The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien says that the devastation and stress imposed on homeowners whose properties are contaminated with pyrite or mica is not being underestimated or ignored by Government.
The Minister made his comments in a briefing on the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme for Mayo and Donegal to Cabinet colleagues yesterday, June 9.
Pyrite victims have been protesting against the deficiencies of the scheme and calling for 100% redress for those whose homes are crumbling due to the presence of the deleterious minerals pyrite or mica in their blockwork.
Impacted homeowners in Mayo and Donegal will stage a national demonstration for redress in Dublin at 1pm next Tuesday, June 15.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Minister O’Brien stressed that limits are a feature of grant schemes and ensure they can be budgeted for with the potential financial liability known at all times.
Limits also ensure that the available budget can benefit the majority of properties and the maximum number of people, he said.
“Since the introduction of this scheme last summer over 400 homeowners have applied and their applications are progressing. Where there are issues arising, both my Department and I are continuing to liaise with officials, local authorities and local action groups on how they may be overcome.
“I visited Co. Donegal last August to officially open the scheme and acknowledged that overcoming this issue is a major challenge. I met with the MICA action group in early February 2021 and requested further information from them in relation to their concerns with the scheme. My Department and I have been working through their document which we received five weeks ago and we are liaising with other Departments and agencies to figure out how best to address some of the concerns raised.
The Minister noted that the existing scheme had been informed by the work of an expert panel and was finalised in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Any changes to the scheme would require a whole of Government approach, he concluded.