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Tag Archives: Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme

Blocks group: ‘Getting this far has been incredibly stressful’

DELIGHT at Clare’s inclusion in a grant for homes with defective blocks has been overshadowed by concerns over the terms of the scheme. Following a campaign of almost two years, Clare gained access to the new grant which due to come into effect in the coming months. While the move has been widely welcomed, concerns remain about the eligibility criteria for the updated grant, as well as the amount of financial cover it will provide, in real terms, for homeowners. A day after the long-awaited announcement from the Housing Minister, Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) were outside Dáil Éireann to voice their fears and repeat their call for pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill that will underpin the updated grant. The woman who initiated the campaign for redress for Clare repeated her call for consultation with homeowners here. “We are making our presence known in the capital,” Dr Martina Cleary said. “The CPAG are outside the Dáil to make the clear …

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Clare homeowners to be included in new blocks grant scheme

CLARE homeowners affected by pyrite are to be given access to a State grant scheme, after a campaign of almost two years. Over the course of today (Tuesday, June 14), Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien will outline to Cabinet a new scheme for homes with defective concrete blocks. While the old scheme covered only Mayo and Donegal, Clare and Limerick will be included in the new grant. A general scheme for new primary legislation is being unveiled today. It is understood that a memo will follow next week, to seek approval for the publication of the legislation.  While the inclusion of Clare is a major milestone for campaigners in this county, concerns remain about the eligibility criteria for the new grant, as well as the provision for consultation before the underpinning law is drafted.  Senator Timmy Dooley gave a cautious welcome to the development. “Getting Clare included in the scheme is a first step and a welcome one,” he said. …

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Expert’s concern over homeowner ‘penalty’ in blocks scheme

EXPERT engineer, Simon Beale, has warned of aspects of the forthcoming defective blocks grant scheme which could penalise homeowners who have struggled to maintain their properties.  Mr Beale is a chartered engineer who has tested more than 250 pyrite-affected homes to-date, and has been working with Clare County Council to make the case for access for Clare to the grant scheme. At a major conference last week, hosted by the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), he outlined his concerns about some of the terms of the revised grant scheme. “The new requirement for a building condition report will prove difficult,” he said. “In some cases, homeowners have tried to hide the damage. This is almost a penalty for those who have tried to maintain and upgrade their homes. Another problematic aspect of the new scheme, which is due to come before Cabinet next Tuesday (June 14), is that of partial repairs to properties with defective concrete blocks. “Demolition, to …

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Taoiseach confirms primary legislation for blocks grant

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has confirmed to Clare’s Fine Gael TD that the new defective blocks grant scheme will be introduced by way of primary legislation. He warned, however, that a consultative process as part of the legislative drafting could further delay the new scheme.  In response to concerns from pyrite and mica action groups, including that in Clare, Deputy Joe Carey raised the matter directly with the Taoiseach. He asked for clarity on what kind of consultation will take place on the new scheme. Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG), and others, have raised concerns over numerous aspects of the enhanced grant, including the updated damage threshold for affected homes. Last week the CPAG wrote to all Oireachtas members to tell them that a process without pre-legislative scrutiny must be opposed. “Householders in County Clare are anxiously awaiting admission to the enhanced defective concrete block scheme,” Deputy Carey reminded the Taoiseach. “Further laboratory analysis of affected homes in County Clare has …

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Advocates fear lack of scrutiny of new defective blocks bill 

A GENERAL scheme for the new Bill to revise the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is to be considered by Government in the next fortnight.  The Department of Housing told The Champion that “work on the formulation of the General Scheme for the enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is ongoing”, but refused to be drawn on the issue of Pre-Legislative Scrutiny. The potential absence of this consultative phase in drafting the legislation, is a matter of major concern for the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) and advocates around Ireland.  In a letter to Clare’s Oireachtas members, the CPAG said that to “under no circumstances can we accept a situation where Pre-Legislative Scrutiny would not be carried out on the new Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme”. The group has reiterated concerns over aspects of the new scheme, including the damage threshold; access to an independent engineer and testing; and the focus on remediation options other than demolition.  “It is …

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Up to 18 Clare housing estates could have defective blocks

RESEARCH by the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) shows that up to 18 housing estates in the county could have defective concrete blocks.  Dr Martina Cleary said that information received by the action group also suggests that up to eight public buildings could be affected. “We have had contact from people all over the county about suspected pyrite,” she said. “It is very important to say that this is suspected pyrite, as testing might not yet have been done in some cases. Our group has had contact and photos and videos sent in from people in every corner of Clare, and more people are coming forward all the time.” Clare County Council is still in a process of negotiation with the Department of Housing over a report submitted last July to make the case for inclusion in the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme. Meanwhile, the scheme itself is being revised after a government decision last November. While homeowners had hoped …

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Trauma of defective blocks saga to be explored at TUS

THE traumatic impact of living in a home with defective concrete blocks is to be explored in a two-day conference hosted by the Technological University of The Shannon (TUS) in May.  The international event entitled ‘Losing Your Home – ‘The Impact of Defective Concrete Blocks in Ireland’ will hear from a host of experts in the fields of engineering and geology as well as mental health and arts specialists.  The event is being organised by the founder of the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG), Dr Martina Cleary and Dr Rita Scully of the Department of the Built Environment at TUS. “The issue of Defective Concrete Blocks, containing deleterious materials, particularly Pyrite, Mica and Reactive Sulphates is one currently impacting thousands of homeowners in the western seaboard counties of Ireland,” said the organisers. “As walls crack and homes crumble, the financial, legal and psychological consequences on very ordinary people is becoming a widening crisis, affecting all parts of our communities. “In …

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Hundreds of Clare council homes could have pyrite

HUNDREDS of council homes in this county could be affected by pyrite, it has emerged. At a council briefing for members of the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) and the Oireachtas, a figure of 350 local authority homes was given. The council has since confirmed the accuracy of this estimate, based on tests conducted to-date. Some believe, however, that even that figure may not paint a true picture of the extent of defective concrete blocks in homes in Clare, and that the actual situation could be worse.  The details have been welcomed by the founder of the CPAG as well as residents of one Ennis housing estate who spoke publicly to The Champion last year about the condition of their homes. Eileen Downes of Oakwood Drive described how she and her neighbours felt ignored for years after first highlighting cracks in their houses.  “We’re looking at our homes getting worse for the last three to five years,” she said. “It’s …

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