'Take your head out of the sand Taoiseach' - McBrearty

Vulture funds and banks are destroying Donegal families, councillor says

"Take your head out of the sand taoiseach" - McBrearty

Cllr Frank McBrearty as he prepared to leave his Raphoe home this morning

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been told to 'take his head out of the sand' and act now in the interests of everyone affected by mica and pyrite.

Speaking from Dublin this afternoon, independent councillor, Frank McBrearty has outlined what the Fianna Fail leader needs to do for the people of Donegal and other counties today.

"I welcome the news that Taoiseach, Micheal Martin TD is now seeking the advice of the Attorney General of Ireland, but why has he not done so long before now.

"He told the Sunday Independent that 33% of homes that have applied for Government assistance 'will require demolition'  and added there could be 1,000 council house's impacted.

"His PR people advising him and who spoke with the Independent are not being very honest with the Irish people about how bad this disaster is.

He said he should be telling people: every home, agricultural, commercial, council property and much more in this county may have mica due to the concrete manufacturing companies in Donegal and possibly in other countries that have used a quarry in Donegal that has allegedly quarried aggregate that has mica, pyrite and may also have other minerals that can cause concrete products to crumble

"We can see what has happened to thousands of properties so far in Donegal and there is more of this to come if this quarry is not closed.

"The quarry at the centre of the allegations has been using aggregate from it for years and Donegal County Council gave this quarry a 25 year extension to continue to operate. Why has he not told the AG this, our Government's top legal adviser.

"33% sounds good to some people but the reality is, just over 400 applications have been made to the unjust scheme since it started taking applications just over a year ago and no house to date has started demolition or has their been one new un infected mica block built in its place and that's a fact."
Cllr McBrearty added the Government is taking the line that not all the houses affected will need to be demolished, this is what they want the public to believe "were fixing the problem" and some do believe it.

"When a house with mica tests positive - just like Covid-19 - the engineer's report will clearly state this. This unjust scheme is designed mostly for remedial works such as taking the outer skin of blocks down and rebuilding them with new ones "hopefully not mica ones' '.

"No engineer can indemnify any property that tests positive for mica or has only had remedial works such as the replacement of the outer skin of a cavity wall replaced by new blocks.

"If an engineer does indemnify any home or property it will not stand up in law, due to the property still having a report that it tested positive for mica above 1% and the fact is that 1% or below is the recommended content of mica in order that this will ensure your home will not crumble before your eyes over a 10 to 15 year period," he said.

"What we need taoiseach is to help these families to completely rebuild their homes with a 100% redress scheme, that covers all properties with no hidden costs, their accommodation covered by the State while their homes are rebuilt, that their storage needs are financially covered by the state and that there are no hidden costs in the detail.

Cllr McBrearty added he did not understand why he wasn't shocked before he came to Donegal.

"I have sent him some of the harrowing testimonials on YouTube concerning the plight of mica homeowners. In my email I raise details of the shocking allegations against the quarry in question that has allegedly contributed to the problems in Donegal. What is scandalous is his failure to ensure the people affected by the worst scandal ever in the Irish State are protected under Article 40 of the Constitution (equal rights)," he said.

He added the Taoiseach talks about a degree of balance in terms of the level of State contribution which will be very, very significant.

"What about families' plight with the bank and vulture funds. I am surprised he didn't mention this, but he does mention insurance companies seem to have walked away and home bonds are non-existent.

"There are many cases out there of banks harassing families over a number of years especially with threats of foreclosure and the courts.

"They haven't, as far as I know, gone down the court route with mica homes owners and here are the reasons: they sell the mortgage to vulture funds then those vulture funds begin the same process of threats to take houses of the people but their problem now is that they can't sell any homes they  would repossess.

"There are a number of case's now where by these vulture funds have negotiated with families down to a price €50,000 but they won't get this as lawyers have had their client's value their mica homes and the average for example: your home is only valued as a site due to it needing to be demolished.
"Government should hold banks and vulture funds to account for all the suffering these families have gone through. It is my opinion that Irish law on the family home makes it very difficult for banks and vulture funds to fight any family that has a good legal team to defend their rights.

"I know of vulture funds starting at 200K and are now at 60, 50, 40, 30 and even 20K this is primarily due to them not being able to sell these homes as they have an engineer's report stating they tested positive for mica or pyrite. As the Taoiseach says this is "scandalous".

He added it has been brought to his attention that rumours are circulating around Leinster House that the indications are that there is going to be an announcement about some type of inquiry.

"These same rumours are circling in the Law Library also. If this is true half measures won't do, only a full independent judicial public inquiry, with the victims having their say in setting the terms of reference so that the full truth will come out. An Taoiseach get your head out of the sand and acts in the people's interests so justice is served," he said.

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