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Deputy Cathal Crowe

TD confident of access for Clare to blocks redress

CLARE’S Fianna Fail TD has insisted that the Minister for Housing remains “committed in principle” to extending the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme to this county.
Deputy Cathal Crowe also reaffirmed his belief that this will happen before Christmas. “I can’t see why the announcement can’t be made on the very same day the minister launches the updated grant scheme,” he said. “I’ve met and spoken by phone to Minister O’Brien a number of times since September and he’s confident there won’t be any delays.”
Deputy Crowe’s comments come after further confirmation that the Department of Housing is to query the county council’s application to access the grant scheme.
Last week, a written response was sent by the Department to Deputy Joe Carey.
In recent days, Deputy Crowe received a formal reply from the housing minister, confirming that aspects of the council’s report on defective blocks in Clare are to be probed.
The Fianna Fail TD was told by the minister that: “A formal response to the submission from Clare County Council will issue shortly from my Department. My officials have recently updated Clare County Council in that regard.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Violet Anne Wynne has also received a response to questions over the Department’s review of the Clare report.
Outlining the timeframe, the minister told her: “My Department received both a written and electronic submission from Clare County Council, dated 23 July 2021, requesting the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme to County Clare.
“A written acknowledgement of this submission subsequently issued to the Council on 3 August 2021. This acknowledgement informed the Council that my Department would review the submission and also sought a detailed breakdown of costs associated with the report.
“A breakdown of costs associated with the report was received electronically from Clare Co Council on 28 September, 2021. A formal response to the submission from Clare County Council will issue shortly from my Department.
“My officials spoke to colleagues in Clare County Council on 8 October 2021 in that regard.”
Both TDs were also told that any extension of the scheme will be part of wider discussions with government colleagues. Minister O’Brien said that: “following on from my receipt of the Report of the Working Group on Defective Concrete Blocks I will shortly be bringing proposals to Government”.
Commenting on the response to his Parliamentary Question, Deputy Crowe said he is still confident of a prompt response to the Clare application. “It looks as if the Clare application is set to be approved in [a total timeframe of] five to six months,” he said.
“That’s in huge contrast to the experience of homeowners in Mayo and Donegal. The minister has given an assurance that changes to the scheme will also benefit Clare homeowners and I would expect the revised terms of the scheme to be announced imminently, certainly in the month of November.”

by Fiona McGarry

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