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Dr Martina Cleary of The Clare Pyrite Action Group .

Clare protest march to support homeowners affected by pyrite

PROTESTERS will march through Ennis on Saturday week, five months after the Housing Minister promised to support Clare homeowners affected by pyrite. 

Efforts to have Clare included in the revised grant scheme for those with defective blocks are still ongoing, with correspondence being exchanged between the Council and the Department of Housing, Heritage and Local Government. Considerable frustration has been expressed with the fact that the Department is querying several aspects of a report submitted by the local authority last July asking for inclusion in the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme. 

Members of Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) are now appealing to the public for their support in progressing the issue and are asking them to gather at Áras an Chontae in Ennis at 2pm on January 29, and join a walk to the O’Connell monument at The Height. 

“More and more impacted homeowners are contacting the Clare Pyrite Action Group, asking for advice and help, but we are still being discriminated against and denied any assistance in dealing with this unfolding nightmare,” the group said in a statement.

“The evidence asked for has been provided to Government. There is no question that we have Defective Concrete Blocks in this county. The test results are in, the facts undeniable.  So there should be no further delay in extending a Grant, as has been provided in other counties. No more excuses. No more changing of the goalposts and rules for us.”

The action group has also voiced sharp criticism of the lack of action on assurances given by Minister Darragh O’Brien when he visited Clare on August 27. The minister addressed up to 100 homeowners who gathered at the pyrite-damaged home of Mary and Séamus Hanley in Drumline and assured them they would have access to the scheme within a matter of weeks. 

“All promises given so far have been broken, and every indication is we will be left waiting until our homes crumble and rot around us, before we can access any help, even if it comes,” the CPAG statement said. “It will only be through speaking out now and raising your voices, that together we can bring about change.”

CPAG also urged anyone who suspects they may have defective concrete blocks to join the action group. “If your home is impacted, it is time to stand up for justice, and to demand access to equality and the help available to other taxpayers and voters in this country,” the group said. 

“If the home of your friends or extended family are impacted, or you suspect they might be impacted, come out and show your support for them. Even if you are not directly effected by this, we really need your support, for the sake of all those in County Clare, facing this nightmare through no fault of their own. Come out and support the Banner. Equal rights, equal help, equal justice for all.”

Clare County Council has confirmed that it has formally responded to queries issued by the Department of Housing last December.

A meeting of members of the CPAG heard widespread criticism of the revised scheme which continues to apply only to homeowners in Donegal and Mayo affected by mica and pyrite respectively.

Dr Martina Cleary, founder of CPAG has issued an open letter to Minister O’Brien outlining a number of concerns with the new scheme and this county’s ongoing exclusion from it. 

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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