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Home » Tag Archives: Minister Darragh O’Brien

Tag Archives: Minister Darragh O’Brien

‘Trapped’ pyrite homeowners in plea to Minister

ALMOST a year after a revised grant scheme for homeowners with defective concrete blocks was agreed, campaigners say thousands are still “trapped” in unsafe houses.  In a strongly-worded letter to the housing minister, action groups in Clare, Mayo, Donegal and Limerick, have pleaded for an update on when the new scheme will be live. In the correspondence seen by The Clare Champion, action group leaders, including Crusheen’s Dr Martina Cleary, said “homeowners are trapped in unsafe, unhealthy homes because they have no other option”. The letter, copied to all Cabinet members, has also sought an assurance that enough temporary accommodation will be provided when homeowners need it. “Given that thousands of affected homeowners will have to avail of the scheme in the years to come, and there is a national crisis in availability of rental properties all over Ireland, how is the Dept. [sic] of Housing working with the Local Authorities in the counties affected to ensure there will be …

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Councillors appeal to Minister to declare ‘housing emergency’

HOUSING dominated debate at the July meeting of the local authority, with members resolving to write to Minister Darragh O’Brien, asking him to declare a housing emergency.  A motion from Councillor Donna McGettigan called on the minister to “introduce an immediate moratorium on evictions” for a period of three months, and to increase income thresholds for social housing support.  “I saw this motion being passed by Limerick City and County Council and brought it here,” she said. “This is now an issue affecting all social classes. There are just 13 properties available online to rent long-term in Clare. A two-bed apartment will cost €1,000 a month and that’s just not affordable. We are increasingly seeing families having to take in family members and couch surfing is the norm.” The Sinn Féin member accepted that local authority staff are doing their best and she urged her Council colleagues to write to the minister seeking more support.  “The homeless action team are …

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Call for one-stop-shop to support Clare pyrite homeowners

A CALL has been made for the opening of a ‘one stop shop’ in Clare to support midwestern homeowners affected by pyrite.  Deputy Cathal Crowe is seeking the facility, which would be overseen by The Housing Agency and would support homeowners accessing the new defective concrete blocks grant scheme. The calls has been made in parallel with the progressing of the Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022. Deputy Crowe said the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) is examining the option of opening regional support centres and he believes that the centre for the midwest should be located in Clare.  “The Housing Agency would oversee this,” he told The Champion. “It would provide an interface between the public and government staff and support homeowners in accessing the grant and getting remediation works done.” The new Bill, published last Tuesday evening (June 21), is a 62-page document outlining the revised blocks scheme. While Clare and …

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Minister finally delivers for Clare, but concerns continue

NINE and a half months after a visit to Clare to see the damage caused by pyrite, Minister Darragh O’Brien announced this county’s inclusion in an updated grant scheme.  To secure inclusion, exhaustive technical detail was provided by the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) and Clare County Council. In addition to an original report submitted last July, further testing was required as well as scientific proof that was likened by experts to ‘finding a needle in a haystack’. While the breakthrough has been welcomed, CPAG and many of Clare’s Oireachtas members are adamant that there is a way to go to secure a grant that is fit for purpose. Specific concerns relate to eligibility criteria as well as the costs that the scheme will not cover. Members of the CPAG protested outside the Dáil over the terms of the General Scheme of the Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill, 2022. Minister O’Brien outlined the …

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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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Clare councillor challenges minister’s housing waiting list ‘spin’

A STATEMENT from a government minister claiming a 44% reduction in Clare’s social housing waiting list since 2016 has been criticised as “spin” by a local councillor. In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien welcomed figures published in the 2021 Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA), which show a substantial reduction in the number of households on Clare’s social housing waiting list since the first annual assessment was conducted in 2016. The 2021 SSHA shows 1,100 households in Clare were assessed as being qualified for, and in need of, social housing support as of November 17, 2021. This figure is down 101 (8.4%) from 1,202 households recorded on November 2 2020. This figure also represents a total decrease of 866 (44%) households since 2016 when annual recording of the SSHA began. The minister outlined the social housing list has fallen from 1,966 in 2016 to 1,952 in 2017 and dropped to 1,004 in 2018 before …

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Frustration as Minister avoids Clare questions on pyrite scheme

DESPITE new proposals on redress for homeowners with defective concrete blocks, there is still no clarity on when Clare will gain access to the scheme, or on what terms. At the request of the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) answers have been sought by three Clare TDs. The responses they have received have been described by the group’s founder, Dr Martina Cleary as “completing ignoring the questions and the pyrite issue in Clare”. Earlier this month The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) published proposals for the remediation of eight different dwelling types, including those in estates one one-off houses. Options range from full demolition and rebuilding to partial repair options. Significantly, the SCSI proposed grant support based on building costs for 2022. Previously, homeowners raised concerns about the difficulty in meeting eligibility for the revised Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme. They also voiced concerns that homeowners who did quality would be left with large shortfalls on their costs. Following …

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