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Mary Hanley pointing out some of the damage at her and husband Seamus' home to Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien last August. Photograph by John Kelly

Attorney general will have say on Clare access to pyrite redress

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THE Minister for Housing has said that any changes to or extension of the existing defective concrete block scheme will require consideration in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Office of the Attorney General, writes Owen Ryan.

Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien was responding to a parliamentary question from Deputy Joe Carey that asked when Clare will be incorporated into the defective concrete block scheme.

Responding, Minister O’Brien said, “My department received correspondence from Clare County Council in October 2020, requesting the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme to Clare. A comprehensive reply was subsequently issued to the Council in November 2020.

“My department informed the council that before any extension of the scheme could be considered, the same rigorous analysis as that put in place prior to the rollout of the scheme to the counties of Donegal and Mayo would have to be undertaken.

“Following further discussions between my Department and Clare County Council it was agreed that the local authority would take a lead role in determining, that issues arising in homes in Clare are in fact due to the presence of excessive amounts of deleterious materials (mica or pyrite) in the aggregate used to manufacture the concrete blocks and secondly quantify the likely extent of the problem in the county,” he added.

“Subsequently a report was commissioned and finalised by Clare County Council in July 2021 and submitted to my department towards the end of that month. The report is currently being reviewed by officials from my department.

“Any changes to or extension of the existing scheme will require consideration in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Office of the Attorney General,” Minister O’Brien confirmed.

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