Mica-affected homeowners should get 100% redress, says Minister

Charlie McConalogue says homeowners’ lives “blighted for many years” by something that is “not their fault”

Protesters from Donegal at the recent Fianna Fáil think-in in Cavan, calling for 100% redress for affected mica homeowners. Photograph: Dominic McGrath/PA Wire

Protesters from Donegal at the recent Fianna Fáil think-in in Cavan, calling for 100% redress for affected mica homeowners. Photograph: Dominic McGrath/PA Wire

 

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said he “absolutely believes” mica-affected homeowners should get 100 per cent redress.

“I have been working for that and will be continuing to work for that,” he said.

Pressure is building on the Government to boost aid for thousands of homeowners whose homes have been damaged by defective mica bricks, which cause walls to crumble.

Mr McConalogue said homeowners’ lives have been “blighted for many years” and they suffer “daily and nightly stress” for something that is “not their fault.”

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Although full compensation for repairs from the State would involve “undoubtedly massive costs”, Mr McConalogue said he firmly believes homeowners “need to have full assistance”.

“That is the absolute view I have been putting to my Government colleagues and will be doing now when the report comes from the working group to government and Cabinet,” he told RTÉ’ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne.

However, the Government faces escalating costs for rebuilding and repairing homes damaged by faulty mica bricks and pyrite as more councils line up to seek public funding for the work.

Speaking in the Dáil this week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said a “significantly enhanced” scheme will be needed to help the owners of severely damaged and crumbling homes with mica problems.

Mica is a mineral that can absorb and store water, resulting in excessive amounts in building blocks which over time causes cracks and crumbling in blocks.

The number of affected homeowners in counties Donegal and Mayo is estimated at between 7,000 and 8,000 “and possibly more”, according to a Government source. Claims have also been made in Mayo, Limerick and other counties.

A 2018 redress scheme opened for applications in 2020 but required owners to pay 10 per cent of costs, unlike the pyrite scheme for Dublin homes that was 100 per cent Government-funded.