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Dr Martina Cleary of The Clare Pyrite Action Group .

Taoiseach ‘doesn’t give a continental’ about Clare homeowners

HARSH criticism was levelled at the Taoiseach over his response to Clare TDs when they asked him about this county’s access to the defective blocks grant scheme.
A meeting in Ennis last Friday (December 3), of those affected by pyrite, was told Deputies Joe Carey and Cathal Crowe had been “dismissed” and “insulted” by Micheál Martin.
Vice-chair of the Clare Pyrite Action Group, Mary Hanley said the Taoiseach’s response to questions about the revised defective blocks grant scheme, which makes no mention of this county, was also an insult to homeowners here.
The retired school principal from Drumline, who showed her home to Minister Darragh O’Brien in August, said: “Basically, the Taoiseach dismissed Joe and Cathal. He was rude. He didn’t give a continental about us. … He was so dismissive. It really insulted me. … It was an insult to you, Cathal and to Joe.
“As far as I’m concerned, ye are doing as much as ye can. If the minister who’s in charge of the department is not in charge, he shouldn’t be there. Because I know – and you know, Cathal – as teachers, that if the Minister for Education tells us, ‘You must do this in the school’, we then must do it.
“[Housing Minister] Darragh O’Brien was a lovely man when he came down to my house, and he promised to me that within weeks, we would have a scheme covering County Clare.
“That was on August 27 and I am sick to death – and I’ve told you Cathal and Joe and Timmy – I am sick to death of being fobbed off. And, to me, Micheál Martin was downright insulting to Cathal and to Joe.”
Kilkishen homeowner Danny Moloney expressed the anger of more than 50 homeowners at the fact that Clare still doesn’t have access to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme.
“Darragh O’Brien is making a complete fool of us and our Oireachtas members,” he said.
Newmarket-on-Fergus man, Joe O’Donnell, who was among the homeowners to meet Minister O’Brien informally when he attended the Hanleys’ home in Drumline, questioned Deputy Crowe over his voting intentions in relation to the new grant scheme.
“The revised scheme in its present form, are you going to vote for that?” he asked the Fianna Fáil TD.
“Is that going to go through the Dáil, even though it’s worse than the last one?”
Deputy Crowe was non-committal in his response.
“The revised scheme as presented on Tuesday… There’s a review built into that. There’s an annual review, and actually there’ll be a review, most likely, before the scheme opens up.”
Mrs Hanley, who invited Clare’s seven Oireachtas members to the meeting said she appreciated the attendance of Deputies Crowe and Carey, Senators Timmy Dooley and Martin Conway and Mayor of Clare PJ Ryan.
“I invited all of the Oireachtas members, and for the second night – I’m not reading an apology tonight – I read one the last night from Michael McNamara but unfortunately, he couldn’t come either tonight,” she said.
“And he has said nothing on your behalf. He spoke once at the very beginning after Seamus and myself met him above and I hounded him, so I’m not impressed. [Senator] Róisín Garvey had something else on and [Deputy] Violet Anne [Wynne] is sick.”
“I do appreciate what Timmy and Joe and Martin and Cathal are doing, I certainly do,” she continued.
“But lads, you’re going to have to take on the Department and the officials and tell Darragh O’Brien to lead the Department. He’s supposed to be a leader, and if he’s not able to lead and direct his staff, he shouldn’t be in the job.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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