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Tag Archives: Department of Housing

Anger at further pyrite test requirements for Clare access

THE founder the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) has been sharply critical of the Department of Housing over ongoing delays in access to the financial support scheme.  Further testing is currently being carried out “to satisfy the Department of the linkage between the deterioration of the blockwork and the confirmed presence of pyrite in the samples”, the Council has told The Champion. It follows queries raised by the Department in December, to which the authority responded shortly before Christmas.  Dr Martina Cleary said the Department, which is still the considering the report seeking access to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme, is now asking the Council “to look for a needle in a haystack”. She also questioned why the authority did not test its own housing stock at the start of last year, in tandem with the testing of five private homes located across the county.  The Crusheen woman said both the expert engineer and the testing laboratories engaged by …

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Department challenges aspects of council’s pyrite report

SERIOUS questions have been raised over the council’s application to have the defective blocks grant extended to Clare, The Champion has learned. Despite an assurance from the Housing Minister in August that a decision would be made within “a matter of weeks”, his Department is challenging several aspects of the council’s submission. In November, Minister Darragh O’Brien told Clare Oireachtas members his Department’s concerns were not “insurmountable”. However, a letter issued on Monday poses far-reaching questions. The document queries whether pyrite is the only cause of damage to the five homes tested. “It is unclear whether the presence of pyrite has manifested itself in structural wall damage, or if the walls are damaged either wholly or partially by another cause,” the seven-page letter states. The document adds that while the technical report has confirmed excessive amounts of pyrite, “it has not been stated however that the damage which has been documented has manifested due to the presence of reactive pyrite, …

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Anger as more pyrite proof sought

State accused of ‘stalling tactics’ by Clare advocate “A LITANY of broken promises” has been condemned by the founder of the Clare Pyrite Action Group, after confirmation of further delays in access to the defective blocks scheme. Dr Martina Cleary said that more than 100 homeowners in Clare will now have no option but to take legal action and engage in further protests. Despite assurances from the Housing Minister on August 27, that a decision on extending the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme would be made “within weeks”, the process has become protracted. After raising queries with the council about the cost of a technical report it submitted in July, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) has now sought further technical data. This added hitch has sparked anger, with Dr Cleary accusing the Department of “stalling tactics”. “The Department is now looking for additional test data and it’s clearly a delaying strategy,” she told The Champion. “I …

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Clare redress access ‘expected’

Minister awaiting clarification around Council application before confirming access to defective blocks scheme THE Housing Minister has said he expects the scheme for homes with defective blocks to be extended to Clare, once queries over a county council application are dealt with. Responding to a query from Deputy Joe Carey, Minister Darragh O’Brien outlined the communications between his department and the local authority on the matter. “We received a submission from the local authority in July requesting an extension of the defective block grant scheme to County Clare,” he outlined. “We issued a response on August 3 indicating we would review the submission and we did so. We saw details of a breakdown of costs associated with the report on September 28. “A number of issues arose, none of them insurmountable. It is standard that clarification is needed. “I have been directly involved with regard to the submission on Clare. In this regard, I asked my officials to deal with …

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‘Bureaucracy’ delaying decision on Clare blocks redress access

FURTHER delays in giving Clare homeowners access to the grant scheme for defective blocks have been strongly condemned by the founder of The Clare Pyrite Action Group. There were conflicting reports, at a recent public meeting, on whether and when the Department of Housing had raised queries with the council, over its application to access to the scheme. The Department has now clarified to Deputy Joe Carey and to The Champion that it is to contact the council “shortly” about the report it submitted in June. Given the Minister gave an assurance, on his Clare visit in August, that a decision would be made in a matter of weeks, the delay has provoked anger. “This is disgraceful carry on,” Dr Martina Cleary said. “Bureaucracy is being used to drag out people’s suffering. This obfuscation is unacceptable, and the council’s application is being pushed from pillar to post. It’s an utter joke and they think people are stupid enough to believe …

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Plea not to allow block blame distract from main purpose

“LIGHT touch regulation” has been blamed for the crisis caused by defective concrete blocks in several counties including Clare.  At a meeting of the Clare Pyrite Action Group last Friday, Senator Martin Conway said “cost-cutting”, on the part of some in the construction sector, had also contributed to the worsening problem. “It’s nobody’s fault in this room,” he told the 80 people present. “It’s as a result of light touch regulation that governments over the years are responsible for, particularly in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, when there was no proper engineering regulation, examinations, no proper reporting. “This type of situation happened because developers, builders, and suppliers were in a situation where they were cost cutting to make as much money as possible. It’s even going back further than the early ‘90s. “The sad reality is that people in this room have been devastated. Their homes have been devastated. The duty on this generation of politicians, as far as …

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Concern over ‘rebranding’ of state’s redress scheme

THE founder of the Clare Pyrite Action Group has expressed grave concerns over what she sees as the recent ‘rebranding’ of the campaign to increase redress for affected homeowners. Dr Martina Cleary, whose membership includes more than 70 private homeowners, as well as those living in a number of local authority estates, has been working for over a year to secure access for Clare to the existing grant scheme. While Minister Darragh O’Brien indicated that a decision on Clare’s status will be made very soon, a parallel campaign to improve the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is also drawing to a close with efforts stepping up to secure 100% redress. Against the backdrop of intensifying media and political speculation, Dr Cleary said she is now fearful that long-awaited improvements to the scheme, which currently only covers Mayo and Donegal, may not be extended to Clare. “I’m very concerned about the new PR spin that has been put on the 100% …

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Further protests likely over defective blocks issue

FURTHER national protests on the defective concrete blocks issue are likely, after the Department of Housing indicated it is unlikely to increase the level of redress available to homeowners. A position paper drawn up as part of a review of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme also warned that any extension of the scheme to Clare, and other counties, will require very serious consideration. At the end of last month, the County Council submitted detailed evidence to support a call for the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme to Clare. The authority also backed calls for an extension of redress levels from 90 to 100%. In its position paper, the Department of Housing has confirmed that Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Sligo are seeking access to the scheme. It added that any changes that contribute to the further rise in the project costs of the programme – which could potentially have an upper ceiling of €2.5billion – would need detailed …

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