DELIGHT at Clare’s inclusion in a grant for homes with defective blocks has been overshadowed by concerns over the terms of the scheme.
Following a campaign of almost two years, Clare gained access to the new grant which due to come into effect in the coming months. While the move has been widely welcomed, concerns remain about the eligibility criteria for the updated grant, as well as the amount of financial cover it will provide, in real terms, for homeowners.
A day after the long-awaited announcement from the Housing Minister, Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) were outside Dáil Éireann to voice their fears and repeat their call for pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill that will underpin the updated grant. The woman who initiated the campaign for redress for Clare repeated her call for consultation with homeowners here.
“We are making our presence known in the capital,” Dr Martina Cleary said.
“The CPAG are outside the Dáil to make the clear point that a Bill of close to €3 billion should not be passed without stakeholder input. We want pre-legislative scrutiny. There is no point in throwing away more billions in taxpayer’s money – we’re all taxpayers. Why throw good money after bad? This has to be done right.”
The CPAG chairperson also acknowledged what has been achieved to-date. “Finally, we have recognition from the Minister that pyrite is an issue in Clare,” she said “That’s very welcome.”
The Crusheen woman described the campaign to access the grant as “extremely demanding”.
“We have been made to go to extraordinary lengths to get onto this grant,” she said. “The demands made on us have been extreme. People have suffered agony and duress and it has been incredibly stressful. The next phase now is to examine the grant.”
Vice chairperson Mary Hanley, who showed Minister Darragh O’Brien her badly cracked home last August, also gave a cautious welcome to last Tuesday’s milestone announcement.
Her husband, Séamus, who has conducted a comprehensive analysis of what is proposed under the new grant said homeowners are concerned about many costs that will not be covered.
The issue of proposed visual inspections, particularly in cases where homeowners might have carried out temporary repairs, was also highlighted.
“We’ve spent thousands of euro already on engineer reports and trying to fix structural damage,” Mr Hanley said. “Our house needs to be demolished which could cost up to €50,000, but this is not covered, nor is the cost of replacement windows and doors.”
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at email@example.com or telephone 065 6864146.