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Carey welcomes ‘constructive’ meeting on defective blocks issue

A “CONSTRUCTIVE” meeting was held on Friday (September 24) between the Tanaiste, Deputy Joe Carey and a number of other Fine Gael representatives in counties affected by pyrite and mica. 

The urgent meeting with the Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar was instigated by Deputies Carey, Joe McHugh and Alan Dillion over concerns that a review of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme might not result in homeowner’s full costs being met. Welcoming the Tånasite’s assurance that the possibility of 100% redress remains on the table, Deputy Carey described the meeting as “very constructive”. “It was very constructive and this is a very important time for the campaign for a fit-for-purpose redress scheme which covers 100% of homeowners costs,” he said. “We are really getting down to the nitty gritty now and it’s important that we do all in our power to secure improvements [in the grant scheme] and 100% redress.”

The Clarecastle man has also said he expects a meeting with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to take place this week. The timeframe for opening access to the scheme to Clare homeowners, as well as an increase in the level of the grant, are among the topics for discussion. 

 “In fairness, Minister O’Brien initiated a review of the grant scheme and Minister [Micheal] McGrath will be providing the funds,” Deputy Carey said. “We are in a coalition government. We will discuss the timeframe for a decision Clare’s access to the scheme, which Minister O’Brien indicated would be happening in a matter of weeks. That must happen sooner rather than later and when Clare gets into the scheme, it must be fit for purpose.”

Following the meeting, the Tánaiste said: “The existing scheme is clearly not adequate and there is a need for an enhanced scheme. This is overdue. I have been in homes affected by Mica, met families affected and felt the walls of those homes crumble in my hands. Government has a duty to step in when extra-ordinary situations like these arise. I look forward to the proposals being brought forward by my colleague the Minister for Housing in the very near future.”

The Tánaiste also emphasised that the matter of 100% compensation remains on the table.

The meeting also acknowledged the commitment Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien. 

A Working Group, which includes homeowners from Donegal and Mayo, submitted a report recently to the Department of Housing, outlining changes needed, including an increase in redress to 100%. An update to the grant scheme has been promised before the end of the month, while a decision on Clare’s entry to the redress programme is expected imminently. 

About Fiona McGarry

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 NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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