05/08/2021

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Raphoe Councillor considering 'stepping down' to focus on mica issue

Government can shove their unjust redress scheme 'where the sun don't shine' - Cllr Frank McBrearty

Cllr Frank McBrearty

Raphoe Councillor considering 'stepping down' to focus on mica issue

Outspoken Donegal County Councillor Frank McBrearty (Independent) has described the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme (Mica Redress Scheme) as "unjust".

The Raphoe Councillor also revealed he was "considering stepping down from the Council to concentrate 100% on the High Court cases" he is lodging against the State regarding the Mica Issue.

Speaking to Donegal Live, Cllr McBrearty said the "Government can shove their unjust redress scheme where the sun don't shine".

Cllr McBrearty added: "My family and I have instead decided, when we receive the mica test results on my father's [Frank McBrearty Sr] home, the first of multiple statements of claim will be issued in the High Court. 

"We will seek permission from the High Court that, due to the exceptional circumstances of dad's health problems, his case be brought on as soon as possible.

"If we lose this case, we will appeal to the Supreme Court and if we lose there, we will then lodge that case in the European Court of Human Rights and we will get justice necessary for us to rebuild our own homes."

Cllr McBrearty said he had been "very proud to be a Donegal man" at the mica rally in Dublin on Tuesday.

"I was also very proud of the thousands of Donegal people who took to the streets of Dublin to show our unjust Government we are not going to be treated like second class citizens any longer. I hope the Government got the message loud and clear, but I doubt it.

"As a proud Donegal man, I want to thank the people of Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Galway, Clare,  Derry, Tyrone and Fermanagh, some of whom I talked with yesterday at the rally. I want to congratulate Paddy Diver for putting on the rally and the manner and dignity shown by everyone there. It has shown this unjust Government that we demand justice, nothing more, nothing less, and we won't stop until justice is served, for the people and by the people.

"What I witnessed yesterday was like the day Donegal won the All Ireland Sam Maguire Cup. I had the honour of being Mayor and First Citizen of Donegal that day which I will remember until I die. What I witnessed was people power," said Cllr McBrearty.

Cllr McBrearty said his family, wider family circle and their many friends in the Lagan and Finn valley and other parts of Donegal, who are suffering from the Mica virus, which will leave each of their homes destroyed over the next number years, will not wait any longer for an unjust scheme to rebuild their homes.

He added: "We built our homes with our own hands to the highest standards and it is of no fault of our own that Cassidy Bros Concrete Products Limited supplied us with defective concrete and concrete blocks. This is due to the failure of this unjust Government to protect us from this terrible injustice, which has been inflicted on us. In  my opinion, the Irish State's legislation, and the lack of it, is the reason our homes are crumbling.

"The homes of many other Donegal people at the rally yesterday have also been destroyed by the Mica virus. This is not a campaign any longer, it is a fight for Justice. Our rights as Irish and European citizen's must be upheld.

"This unjust Government can shove their unjust redress scheme where the sun doesn't shine. In Dublin yesterday, I witnessed people in their 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s, 20s and the many teenager's and children who are suffering due to Mica. On the way home in the car, I asked Dermot Farrell, a native of Gort in County Galway whose home in Raphoe tested positive for Mica two weeks ago, how he was going to get his 'forever' home rebuilt?

"What really stuck in my mind going home was a placard which read, 'It's too late for me I'm 70'. Who is going to help all the OAPs to rebuild their homes before they die. Neither the current Scheme or a 100% Redress one won't. People cannot afford mentally, physically or financially to wait five, 10, 15 or 20 years to have their homes rebuilt. Just look at the snail's pace at which Donegal County Council and the State are currently dealing with Mica applications. It is well over a year since they started and not one home has been demolished or one started for a rebuild. This is just one of the many reasons any scheme brought in by Government will not work," said Cllr McBrearty.

Cllr McBrearty said the cases which he is planning to lodge before the High Court over the coming months would force the State to "financially compensate" the people concerned and allow them to rebuild their homes.

He added: "Contractors charging up to €205 per square foot is not justice.

"My father Frank Sr is 77 years old with heart failure, diabetes and other underlying health problems. How many other OAPs are in the same boat? My father built a new home for my mother Rosiland and himself, so that his large family could come home for holidays to Ireland, so his many grandchildren and great grandchildren could stay with my mother and him in their twilight years.

"A year past in February, my father retired after 56 years in business in Scotland and Raphoe, just three weeks before the first Covid-19 lock down. In April, my mum decided to get their new home painted, that was when we discovered there were spider like cracks everywhere. I told dad, 'I think you have Mica'. I think dad suspected this for some time. We took the decision then we were going have our homes checked properly, to determine whether we had Mica or not. Two weeks ago disaster happened, my father's house was confirmed as having Mica.

"Dad spent €750,000 building his new home, which is his and mum's pride and joy. However, that joy is now sliding into the abyss. The house today will cost anything between €180,000 and €205,000 per square foot to rebuild. This will cost them in the region of €1.5 million if it is rebuilt by a contractor.

"We built all of our own homes to the highest standards possible. This scheme, whether it is 100% or not, doesn't allow us to rebuild our own homes again. I believe that 50% of homes in Donegal have been self builds, done by many of the best tradesmen in the country.  Dad has now to wait two months for his results to come back from the laboratory in England, so our engineer can write up his report. Dermot Farrell  will get the same results as dad, as his house was tested on the same day," said Cllr McBrearty.

The wider McBrearty family has decided, when the mica reports come back, the first of multiple statements of claim will be issued in the High Court starting with his father Frank McBrearty Sr.

He added: "We will seek permission from the High Court that, due to the exceptional circumstances of dads health, his case be brought on as soon as possible. If we lose this case we will appeal to the Supreme Court and if we lose there we will then lodge that case in the European Court of Human Rights. We will get justice for us to rebuild our own homes.

"I am considering stepping down from the Council in order to concentrate 100% on the multiple case's we will take against the State. Anyone that wants to come along on that journey for true Justice is welcome to join us in this war, where there will be many battles fought before we win and we will win, no matter how long it takes.

"People will ask, 'Why step down from the Council?' well when I wasn't a politician people couldn't criticise me that it was political. I am not institutionalised like many other politicians are and never will be. I don't tell people what they want to hear or promise them the holy grail and if they don't like it that's their problem.

"Over the past three weeks, I have watched what has been happening to people looking for 100% redress. We all hoped that the campaign, which should be called a fight for Justice, would win the war, but he only way to get justice in this disaster is to sue the Government and the Irish State, with multiple civil suits in the High Court. The Redress Scheme is defective anyway, whether it's 100% or not. We have people who are willing to donate funds to this legal battle which will help so much in order for us to get the Justice we deserve," concluded Cllr McBrearty.

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