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Tag Archives: Minister Darragh O’Brien

Wynne slams ‘delaying tactics’ on access to blocks redress scheme

CLARE’S Sinn Féin TD has hit out at what she described as “the ongoing inaction by the government” in response to Clare homeowners affected by pyrite and mica. Deputy Violet Anne Wynne described the recent announcement that bringing Clare homeowners into the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme will require the advice of the Attorney General (AG) and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as “a delaying tactic”. “The recent statement by Minister [Darragh] O’Brien is more of the same,” the Kilrush resident said. “[It’s] a delaying tactic in what is inevitable and has been rigorously proven as such. There are at least 90 homes and two estates affected by pyrite defective blocks, but the real number may indeed be much higher. The government’s stall tactics add insult to injury.” Deputy Wynne also repeated concerns over the burden of stress placed on those affected by defective materials including pyrite and mica. “Based on my engagement with the Clare Pyrite Action …

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More pyrite cases emerge in east of county

FURTHER concerns have emerged over potential pyrite damage to a number of homes in the South East Clare area. It is understood that publicity around the issue of defective blocks and the visit of the Housing Minister to see a badly affected home in Drumline has prompted other homeowners to come forward. Following a number of calls to The Champion from concerned homeowners, Councillor Patrick O’Gorman confirmed that he has also been contacted. “There are definitely more people who now realise that their houses may be affected,” the Cratloe man said. “As recently as last weekend, I’ve met homeowners who believe there may be pyrite in their homes. In one case, a couple have decided they’re going to have to sleep at one end of their house, because of their fears over the condition of the other side of it. “It’s a very worrying situation and it’s only after the issue was highlighted in the media by the action group …

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Carey welcomes ‘constructive’ meeting on defective blocks issue

A “CONSTRUCTIVE” meeting was held on Friday (September 24) between the Tanaiste, Deputy Joe Carey and a number of other Fine Gael representatives in counties affected by pyrite and mica.  The urgent meeting with the Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar was instigated by Deputies Carey, Joe McHugh and Alan Dillion over concerns that a review of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme might not result in homeowner’s full costs being met. Welcoming the Tånasite’s assurance that the possibility of 100% redress remains on the table, Deputy Carey described the meeting as “very constructive”. “It was very constructive and this is a very important time for the campaign for a fit-for-purpose redress scheme which covers 100% of homeowners costs,” he said. “We are really getting down to the nitty gritty now and it’s important that we do all in our power to secure improvements [in the grant scheme] and 100% redress.” The Clarecastle man has also said he expects a meeting …

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Attorney general will have say on Clare access to pyrite redress

THE Minister for Housing has said that any changes to or extension of the existing defective concrete block scheme will require consideration in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Office of the Attorney General, writes Owen Ryan. Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien was responding to a parliamentary question from Deputy Joe Carey that asked when Clare will be incorporated into the defective concrete block scheme. Responding, Minister O’Brien said, “My department received correspondence from Clare County Council in October 2020, requesting the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme to Clare. A comprehensive reply was subsequently issued to the Council in November 2020. “My department informed the council that before any extension of the scheme could be considered, the same rigorous analysis as that put in place prior to the rollout of the scheme to the counties of Donegal and Mayo would have to be undertaken. “Following further discussions between my Department and Clare …

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Clare homeowners cannot be excluded from redress – Ó Broin

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson says major changes needed to make redress system fit for purpose, writes Fiona McGarry THE Sinn Féin housing spokesperson has insisted there must be “no distinction in terms of geography” for Clare homeowners looking to the defective grant scheme for those with defective blocks. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin, who has just published a detailed account of the plight facing thousands of people living in defective homes, told The Champion that the soundings on redress for Clare homeowners are “positive”. He cautioned, however, that major changes to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme are needed before it is fit for purpose. He also insisted that homeowners across the State must be treated equally, regardless of where they live, or the cause of the problems with their homes. Defects outlines the legacy of frenzied construction activity, much of it in the Celtic Tiger years, combined with a weak regulatory regime and buyers desperate for a foot on the …

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Donegal activist: people must pull together

ONE of the country’s most vocal campaigners on defective concrete blocks has appealed to Clare homeowners to work with him for better redress. Paddy Diver joined a remote meeting of the Clare Pyrite Action Group on Friday, just hours after they spoke to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien. Mr Diver from Donegal is one of up to 5,000 homeowners affected by mica. Like pyrite, mica causes defects that lead to cracking and crumbling of blocks. The Donegal activist was updated on the minister’s pledge to give a decision, in a matter of weeks, on the Council’s application for access to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme. Mr Diver is a member of the working group looking for an increase in redress from 90 to 100% and one of the organisers of a protest in Dublin last June. “The light at the end of the tunnel is in all counties coming together,” he told the meeting. “In Donegal, we were kept on …

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Minister offers up hope for work on Broadford sewerage

A FUNDING plan for the long-awaited sewerage scheme for Broadford is due to be outlined in October, the Housing Minister has said. On a visit to Clare last Friday (August 27), Minister Darragh O’Brien met PJ Mason and other members of the Broadford Action Group and explained that a review of the National Development Plan will contain details of a funding stream for unserviced villages. Minister O’Brien commended the action group, which he described as “very organised”, and pledged that the situation of Carrigaholt, Cooraclare and Doolin would also be looked at. “Last year, I gave €188 million extra in capital to Irish Water,” the Minister told the media at an event in Ennis. “Now we got to look at the towns of villages where we want people to start living again, and to regenerate them. “We can only do that if we got the wastewater and freshwater capacity to do so… I’d expect in the National Development Plan review, …

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Demand for accountability from manufacturers

THE Minister for Housing took the opportunity, while visiting Clare, to reaffirm his commitment to pursuing those responsible for supplying defective building materials. At the home of Mary and Séamus Hanley in Drumline, several members of the Clare Pyrite Action Committee were present to hear what Minister Darragh O’Brien had to say. In the garden of the retired couple’s home, some members of the action group took the opportunity to question the minister directly. “The main culprits in all of this, of course, are the manufacturers of the blocks,” one Newmarket-on-Fergus man told the minister. “These are some of the biggest companies in Ireland, making massive profits. The Taoiseach made a statement a couple of weeks ago that he is going to speak to the Attorney General in relation to going after these companies, can you give us an update on that please?” In response, the minister said: “I made that statement too. Because if you look at the legislation …

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