No plans for Taoiseach to meet Mica demonstrators in Dublin
No arrangements have been made, as yet, for An Taoiseach Micheál Martin to meet representatives of the ‘100% Redress No Less’ group during its Dublin Mica demonstration.
Speaking to Donegal Live, Minister Charlie McConalogue, said he would be unable to attend the event, which is taking place at the Convention Centre on June 15, as he would be involved in CAP negotiations at a European Agricultural Council meeting in Lisbon.
Minister McConalogue also said he was “open to listening to people’s suggestions in relation to a Public Inquiry”.
He added: “However, I think the first thing people who are calling for a Public Inquiry have to assess is how helpful was the investigation carried out by the Expert Panel on Concrete Blocks. In terms of what the fault lines were and what went wrong, an awful lot of work and engagement did happen through the Expert Panel.
“I am open, however, to listening to any suggestion anyone would have to further add to the Panel’s work, in terms of enlightenment on what went wrong and what else is there to be assessed.”
In relation to Donegal County Council’s continuing procurement from a quarry which historically supplied defective products, Minister McConalogue, said he “fully understood the public’s frustration” around the issue.
He added: “I understand Donegal County Council has sought legal advice on this matter. I have not seen that legal advice, however, public bodies are obliged to follow tender legislation.”
Minister McConalogue referenced the online Mica public meeting he organised a fortnight ago and April’s meeting of the Mica Action Group, Donegal Oireachtas members, Donegal Cathaoirleach Rena Donaghey and the Chair of Donegal County Council’s Mica Redress Committee Chairperson, Martin McDermott, with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.
He said: “Minister O’Brien is continuing to fully consider all of the issues that are emerging from the [Defective Concrete Blocks Grant] Scheme and the submissions made to him by the Mica Action Group. There is no time scale on that.
“However, I am pushing hard on issues for which it is possible to have earlier decisions, including, upfront costs, Local Property Tax and flexibility around planning.“As a Donegal Minister and a Donegal voice at cabinet, I will be representing any way I can the interests of home owners in the county, as the challenges emerge. I will be pushing for 100% of the costs for homeowners with my Government colleagues. The final outcome will be known when all of the issues are considered by the whole Government.
“I have been working on the Mica issue since 2013, when it first became clear there was issue. It is the biggest issue facing our county. It affects every family in the northern half of our county and is the source of immense grief, stress and challenge for all the families that are affected,” said Minister McConalogue.
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