Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A home in Belmullet that has been ravaged by pyrite.

By Keith Bourke

Some homeowners in Co Mayo fear they will not be able to avail of the long-awaited Pyrite Remediation Scheme.

A group of disgruntled property owners in Erris, where the problem is particularly common, met this weekend on the issue. They worry there are “so many obstacles” that it will be impossible for some of them to receive compensation for their ravaged houses.

Binghamstown woman Josephine Murphy is one of those affected. Josephine said she and other house owners are concerned after learning of some of the terms and conditions proposed for the scheme.

She said there appears to be a number of barriers that could prevent some of the hundreds of Mayo homeowners affected by pyrite receiving compensation. These include: Homeowners having to pay 10 per cent of the overall costs; second properties and holiday homes being excluded; it is understood that retrospective payments will not be paid to homes already ‘fixed’; planning permission will be required for rebuilds; and the cost of alternative accommodation, while work is being carried out, will not be covered.

Mrs Murphy said if some of these conditions are put in place it will put remediation works out of the reach of many.

“People won’t be in a position to go to the bank and get the additional money needed. How are people supposed to then get and pay for alternative accommodation? There are very few houses to rent in this area as there is, notwithstanding the cost.”

Application forms and the terms and conditions of the scheme are expected to be published and made available soon.

Following the State’s commitment in 2018 to repair properties impacted in the two counties, €20m was pledged for the scheme this year with the worst-hit homes to be fixed first.

“The scheme is an exceptional measure in response to an exceptional need. Some homeowners are in dire straits. And this is the confirmation that these people need that the Government is to pay 90 per cent of the cost of repairing affected homes,” said Mayo-based Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring when announcing the scheme last May.

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