Mica affected home owner, Veronica Lafferty, feels Department is changing the rules
A Donegal mother-of-three says she feels “broken” such is the toll the 10 year mica controversy is taking on her life.
Speaking to Donegal Now, a clearly emotional Veronica Lafferty said: “I am sick of the whole situation to be honest. When I talk about it I feel broken and emotional but I am really angry and determined as well.
“People talk about ‘mental health’, about reaching out if you need help. I need help but The Samaritans are no good to me because I don’t need a listening ear. We need our houses fixed and it is not The Samaritans that can do this, it is the people that are meant to be looking after our country.
“So, I am not asking The Samaritans for help, I am asking our Government to please help us as we are on our knees and we can’t take anymore.”
On Sunday morning past, Veronica penned her powerful poem, 'You Have Let Us Down' in response to her situation and the situation hundreds of mica-affected home owners in Donegal are currently facing.
Veronica said: “I was moved to write the poem as I was sitting on my wee couch, which is just below my bay window. I had just made myself a cup of coffee and as I was drinking it, and the next thing I knew, I was getting drips of water on my head. Sadly, I knew exactly what it was. I just thought, 'I can't take this any more'.
“So, I got my phone and, bearing in mind, I am an artist and a hairdresser not a writer, I wrote that poem in ten minutes because I was really, really passionate about it. Mica is affecting my life. It is serious.
“It is the not knowing what the future holds for me and my kids. I already feel that my oldest, who is 16, will be away soon and will not get a chance to enjoy her home. Many's a night I cry. I am in the shower and I am sitting on the floor and I could be crying my heart out because, by the time my house is fixed, if it gets fixed, my oldest daughter will be away. I just get angry.
“I also have mice now because of the gaps in our walls. There was one caught in the trap today. I have mice coming in. It is just like open doors for them to come in. We can't keep them out. We have mouse traps everywhere but we can hear the mice crawling up the walls. When we are lying in bed, we can hear them,” said Veronica.
Veronica said every cent she earns was going straight into her crumbling house.
She added: “I don't think I am a princess. I know what it is like to not have much but, to be honest, but I worked really hard to get my home. Every cent I earn is going into this house. have spent thousands of euro on mica tests and a lot of that money will not be covered by the Mica Redress Scheme. Because we were one of the ones to first find out that there was something wrong with the house, we actually have spent a lot of money on tests, and they will not be covered by the Scheme.
“I think the 10% contribution put on the home owners is harsh. However, now they are trying to get out of paying what is called 'non qualified work' in Section 11, of the guidelines. This includes, the unnecessary replacement of items such as windows, doors and kitchens.
“It is totally, totally, totally necessary for me to have windows in my house, otherwise I would be building my house without windows or doors or a kitchen. I don't think the Government politicians give a damn about us. I feel that the Minister does not give a damn. I have been told it is not Donegal County Council that is changing the Scheme, so it must be at a higher level.
“Somebody, somewhere is misinterpreting what has been written in the Scheme because windows and doors are necessary. I am sick of the whole situation to be honest. When I talk about this I feel broken and emotional. I am really angry and determined,” said Veronica.
Veronica felt her house would be fixed but asked: “At what cost?”
She said: “I think my husband and I are going to be in a lot of financial difficulty when we fix the house. I think the house will be fixed because there is no other option. But I do think we are going to be left financially in a really bad situation. I am going to have to pay what I should not have to pay. We are going to be in debt that we should not be in. We are not looking for handouts. We simply want what we have already paid for,” said Veronica.
The ceiling of Veronica Lafferty's sitting room.
You have let us down
By Veronica Lafferty
As I sit here beside my window with the water dripping on my head, I wonder how this could have happened should I just go back into my bed ...
You have taken my children's castle my home, my safe place where I should rest. You have made my brown hair turn to the colour, only age should turn instead ...
Our home is now a burden why would you choose this path the greed the ugly heart. You have is one I'll never have ...
My husband works such long long hours to fix what will be gone, On hoping that soon one day, the scheme will be fair and done ...
This 10% you make us pay, the banks will smile again, as we have paid already and now we pay again.
I wonder how you sleep at night knowing what has been done. I pray the pressure you have put on us was worth it, for us it's just begun.
So much hurt you have caused to family's friends around. I try to play it down to all, so it's easier on them ...
How will this all end I really do not know, 10 years on the waiting and still it is so slow.
I want what we have worked for, that is all I'm asking for but then I tell myself be grateful as, it's not what's on the outside it's what's living in the crumbling four walls, at least we have each other we will build the walls again ...
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