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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald inspects the damage caused by pyrite to Dan Moloney’s home near Kilkishen. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Sinn Féin leader’s shock at crumbling East Clare home

THE leader of Sinn Féin expressed her “shock” at the damage caused by pyrite to a family home in East Clare and pledged that her party will do all in its power to ensure homeowners get 100% redress to rebuild their lives.
Deputy Mary Lou McDonald made her remarks on a visit to Kilkishen this week where she was briefed by the Clare Pyrite Action Group and saw first-hand the home of Dan Moloney and his wife Teresa. The family built their home 23 years ago, and have recently learned that the severe cracks in the building are due to pyrite.
“It’s very shocking,” Deputy McDonald said. “When you consider the case of Danny and Teresa, they were working in New York planning to come home to raise their family here in this wonderful part of Clare, invest their hard-earned money in their family’s forever home and now they’re faced with this. The damage to the house is very, very extensive and very serious and this is fairly typical of the other homes affected.”
The Sinn Féin leader said that while there should be no “blame game”, “the reality is that there has to be full redress and support for these families to have their homes brought to a proper and a safe standard”. She added that the issue of accountability would then have to be addressed. “Beyond that, there has to be accountability for regulation, standards and oversight because this should not happen. The presence of pyrite or mica to the extent that it has happened in Ireland raises really fundamental questions about regulation.”
Deputy McDonald cited a previous 100% redress scheme for homeowners in other parts of the country affected by pyrite in their foundations and said there had to be parity for those affected by block problems. “The bottom line is that these families must be supported,” she said.

Deputy Violet Anne Wynne, who was in Kilkishen with her party leader said that progress with getting Clare homeowners into the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme, and the extension of that scheme to provide 100% redress would continue. “We will keep the pressure on the housing minister to address this because it’s a nightmare for homeowners who have no responsibility whatsoever for the situation they are in,” she said. “The action group have been incredibly proactive in coming together and speaking out and I think that has really highlighted the issue, which our party will be keeping the spotlight on.”
Councillor Donna McGettigan agreed that more needs to be done to support homeowners. “What people are going through is just terrible,” she said. “What sticks with me is the descriptions of people not being able to sleep at night because of their fear for their safety and that of their families. It’s so important now that Clare is included in the redress scheme and that that is extended to give 100% redress.”
Mr Moloney who gave Deputy McDonald a tour of his property said he was moved by her willingness to meet him. “We are very grateful to her for taking the time to come out there,” he said. “My house isn’t worth the price of a bag of Taytos and it’s getting worse by the day and it’s not just me, it’s everyone in Clare who is affected by this who needs help urgently.”

Dr Martina Cleary, founder of the Clare Pyrite Action group, pictured below briefed the Sinn Féin leader on-site in Kilkishen.

“Clare County Council has produced the same kind of results as were found in Donegal and Mayo and we’re fearful of delays in getting us access into the grant scheme,” she said. “Even the small gesture of giving Clare homeowners a break on property tax wasn’t given. We’re really hoping that Mary Lou will take our case forward.”
Currently, Clare County Council, on the instructions of government is to submit report on the extent of pyrite/mica in this county in the coming weeks.

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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