Members of the Mica Action Group (MAG) have urged the government to start the roll-out of the highly anticipated redress scheme to enable repair of the homes of those affected by the defective blocks issue across the county.
The announcement comes as homeowners await details on how a €20million investment, which was announced earlier this year, will be used on a redress scheme.
On Tuesday, Minister Joe McHugh said that a ‘special funding pot’ of €40million will be set aside in 2020 for the fixing of homes affected by both Mica and Pyrite.
However, MAG believes that this is not nearly enough to get all of the homes fixed; where government estimates put the number of those affected to be in the region of 5000 homes.
Ann Owens Chairperson of the MAG said: “Over the course of the last number of months, MAG asked the Department of Housing for a significant increase in the Budget for 2020 to enable work to get underway to fix the homes of those affected by the mica issue.
“With the allocation of an additional twenty-million euro, our initial thoughts were that this was not nearly enough to fix all of the homes affected.
“However, we have sought clarity on this issue and today received confirmation that should this money be spent throughout 2020, we are in position to seek further drawdown of funds from the Department of Housing to continue this work over the course of this year.
“This is what happened in the case of Pyrite and Minister Damien English has confirmed MAG are in position to seek the same treatment to apply to homeowners in Donegal.
“Currently we have over 1400 homeowners registered with MAG, however, we believe the number to be significantly larger than this.
“It is imperative that affected homeowners continue to register in order for us to continue to exert pressure on government and to illustrate the huge scale of this problem.
“Importantly, the level of the Budget allocated becomes significant only when the actual scheme is opened. Last week it was one year since we received the news that redress was approved by Cabinet.
“It is very disappointing and frustrating therefore to think that a year on we are still effectively no further forward and few details of the scheme have been provided and importantly the applications process is still not open.
“It is time to give this issue the urgency it deserves. We have had enough procrastination and delay and quite honestly homeowners are at the end of their tether.
“On a daily basis, we are contacted by homeowners who tell us how their homes are deteriorating at an alarming rate. Over the weekend one of these families posted a video on our Facebook page showing the blocks in such bad condition now that they simply disintegrate in the home owner’s hands.
“This situation is a catastrophe waiting to happen and the Government is putting homeowners lives at risk and in an impossible position as they have nowhere else to go.
“There is no single bigger issue than this in the county at the minute and it is time that those tasked with finalising this scheme and with its roll-out, treated this with the immediate action it deserves.
“We, therefore, call on the Department of Housing and Donegal County Council to stop pointing the finger at each other and to just get on with the job of getting the homes of families who are desperately affected by this issue, fixed as soon as possible.”