After an arduous more than 5 year campaign, seeking redress for homeowners Donegal, the Mica Action Group (MAG) has welcomed the positive news that a mica redress scheme has finally been approved by Cabinet yesterday and would congratulate and commend all of the homeowners on this historic day in terms of our long campaign for redress. This scheme enables families affected by defective blocks, to now start the process of fixing their homes and moving on with their lives.
Ann Owens Chairperson on the Mica Action Group said:
“It was indeed a significant day. It was the day that the mica redress scheme finally crossed the line and was given the green light at Government level. We, as a group and along with the many homeowners who have joined us in this campaign were finally taken seriously at the highest levels of Government. We should all take a minute and consider the mammoth feat that has been accomplished.
“There are aspects of this announcement that are disappointing; for example the fact that only 20million euro was allocated to this huge issue across Donegal and Mayo for this year. However, having sought clarity from Government yesterday, we have been given an absolute assurance that this signals a genuine commitment from Government which will be evident through a significant increase in the budget year-on-year from here on in, so that the number of homes fixed can be significantly ramped up.
“Unfortunately we have not been privy to the details of the scheme yet, however we have been told that a team of Senior Civil Servants will travel to Donegal next week to kick off discussions with Donegal County Council in order to finalise the details of the scheme and to make them public (i.e. the application process etc.). We are told that the ‘worst’ homes will be prioritised and fixed first. This is great news and given our knowledge of affected homeowners on the ground, we have asked and been assured that we will be included in this prioritisation process and in discussions around the scheme as a whole, to ensure that those most in need are dealt with first.
“Some of you may be disappointed that a 10% percentage per household charge will apply to the overall cost of repair/replacement of your home. We too in MAG are disappointed and frustrated. However, it is important to note that a NIL household charge would have required new underpinning legislation (as in the case of pyrite) which would have taken at the very least a year to bring to the statute book, and in our opinion may have put this very scheme at risk. Due to the very progressive nature of this issue, many homeowners simply do not have the luxury of time to wait. However we intend to continue to push for supports (from a number of potential sources) to be made available to help those in most need to be able to fix their home.
“Many families affected by this issue have supported MAG on this campaign. Many have opened their hearts and their homes to us, to the media and to local and national Politicians right up to the highest level of Government, to illustrate the difficulties they were facing and to share their very personal stories. Whilst it has been a long and difficult effort to reach such a landmark decision, MAG has been humbled to have stood shoulder to shoulder with so many families on this challenging journey. We would therefore like to pay tribute to the dignity and determination of the families who have struggled and strived over many years to reach this momentous decision. Indeed, their efforts and strong determination to see a redress scheme delivered by the government has provided inspiration to other people in Ireland and internationally who are facing structural problems with their homes through no fault of their own. This campaign could not have succeeded without them.
“I think it is clear that whilst this is a significant milestone in the campaign, we are not there yet. There is still work to do to in order to keep pressure on Government until every last home is fixed and that is exactly what we intend to do.
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