‘Forget about the jargon’ is the call from Donegal county councillors as they urged the council to make new simplified guides to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme.
Cllr Paul Canning shared the frustrations of homeowners with Donegal County Council this week, saying that guides must be in layman’s terms for everyone to understand the application process.
Cllr Canning is calling a webinar to guide people through the application step by step.
“There should be questions and answers within that webinar. Forget about the jargon, we need layman’s terms, showing this is what you do, this is how you do it and this is where you fill it in,” Cllr Canning said.
“Simplify the whole thing down because people are very frustrated at this stage.”
As of September 14th, 50 new applications were received by Donegal County Council under the Enhanced Scheme. Eight of the applications were deemed valid with all the information required.
“There is a clear issue out there with the general public,” said Cllr Martin McDermott.
Cllr Rena Donaghey pointed out that there is a high percentage of people aged over 50 who cannot use a computer or social media. She made the call for a frequently asked questions document in a very digestible form.
“I want to thank all the staff in the defective concrete blocks scheme of this council to date because it was and is a mammoth task and the amount of patience dedication and hard work put into that was phenomenal and that has to be commended,” Cllr Donaghey said.
“We need to give families every assistance they need to get through the application step by step to the finishing.”
Cllr Donal ‘Mandy’ Kelly added that people have been left in tears by disinformation.
“Truth be told, we have got people making matters worse by giving out false information and I feel it’s very important that this council do everything to give people the right information to ensure that they get both the procedure and the benefits of the scheme,” Cllr Kelly.
“I had a woman in tears crying because she was told that she couldn’t downsize her house.
“People were also told you can’t remove your foundations. Let’s call a spade a spade, it’s not in the scheme but you can remove them although you will have to do it at your own expense.”
Cllr Kelly asked the council to “knuckle down now” and start creating leaflets and guides this week, “not in a week or two weeks’ time, and get it out to people as soon as possible”.
The council responded to outline that there is significant information available online at www.donegalcoco.ie/defectiveconcreteblocks, but added that it is considering the use of other communication and information mechanisms that would be helpful.
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage ‘Guidelines’ and ‘Your Questions Answered’ documents are available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/8002e-enhanced-defective-concrete-blocks-grant-scheme/