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Minister Darragh O'Brien met members of The Clare Pyrite Action Group at the home of Mary and Séamus Hanley in Drumline.

Minister promises Clare pyrite redress decision ‘in weeks’

THE Housing Minister has assured Clare homeowners affected by pyrite that his department make a decision on giving them access to a redress scheme “within a matter of weeks”.

Speaking on an official visit to the county today (Friday, August 27), Minister Darragh O’Brien said he wanted an application by the local authority for the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme to Clare to be decided on without delay.

Following a meeting in Ennis with Dr Martina Cleary and two other members of The Clare Pyrite Action Group, Minister O’Brien said: “I want to bring the submission part and the review of the submission part to a conclusion in a matter of weeks… Subject to the submission meeting the criteria that is set there, then we can move along quite quickly. It’s a serious issue for homeowners My priority is for homes, principal private residences that we can start to look at getting them remediated soon.”

The minister also repeated his determination to examine options for pursuing those responsible for supplying defective blocks. “I’m going to use every avenue I have open to me to pursue them,” he told The Champion. “I’ve charged the Attorney General with that work to come back to me with what we can do legally. I’ve said that publicly a number of weeks ago and I take the opportunity here in Clare to do that again.”

Dr Cleary described her meeting with the minister as “positive”. “He listened very carefully,” she said. “He said that it’s going to be a matter of weeks. He has no intention of dragging this out. Obviously he can’t pre-empt a decision, but work has already been begun on reviewing the report that’s gone in. It’s with them a month. He’s acknowledged that. He said they’ve already started looking at it, so that is positive.”

While in Clare, the minister visited the home of Mary and Séamus Hanley in Drumline, which is one of five houses that has tested positive for pyrite in sampling that formed part of the council’s technical report to the Housing Department. The retired school principal’s home is among the most severely affected in the county. She said that while there are 72 members in the action group, there are many more people whose homes have pyrite in Clare. “I know quite a number of people in this locality who have spoken to me confidentially who said, ‘Mary, we just couldn’t tell anyone’. I was in the same boat a year ago, a year-and-a-half ago. I thought my house was the only house that had this problem until I saw Dr Martina Cleary’s article in The Clare Champion.”

Mrs Hanley urged people affected to come forward and join the action group.

The minister’s commitment to homeowners in Clare was welcomed by Deputies Joe Carey and Cathal Crowe as well as Senator Timmy Dooley.


Read in-depth coverage of the story in next week’s Clare Champion.

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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