Inishowen Cllr Martin McDermott has called on the council to take a hard-hitting approach to get help for Donegal families living in condemned defective block homes.
(Featured photo: Mica homeowner Ali Farren, Cllr Ian McGarvey and Cllr Martin McDermott at the Defective Blocks protest in Lifford on Monday 28th November)
A list of ten homeowners was provided to the council some time ago by Mica action campaigners, but it emerged today that they have yet to be visited by officials.
Cllr McDermott, chairman of the council’s Defective Blocks Redress Committee, told the council to demand, and not ask the Department of Housing to provide emergency funding to rehome those people forced to live in the county’s worst-affected houses.
Cllr McDermott said the people need immediate help before Christmas. He told the executive to make urgent correspondence with Eamonn Kelly, Principal Officer, Department of Housing and Caroline Timmons, Assistant Principal Officer.
“The email needs to be sent now, not next week,” Cllr McDermott told the council today. He said the correspondence should not be asking, but demanding something is done urgently to help those families in despair.
“We have asked and asked and asked. I was asked by families to come to visit houses and I did in the last two weeks. It would break your heart. I met with a lady with two children and when she said to me about the mould in her house, the child of four years of age says ‘mammy I thought we weren’t allowed to say that’.”
Cllr McDermott said people are past the point of frustration, as they made clear during a protest this morning ahead of today’s plenary council meeting in Lifford. Hundreds of homeowners gathered at the council door this morning to show their frustration with the redress scheme delays and lack of emergency supports.
Cllr McDermott said the council must prioritise the 10 families and provide them with mobile homes or private rental support.
“Give them some hope before they sit down to their Christmas dinner, that they can at least have a way out,” he said.
The council was also told to be more proactive in its communications regarding work on the defective blocks scheme.
Cllr McDermott said that he and Cllr Albert Doherty, Vice Chairperson of the Defective Blocks Redress Committee, attended a meeting with Senior Engineer John Gallagher and more than 50 other engineers and geologists today. The meeting was described as positive and productive. Cllr McDermott said there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work ongoing which should be shared, and he asked the council to issue a press release on the progress so far.