Donegal Minister Charlie McConalogue has “signed up to a war” if he continues to support the revised Mica scheme, says campaigner Paddy Diver.
Diver, a Mica homeowner who spearheaded the 100% redress campaign, is calling on McConalogue to use his power at the Cabinet table to fix the scheme.
The Mica Action Group is calling for the removal of a sliding scale clause which was added to the scheme yesterday. The ‘eleventh hour’ addition would mean homeowners still have to pay life-changing amounts of money to fix their homes.
Paddy Diver said he spoke with Minister McConalogue on the phone following the announcement of the revised scheme yesterday.
Diver said he told the Minister: “If the sliding scale is not going to be removed, you have more or less signed up to a war. You have told us ‘bring it on’.”
McConalogue has defended the government’s scheme as “tremendous work” and maintained that the details are subject to review.
Mica Action Group PRO Michael Doherty said homeowners have little confidence in the Minister being in their corner.
“There is nothing we are hearing from McConalogue that gives us the confidence that he is going to try and change this,” Mr Doherty said.
“For someone to say what we had yesterday was a tremendous achievement, I think there is a stark disconnect with reality, and he needs to find a way, very quickly of pulling his government together and saying we have missed something greatly here.”
The Mica Action Group is calling on all 14 TDs in power from the six Mica-affected counties to work to stop the scheme as it stands. Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh has spoken out about his lack of support for the scheme and said he wants a solution before Christmas. Independent TD Thomas Pringle and Sinn Féin TDs Pearse Doherty and Padraig Mac Lochlainn have also called for the details of the scheme to put back on the table.
Mr Doherty said: “We really need them (TDs) to step up now and talk to their own parties and come back with the right answer. If they can’t come back with the right answer they have to be prepared to walk. That is the only way they can go back to their counties with any credibility after this.”
Speaking of Minister McConalogue, Mr Doherty said: “Our own Minister, our local man is struggling on that front.”