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14 Aug 2022

Mica homeowners take redress campaign to the EU stage

Ann Owens

Mica campaigner Ann Owens addressing EU politicans

Members of the mica redress team from Donegal, supported by the Left Group and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanaghan MEP, presented the mica/pyrite defective blocks issue to the EU Petitions Committee (PETI). 

The issue was also discussed by wider redress team members (Eileen Doherty, Eamonn Jackson, Mary O’ Regan - Donegal mica family representatives and Loren Devers - Mayo pyrite family representative) with MEP’s and an EU Commissioner in Brussels. 

Joe Morgan, affected homeowner and campaigner, who oversaw the submission of multiple petitions from affected mica families to PETI earlier this year, spoke on the issue: “We were delighted to be afforded the opportunity to shine a light on the mica scandal at a European level and to demonstrate the failure by the Irish Government in adhering to existing Irish and EU regulations. 

"We highlighted the lack of effective governance and oversight of concrete products in an EU member state by the Irish Government, which resulted in the defective blocks crisis.     

“We were delighted that the EU Committee members, after hearing our submission voted unanimously to keep the petition ‘open’.  This was the best outcome we could have hoped for. 

"PETI will now decide which other mechanisms or committees at EU level will be asked to examine this issue to help support affected families in Ireland. 

"Further, there was agreement that PETI would write to the Irish Government and seek clarify on the issue and how it is being addressed."

Ann Owens, mica redress campaigner and affected homeowner also spoke at the PETI committee.

She said: “It was incredible that a grassroots lobby group from Donegal has succeeded in bringing a campaign from a kitchen table to the EU parliament. It is unfortunate however, that this issue has not been effectively addressed at a national level and that it has become necessary to involve the EU.

"Following the PETI Committee presentation, Joe and I, alongside our fellow Mica redress campaigners; Eileen Doherty, Eamonn Jackson, Mary O’ Regan and Loren Devers, met with Left Group MEP members (including Luke ‘Ming’ Flanaghan (Independent), Mick Wallace (Independents 4 Change), Manon Aubrey (La France Insoumise), Martin Schirdewan (Die Linke/The Left), Claire Daly (Independents 4 Change), Chris McManus (SF), other Irish MEP’s; Sean Kelly (FG), Colm Markey (FG), Barry Andrews (FF), Frances Fitzgerald (FG), Maria Walsh (FG), Billy Kelleher (FF), Spanish MEP Pernando Barrena Arza (Sortu) and EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness (FG), to further highlight the mica and pyrite issue, and to ask for their continued support in applying pressure on the Irish Government to effectively and expediently address this issue on behalf of all affected families.

“Key areas of discussion centred around the deficiencies in the newly released defective blocks scheme (in particular the inadequate sq foot rate/sliding scale) and the potential for an International forum to be established to better understand the impact of mica, pyrite, pyrrhotite etc. on construction products.     

“Importantly, a key item under discussion was the possibility of the EU sending a delegation on a ‘fact finding’ mission to Ireland to better understand the defective blocks issue, how it happened and how it is being addressed at both a local and a national level. The MEPs have agreed to report back on this over the next few months”.   

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