THE Mica Redress Scheme will open next Monday, it has been confirmed.
At a meeting of the Mica Redress Scheme Committee this afternoon in the Aura Leisure Centre, Letterkenny, Donegal County Council announced that the application process will begin from Monday, June 29.
“This is a very important day for Donegal and for the homeowners who have been suffering for a long number of years,” said Councillor Martin McDermott, a member of the Mica Steering Group, said.
“These people just want to get their houses fixed and get some normality to their lives.
“We are delighted that the scheme has been given a date and will start on Monday morning. It is a momentous day for the county.
“Hopefully we are at the start of a new, important journey and one that is close to our hearts. People have been in dire straits. Hopefully we are on the road to recovery and on the way to getting houses fixed.”
A three-stage application process was outlined by Patsy Lafferty, the divisional manager with the House Department at Donegal County Council. Mr Lafferty urged applicants to appoint a competent engineer to oversee the process.
Mr Lafferty confirmed that Donegal County Council staff have been identified and assigned to the scheme. Since the guidelines were announced in May, staff have been in place and are receiving training.
A new website has been developed and will go live this evening at www.donegalcoco.ie/defecticeconcreteblocks
The new website will serve as a guide for applicants and engineers and a direct email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – will also be live from Monday.
An online application system is being developed and final testing on that is currently ongoing. It is hoped that officials will be able to receive applications through this medium from Monday next, June 29.
“We want to ensure that the process is as efficient as possible,” Mr Lafferty said.
Joe Peoples, Director of Housing, Corporate & Cultural Services at Donegal County Council, said ‘a very significant amount of time and effort’ had been put into the process.
He said: “We look forward to receiving applications and to helping people. Many people out there need help. We will only know how many there are when we begin to get applications.
“It is a great place for us to be and we are very proud to be able to do that.”
In October 2018, cabinet approved a redress scheme for private houses affected by bad blocks containing high levels of the mineral mica in Donegal, but the plans were delayed at that stage.
Last October, the Mica Action Group met with government ministers, who confirmed that, while the scheme had been finalised between the Department of Housing and Donegal County Council, it was with the Attorney General for final sign off.
The final hurdle was cleared in May and now affected homeowners will finally be able to submit applications.
The Mica Action Group, a voluntary group, was formed in early 2014 by individuals whose own homes are cracking due to defective blocks.
The objective of the group has been to seek redress for homeowners affected by this issue.
The group has engaged with government on a local and on a national level since its establishment.
Councillor Liam Blaney said: “This is a day that has been a long time coming, despite a lot of false dawns.
“A lot of homeowners will be delighted and it is a great news story.”
Councillor Jimmy Kavanagh said it was a ‘good day for everyone who has suffered for so long.
The news was also welcomed by Councillors Gerry McMonagle, Albert Doherty, Paul Canning and Terry Crossan.Tags: