Taoiseach denies Donegal mica home owners being treated like 'second class citizens'

Surprise visit to Letterkenny and Raphoe this afternoon

Taoiseach denied Donegal mica home owners being treated like "second class citizens"

Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny this afternoon for the mica meeting

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has denied the people of Donegal were being treated like second-class citizens in relation to the Government's handling of the mica affair.

He was speaking exclusively to Donegal Live this afternoon in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny after coming from a visit to a mica affect home outside Raphoe.

He was accompanied by agriculture minister, Charlie McConalogue however Fianna Fail party councillors here were taken aback at the surprise nature of the visit. Some said they knew nothing about it until a half an hour or so before he arrived.

Donegal Council Council officials said likewise.

Mr Martin met with members of the Mica Action Group and later met with his Fianna Fail colleagues, official from Donegal County Council and TD, Joe McHugh in the hotel for approximately half an hour.

Speaking immediately afterwards the taoiseach was not giving too much away.

"This is a very serious issue for home owners, it's devastating for them the experiences that they've had. The existing scheme in itself will probably go to a billion. That said, I think the Mica Action Group have made a number of very significant points about the operation of the scheme."

He added the meeting with the councillors and officials went well.

"I had a good meeting with the group and the county council. We talked it through. Martin McDermott [chairman of the Donegal Co Council's Mica Redress Committee] spoke of his experiences of it.

"The Government is discussing this and have it under review and I think where this goes from here is the Mica Action Group can engage with the minister and his department and the county council to work through some of the issues they have raised and how we can make this scheme for purpose."

When reminded the public were very angry and felt they were being treated like second class citizens when compared to the way in which the pyrite scheme in Leinster, he strongly denied this was the case

"That's not the case," he replied.

When pushed on the matter and told the perception was people in Donegal had been forgotten about and that their houses were literally crumbling around them, the taoiseach said this scheme was of a far greater scale than any other scheme in this country ever.

"Absolutely, which is shocking," he said.

When asked if he was going to go to Inishowen he said he was now on his way to Enniskillen for the British-Irish Governmental Intergovernmental Conference meeting.

"I will hopefully get back. It's about trying to work out a resolution, that's the whole purpose of my visit here."

When asked if the 90-10% redress scheme be changed the taoiseach was non-committal.

"The situation is under review at the moment and we want to engage with the action group, engage with their proposals. There has to be a structured approach to this. Already the Government has committed up to a billion on this scheme over time obviously but the action group has made the point it needs to be made fit for purpose and we're going to work on that," he said.

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