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Home » Tag Archives: Minister Darragh O’Brien

Tag Archives: Minister Darragh O’Brien

O’Brien upbeat despite crisis

THE housing crisis in Clare may be acute, but when he was in Ennis last Friday, Minister Darragh O’Brien (FF) only saw positives. Addressing the media, he claimed continuously that things are getting better, and exuded an air of self congratulation rather than that of a man grappling with a crisis. At the official opening of 18 new social homes in Ennis, he was asked about a number of complaints made by county councillors that week, including claims that the State is distorting the market locally, actually making things harder for working people who want to buy their own homes. Responding, the Minister insisted that the housing crisis is easing, while he suggested Clare County Council would want to hurry on with delivering affordable housing. “The first thing is to commend Clare County Council, our councillors as well, our Dáil deputy Cathal and our senator Timmy for all the support they’ve given me on the development of new homes in …

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Relief as Clare homeowners given access to pyrite grant

RELIEF has been expressed as Clare was officially recognised this week in the grant for homeowners with defective blocks. It is expected that Clare County Council will be in a position to accept applications online from Thursday (July 6). After an intensive campaign of almost three years, Clare is now one of four counties where homeowners with pyrite in their blocks can apply for the government grant. The Housing Minister signed off on the regulations for the updated scheme on Monday last (July 3). The Council has said that homeowners will be able to apply online later this week, and that it has the necessary “staff and systems in place”. The woman who spearheaded the campaign in Clare, Dr Martina Cleary, said there is relief that this county has finally been included, while certain concerns remain. “I found it very moving that Clare is now recognised and that we finally have equal rights,” she said. “This is an incredible achievement. …

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Wynne questions housing minister’s competence over pyrite grant delays

THE competence of the Minister for Housing has been called into question as uncertainty continues over exactly when the grant scheme for Clare homeowners with defective blocks will open.  Following a meeting in Ennis two weeks ago, Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne tabled two Parliamentary Questions (PQs) asking Minister Darragh O’Brien for an update. The Kilrush-based TD also asked what additional resources would be provided to Clare County Council to assist in the processing of applications from homeowners here. The Independent TD was waiting several days for a reply from the minister, who said he hoped the scheme’s regulations would be signed “in the coming weeks”. She told The Champion that, a year after the minister agreed to include Clare and Limerick in the new grant scheme, the vague reply and ongoing lack of clarity were unacceptable. “I’ve heard about the stress, strain and health implications of having pyrite, of living in damaged and cracked homes and the longer homeowners are left …

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Pyrite grant for Clare ‘in five weeks’

PYRITE homeowners in Clare will have to wait another five weeks before they can apply for grant support, according to the county’s Fianna Fáil TD.  Tempers flared at meeting in Ennis on Friday evening (June 16) and that update met with both scepticism and anger. Several homeowners challenged Deputy Cathal Crowe over what they see as previous broken promises and missed deadlines in their three-year campaign. While deadlines for ministerial sign-off  on the new grant, slipped on June 1 and 14, several homeowners angrily recalled Minister Darragh O’Brien’s visit to Clare in August 2021, and the promise of support “within a matter of weeks”.  Deputy Crowe assured homeowners that despite a last-minute delay, over concerns in Donegal – one of the three other counties covered by the grant – they would be able to make applications “five weeks from now”.  Deputy Violet Anne Wynne, who was the only other Oireachtas member present, was sharply critical of the delay saying that …

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Pyrite grant ‘impenetrable’ in current form

A NEW grant scheme to remediate homes with defective blocks have been described by a Clare activist as “onerous, prohibitive and almost logistically impossible” to engage with, in its current draft form.  Draft regulations on the updated grant scheme have been circulated to action groups in Clare, Donegal, Limerick and Mayo, as well as to local authority members. Writing to the Councils, the Minister for Housing called for “good faith constructive engagement” on improving and strengthening the regulations. Minister Darragh O’Brien also expressed the desire to issue final regulations in March “to get the badly needed new scheme up and running”. Commenting on the draft document, which runs to 133 pages, Dr Martina Cleary of the Clare Pyrite Action Group (CPAG) described it as “impenetrable”. “There are prohibitive, up-front costs placed on homeowners before they can progress through the different stages of the grant application,” she said. “Certain phases of the process are time-limited for the applicant who could be …

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Fresh concerns over Clare access to pyrite grant

FURTHER uncertainty has arisen over the timeframe for access for Clare’s homeowners to the defective blocks grant scheme. While the Minister for Housing announced last June that Clare and Limerick would be included in the revised grant scheme, there is uncertainly currently as to whether Darragh O’Brien has signed the required order. While it had been hoped that pyrite homeowners in Clare would be able to apply for the grant early this year. doubt has been cast on that timeframe. “Our understanding is that Clare is not actually included in the scheme until the Ministerial Order has been signed,” Dr Martina Cleary of Clare Pyrite Action Group(CPAG) said. “We have only just learned of this after becoming aware of media queries to the minister over the status of this order. “To date, these media queries haven’t been responded to. This is really concerning because there is potentially another major delay now for homeowners in Clare and in Limerick. We have …

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Minister condemned for lack of clarity on Clare pyrite grant

THE housing minister has been accused of being “obsessed” with curbing funding for homeowners affected by pyrite, while failing to properly pursue those responsible for the crisis. Deputy Michael McNamara said that Minister Darragh O’Brien seemed excessively concerned that homeowners would not profit from the scheme, in cases where they chose to downsize, but was less bothered when it came to properly pursuing the quarries that supplied the defective material.  He added that while the minister had rushed new legislation through the Oireachtas to extend the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme, there was now no sense of urgency in terms of giving access to homeowners in Clare. The Scariff TD spoke to The Champion on foot of a response to a Parliamentary Question (PQ) he tabled to Minister O’Brien. While Deputy McNamara sought “clarification and transparency” in relation to the timeline for access for Clare homeowners, no precise date was provided. The minister’s response stated that work on regulations to …

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Forty Clare households remain in their home due to MTR scheme

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has welcomed the fact that there have been 40 Mortgage to Rent (MTR) applications approved in County Clare since the scheme’s commencement with a further 16 applications currently active. The Minister urged anybody who is at risk of losing their home in County Clare to consider the scheme and also engage with the other Government supports and advice available. Mortgage to Rent helps people who are at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage arrears. The 2,030 cases completed nationwide to date (since the scheme commenced in 2012) are benefitting 5,910 people (3,249 adults and 2,661 children). Minister O’Brien said, “Mortgage to Rent provides a solution to a complex problem by giving a person or family the option of remaining in their own home despite acute mortgage difficulties. As a Government we want to keep as many people in their homes where it is sustainable and the Mortgage …

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