STRICKEN homeowners affected by pyrite will have the opportunity on Friday (August 27) to ask the Housing Minister directly for support. Minister Darragh O’Brien is to meet members of the Clare Pyrite Action Group in Ennis before travelling to one of their homes to see first-hand the devastating impact of defective blocks.
The Department of Housing is in receipt, since the end of July, of a detailed report compiled by the local authority to prove the presence of pyrite. The detailed technical document asks that the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme be extended to Clare.
Dr Martina Cleary, founder of the action group, will be among those to meet the minister. “I hope he’s listening and will take the situation seriously,” she said. “There is no excuse now to delay redress for homeowners here. The evidence is there. He had already visited and provided independent support for his own constituents and that’s more than he has done for us to-date. We’ve been waiting for a year and during that time, the condition of our homes has gotten even worse.”
Senator Timmy Dooley told The Champion he was pleased the minister had accepted the invitation to meet Clare homeowners. “The minister has been made well aware of the existence pyrite and the concerns of homeowners here for some time,” he said. “Minister O’Brien had a long standing commitment to be in Clare on Friday and once he confirmed, I asked that he would visit one of the homes affected and meet group members. He understands their situation because he’s familiar with the problem in his own constituency. He’s also well versed on the situation in Donegal. We want his department to accept Clare into the scheme because there cannot be a scheme for home affected by pyrite and mica that simply ignores Clare.”
The Fianna Fáil senator echoed the call for the grant scheme to fund up to 100% of remediation works, one which saw thousands of people protest in the capital in June. “The issue of 100% redress must be resolved,” he said. “We all recognise that people bought their homes in good faith. In some cases, homeowners have been in their homes for decades and are retired, or about to retire. They’re not in a position to invest 10% of the cost of remediation of their homes. It is unfortunate that the State has to get involved, but it has to because people don’t have spare cash and they can’t be left to worry about walls that are about to fall down or drafts coming in through cracks.”
Senator Dooley also paid tribute to the work of the action group. “I have to compliment Martina Cleary and the team,” he said. “They have done great work with Clare County Council to produce the report. They have given their time and worked together and this really needs to be resolved.”
The Department of Housing confirmed to The Champion that Minister O’Brien will meet some members of the action group at Áras Chontae an Chláir, as well as visiting one home. He will also visit the maintenance building at Ennis Fire Station, the housing scheme at Ashline, Ennis, and then travel to the village of Broadford.