The Minister for Housing has said he is working on addressing concerns with the Mica Redress Scheme.
Minister Darragh O’Brien TD today provided Cabinet with an update on the disputed Defective Concrete Blocks Grants Scheme for Donegal and Mayo.
He said that the devastation and stress of affected homeowners was not being underestimated or ignored by Government.
It is understood that Donegal Minister Charlie McConalogue spoke passionately at the meeting about the impact of the issue on Donegal people and that he echoed his pledge to back 100% redress.
Minister O’Brien, having met with with public representatives, action groups and local authorities in recent weeks, said his department is working on issues raised with the scheme.
Commenting Minister O’Brien 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 existing scheme was informed by the work of an Expert Panel and finalised in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As such, any changes to the scheme would require a whole of Government approach.”
The Defective Concrete Blocks Grants Scheme opened for applications at the end of June 2020 and is administered by Donegal and Mayo County Councils. 433 applications have been received by the two local authorities to date with five remedial options available to homeowners ranging from external wall replacement (€49,500) to full demolition and rebuild (€247,500).
A third of homes (total 62) approved under Stage 1 of the Mica Redress Scheme so far are to be demolished.
A statement from the Department of Housing said that limits are a feature of grant schemes and ensure that the schemes can be budgeted for with the potential financial liability known at all times and also to ensure that the available budget can benefit the majority of properties and the maximum number of people.