lives and not to have to carry it as a burden into the years ahead.

"I also want to thank everybody for their time tonight and the constructive nature of the engagements," said Minister McConalogue.

Among the issues raised at the meeting were calls for a 100% Redress Scheme; dissatisfaction at the lack of engagement by financial institutions and banks; the one home, one scheme clause; the exclusion of parochial houses and second homes from the scheme; the lack of parity between the Pyrite Remediation Scheme and the Mica Redress Scheme; Council constantly questioning engineers' reports; continued Council procurement from the firm which originally supplied the sub-standard blocks; and the need for a public inquiry into the mica scandal.

Cllr Martin McDermott, Chairperson of Donegal County Council's Mica Redress Committee, said all of the issues raised at the meeting would be taken up with the Council Executive.

He added: "We have been pushing a number of these issues over the last few months. There is no doubt, the Scheme needs to be streamlined and made a lot simpler for the homeowner.

"It also needs to be a lot quicker going through the Council process. It is very frustrating for homeowners. We have to push very hard to ensure the Council has the necessary staff in place and the Scheme is streamlined," said Cllr McDermott.

Minister McConalogue, members of the Mica Action Group and members of Donegal County Council's Mica Redress Committee are set to meet Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien to discuss concerns regarding the Mica Redress Scheme, on Thursday (May 20).

UPDATES TO FOLLOW.

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