CLARE’S Sinn Féin TD has sharply criticised the fact that Clare people, whose homes have defects proven to be linked to pyrite, must continue to pay Local Property Tax (LPT).
Deputy Violet Anne Wynne, who last week raised the issue in the Dáil with the Tánaiste, said the lack of action for homeowners here is a source of huge frustration. The Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is only open to Counties Mayo and Donegal and covers a maximum of 90% of remediation costs. Earlier this month, the government announced that those eligible for the scheme would get a six-year LPT waiver. Because Clare has not yet been included in the redress scheme, the LPT exemption does not apply here. Currently, at the request of the Department of Housing, Clare County Council is compiling a report on the scale of the pyrite issue here, with a view to making the case for the extension of the scheme.
“Homeowners in Clare still haven’t been included in the current scheme and that is putting them at a distinct disadvantage to their counterparts in other parts of the country,” said Deputy Wynne. “They do not have representation on the working-group established to review and report on outstanding issues within the current grant scheme.
“Rigorous analysis has shown that out of five homes core sampled in February of this year – all five have been evidenced to have pyrite present, and have been logged as Category 4 status, which means demolition is the inescapable outcome. This has been proven, empirically, by a qualified engineer yet they are still struggling for recognition and a seat at the discussion table. To say Clare homeowners affected are devastated, is an understatement.”
On the day of a huge protest in Dublin, attended by thousands affected by pyrite and mica, Sinn Féin passed a motion calling on government to cover 100% of the costs associated with remediation of homes.
“What good is it if Clare folk aren’t even included in the scheme?” Deputy Wynne asked.
“The people of Clare know what a long, protracted uphill battle it has been for the impacted communities in Donegal and Mayo, so they are eager to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. There have been considerable delays in getting recognition and there has yet to be any financial remediation – even though the gravity of this issue has been slowly revealing itself over many years.”
Deputy Wynne was dismissive of the process the Department initiated to look into the possibility of extending the redress scheme to Clare.
“The delay tactics being used by the Department are deeply frustrating,” she said. “The recent announcement to give six-year exemption of Local Property Tax (LPT) to Donegal and Mayo families is insult to injury as Clare families also deserve this good will gesture but have been excluded yet again. I’m calling on Minister O’Brien to accelerate the process of including Clare homeowners in the current scheme. This is an issue of equality – Clare people are just as entitled to 100% redress as homeowners elsewhere in the country.”