Mica redress scheme needs to show ‘flexibility’, EU committee says

European Parliament committee conducts three-day visit to Ireland to examine mica controversy

The Government’s redress scheme for the owners of homes damaged by mica defects in concrete blocks should show more “flexibility”, a visiting delegation from a European Parliament committee has said.

The committee on petitions has undertaken a three-day visit to Ireland to examine issues raised about the redress scheme. The mica controversy has seen thousands of homes, mainly in northwest counties such as Donegal and Mayo, start to crumble and crack as a result of defective concrete blocks.

The Government expanded a multibillion-euro redress scheme for homeowners in late 2021 to cover 100 per cent of the repair or rebuilding costs of homes up to a maximum of €420,000.

Dolors Montserrat, a Spanish MEP who chairs the EU petitions committee, told a press conference in Dublin on Wednesday that the group met many homeowners who expressed “major concerns” about the scheme.


Ms Montserrat said affected homeowners raised issues with the “financial burden” the scheme places on applicants, as well as “red tape” and the “slow progress of the process”.

The redress scheme should show more “flexibility” to applicants and take better account of the financial burden of costs associated with applying, she said. Under the current scheme, homeowners have to “advance” some of the costs, which she said is a challenge for older people.

“We don’t want the families to carry on their backs the advance finance,” she said. “The plan is on the table but we have to put a better plan or improve the measures of the plan.”

Ms Montserrat, a member of the European People’s Party grouping, which Fine Gael is affiliated to, said applicants to the scheme also needed “faster help”.

People whose homes were crumbling as a result of mica in the blockwork faced “severe health, financial and social consequences,” she said, adding that the problem of mica and pyrite in homes in Ireland was a “big lesson to the rest of Europe”.

The group met Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien during their visit, who Ms Montserrat described as “very open”.

The Spanish MEP said it was too early to say whether the petitions committee would recommend any reform or change in EU legislation as a result of the visit.

The committee, which receives around 1,200 petitions a year from individuals and groups across the EU, is to prepare a report on the mica controversy following the visit, which is likely to take about three months.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times