Mica owners say ‘100%’ redress scheme will not cover all costs

TD who raised possibility of resigning gives ‘cautious welcome’ to scheme

Chris Scott in the bathroom of his mica-affected home in Shroove, Inishowen, Co Donegal. Photograph: Joe Dunne

Chris Scott in the bathroom of his mica-affected home in Shroove, Inishowen, Co Donegal. Photograph: Joe Dunne

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Homeowners affected by the mica defective blocks scandals have reacted angrily to the revised redress scheme, saying they will still have to contribute large sums to rebuild their homes.

The Government’s scheme, costing €2.2 billion and heralded by Taoiseach Micheál Martin as an “unprecedented State intervention”, left some of the 7,500 homeowners in Donegal and Mayo “devastated” and “disappointed” as they still face contributing large sums to rebuild their homes.

While Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the scheme was being increased to 100 per cent redress, mica homeowners and campaigners said people facing the demolition and rebuilding of their homes would still have to contribute tens of thousands of euro to the cost.

Under the scheme, homeowners rebuilding houses will be offered €145 per square foot for the first 1,000 feet of their home, dropping to €110 per square foot for the second 1,000 feet and €100 per square foot thereafter. These figures will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Michael Doherty, spokesman for the Mica Action Group, said the owner of a 2,400 square foot home – the average size of homes affected in the mica scandal – would have to contribute €65,000 to the cost of a rebuild.

“That is a big issue for us. That has effectively undermined us again,” he said.

Chris Scott, who is rebuilding his mica-affected home near Greencastle in Co Donegal, said the way the scheme was designed meant that it “isn’t going to satisfy everybody”.

“We will be out of pocket, there is no doubt about that,” he said.

Other counties

While the Department of Housing has not ruled out affected homeowners in other counties being added to the scheme in future with Government approval, no other counties beyond Donegal and Mayo were included for now, despite representations from other counties.

Martina Cleary, chairwoman and founder of the Clare Pyrite Action Group, said it was “absolutely disgraceful” that homes in Clare, where at least 200 are affected, were not included.

“We are left out in the cold,” she said.

The prospect of the Government losing a TD over the mica scandal receded on Tuesday night.

Fine Gael TD for Donegal Joe McHugh gave the scheme a “cautious welcome” three weeks after saying he would “consider all options” including the possibility of quitting the party if the scheme did not meet the expectations of affected homeowners.

Other Government TDs, who had supported the demands of homeowners, gave their support to the scheme.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, a Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal, said it was a “strong overall scheme” that would satisfy the demands of campaigners and “stand the test of time”.

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