The fear of living in a Mica-affected home is having a serious impact on Donegal teens’ studies, according to the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union.
For some local teens, the thought of losing their home is all they can think about.
Exams take a back seat when families are forced to deal with crumbling homes and financial uncertainty. This issue is particularly affecting students who are preparing to sit the state examinations in 2022, the ISSU says.
Tara Toye (pictured above) will sit her Leaving Cert this year at Deele College. Her house is affected by Mica. She said: “I will be in my final year of secondary school, and my sister will be doing her junior cert. We are doing our best to focus on the most important exams that we will face but the fear that my family of 10 will lose our home is all that I can think of.” Tara is the former National Student Executive officer of the ISSU.
The ISSU has voiced its support to the students of Donegal and other affected areas who are in this situation. While there has been much coverage of the ongoing situation with Mica and the proposed redress scheme, the ISSU said it has been contacted by numerous students who have noted the effect the crisis is having on their welfare and education.
Having lost out on weeks of tuition this year and adapting to trying to study throughout the pandemic, affected students note the normal pressure of the state examinations has been outmatched by the instability of their homes. These students are not only nervous about having their exam results affected by the change in learning environment but also the fear that they may lose their house at any point.
Saoirse Doyle, incoming 6th year student in Moville Community College said: “I believe my mental health has been affected. The worry of knowing someday our home, my childhood home, will have to be knocked down. And at some point it will become too unsafe to live in, which honestly is scary to even think about.”
Caitlin Faye Maniti, Donegal Regional Officer for the ISSU, states “The home plays a vital role as the learning environment for most students, it’s a place where they do homework, study for exams and complete school projects. In some cases, their learning environment is unsafe and unusable. It can be easy to forget the human stories behind this crisis as so many have been affected, this is unacceptable.”
A spokesperson for the ISSU said: “The Mica crisis is compromising students education and ISSU fully supports the call for full redress for those affected and continues to advocate for the government to help students.
“In the ISSU, we work to prioritise students education and wellbeing and the Mica crisis is actively compromising this and obstructing student education. The ISSU fully supports the call for 100% redress for those affected and advocates for our government to help these students.”