Those who profited from Mica brocks “may be held to account” – O’Brien

The Housing Minister says his department is working to figure out how to address concerns of home owners in Donegal and Mayo over the defective blocks grant scheme.

Minister Darragh O'Brien updated cabinet today on issues associated with Mica and says he is working with other Departments and agencies after serious concerns emerged about the provisions of the redress scheme announced by the last government, particularly in terms of the costs being incurred by homeowners, which in many cases bo beyond the 10% envisaged.

Minister O'Brien says over 400 people have applied for the scheme since last summer, and that any changes would require a whole of government approach.

Minister O'Brien has warned that those who profited from the use of the Mica bricks may be held to account..............

 

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Minister O’Brien provides update on Defective Concrete Blocks Grants Scheme

 

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD today (Wednesday June 9th) provided Cabinet with an update in relation to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grants Scheme for Donegal and Mayo.

Minister O’Brien, who has met with public representatives, action groups and local authorities on the matter in recent weeks, said that the devastation and stress of affected homeowners was not being underestimated or ignored by Government.

The Defective Concrete Blocks Grants Scheme opened for applications at the end of June 2020 and is administered by Donegal and Mayo County Councils. 433 applications have been received by the two local authorities to date with five remedial options available to homeowners ranging from external wall replacement (€49,500) to full demolition and rebuild (€247,500).

Limits are a feature of grant schemes and ensure that the schemes can be budgeted for with the potential financial liability known at all times and also to ensure that the available budget can benefit the majority of properties and the maximum number of people.

Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Since the introduction of this scheme last summer over 400 homeowners have applied and their applications are progressing. Where there are issues arising, both my Department and I are continuing to liaise with officials, local authorities and local action groups on how they may be overcome.

“I visited Co. Donegal last August to officially open the scheme and acknowledged that overcoming this issue is a major challenge. I met with the MICA action group in early February 2021 and requested further information from them in relation to their concerns with the scheme. My Department and I have been working through their document which we received five weeks ago and we are liaising with other Departments and agencies to figure out how best to address some of the concerns raised.

“The existing scheme was informed by the work of an Expert Panel and finalised in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As such, any changes to the scheme would require a whole of Government approach,” he concluded.