Home » Breaking News » Pyrite affected homeowners struggle with grant application
Dr Martina Cleary, chair of the Clare Pyrite Action Group. Photograph by John Kelly

Pyrite affected homeowners struggle with grant application

Car Tourismo Banner

NO CLARE home owner affected by the scourge of pyrite has received any Government funds under the Enhanced Defective Block Grant Scheme up until January 23 last, new figures have revealed.
Sinn Féin Deputy Eoin O’Broin asked Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien for a breakdown of the number of new applications to the Enhanced Defective Block Redress Scheme; the number who have drawn down funds to date; and the number who have drawn down their full grant.
The official figures show there were 49 Clare applicants to the scheme compared to 1,456 in Donegal, 357 in Mayo and 18 in Limerick.
According to these statistics, no Clare homeowner affected by pyrite has submitted remedial plans, which is in sharp contrast to 127 in Donegal and 140 in Mayo. No Clare resident has commenced remedial works unlike 96 in Donegal and 132 in Mayo.
Zero is also the figure for the number of Clare homeowners who have completed works or drawn down any funds under the Defective Block Redress Scheme.
In 2023, 1,071 Donegal and 330 Mayo home owners received some funds, while 43 and 11 respectively in both counties were paid the full grant.
Clare Pyrite Action Group chairperson, Dr Martina Cleary said no grant has been awarded in Clare, despite the fact the county was accepted into the scheme in June 2022. Dr Cleary recalled there was a year-long protracted process of putting the new regulations in place before the new scheme was opened for applications in July 2023.
“They were railroading hundreds of applications in Donegal and Mayo into the old scheme, only 160 of the 1,456 applications in Donegal were new. There are only nine new applications to the new scheme in Mayo.
“When the scheme opened for Clare, I had my application in within three weeks. The Housing Agency came out in August 2022 for an initial visit. I was told by a Housing Agency representative
they would have to wait until they got a certain quantum of applications from Clare of about 35 people.
“I said ‘are you joking, I have been fighting for three years, my house is rotting and you want me to wait for 35 people from Clare to apply for a scheme you have made so complicated.”
After contacting Clare County Council, Dr Cleary recalled the authorities waited until they got 25 applications and they sent them out to an engineering company to assess them.
She said it takes up to 20 weeks for the results of any core testing to be provided to any Clare home owner.
In January 2021, she recalled five houses were core tested as part of the process to get Clare into the scheme, and the results were not provided by a UK laboratory at a cost of €35,000, which was paid by Clare County Council, until May and June 2021.
Even though a 200-page report, which was completed in full compliance with the regulations was sent up to the Department in July 2021, she claimed home owners were left waiting until November when she got a phone call from a county official who stated more evidence was needed.
She claimed the authorities were essentially looking for a chemical reaction that was literally the width of a human hair in a house with up to 6,000 blocks.
“Our engineer was left scratching his head as he had never seen anything like this. It hadn’t happened in Donegal or Mayo. We met with the council in December 2021 who went ahead and did extra testing with five of their own properties.”
She welcomed the clinics that are being provided by Clare County Council, which include the Kilrush Digital Hub on Tuesday, February 20, from 9.30 to 1pm; Ennistymon Digital Hub on Thursday, February 22, from 9.30 to 1pm, Scariff Area Office on February 27 from 9.30 am to 1pm; Shannon Town Hall on February 29 from 9.30 am to 1pm and Clare County Council headquarters on Friday, March 1 from 9.30 to 1pm.
Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne asked Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien the reason for delay with granting the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant to homeowners in Clare. Minister O’Brien stated the Housing Agency acts as a technical agent on behalf of the local authorities under the Enhanced Grant Scheme. Applications received by a local authority are referred to the Housing Agency to review the ‘Building Condition Assessment Report’ and determine if the home has met the ‘damage threshold’ for entry to the scheme.

About Dan Danaher

Check Also

Brennan is back and raring to go

Cillian Brennan is Clare captain like his brother Gary before him, but that honour aside …