Taoiseach Micheál Martin has rejected a suggestion from Donegal TD Thomas Pringle that the new mica legislation should be subjected to pre-legislative scrutiny.
Independent TD Pringle said the process should be carried out to “make sure the legislation is right and proper”.
But the Taoiseach responded to say that the process at this stage would delay the scheme by another six months.
Mr Martin said: “All along, people have been saying not enough is happening and it is not quick enough. We need to get the mica houses rebuilt, particularly those that are most severely affected.”
Deputy Pringle said the scrutiny should have been prioritised and completed before the new year, with an aim to publish the legislation at the start of 2022.
Mr Martin added that the will be a Committee stage for the legislation and told Deputy Pringle that he “would be the very first guy to jump up in the Chamber in the autumn to say the Government does not have one house done.”
Speaking after the Dáil debate, Deputy Pringle said he was very disappointed with the response: “There is no reason why this couldn’t have been done, except for the lack of government will. Every month this legislation is delayed is another month of uncertainty for mica families and for the housing market in Donegal.”
The deputy said: “I hope that Government remembers this as they continue to delay this legislation and as they decide to exclude very important voices to the scrutiny process of this legislation,” saying the Mica Action Group “would actually see through the legislation straightaway and see if there are any problems”.
Deputy Pringle was speaking in support of a Sinn Féin motion on affordable housing, which would dramatically increase direct capital investment in the delivery of affordable homes to buy.
Addressing the Dáil, Pringle TD said: “House prices are spiralling out of control and the market is showing no signs of slowing up.” He said the average house price in Donegal jumped by €5,000 in the first three months of this year, and in the three months previous to that had risen by an average of €6,000, for a year-on-year increase of €25,000 in total.
He said at the end of the fourth quarter last year, there were 269 properties for sale in Donegal, a drop of 10.3 per cent over the quarter.
There is also a particular demand in areas affected by mica. The deputy cited a Milford estate agent who said that “the ongoing situation with defective blocks has hampered market activity for the more recently constructed properties, as continued uncertainty plagues the redress scheme”.