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Mica home owners may have to pay towards repair bill

FAMILIES living in mica-affected houses could be asked to pay as much as ten per-cent of the cost of repairing their homes.

The dramatic development emerged as speculation mounted that an announcement on a redress scheme could be made when the Cabinet meets this Tuesday.

Eileen Doherty of the Mica Action Group said they were unaware of any plans to ask families to cover part of the cost. She said that if it was the case then it would be rejected completely by families.

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A compensation scheme for families whose homes in Dublin and North Leinster were devastated by the presence of the mineral pyrite was set up in 2013. The Government agreed to cover the entire cost of repairing more than 1,000 pyrite homes and the bill to date has been in excess of €70 million.

“If it comes to us that we have pay some of the money then that would be utterly rejected,” the Mica Action Group said.

The bill would run into thousands of euro for each of the householders involved.

Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn met with Minister of State for Housing, Damien English on Wednesday.

Mr Mac Lochlainn was told that long-awaited mica redress scheme had been “bumped off the agenda” on a number of occasions because of Brexit.

He said that he would not accept homeowners in Donegal being asked to contribute to the cost of repairs when the pyrite scheme was 100 per-cent Government funded.

“The people of Dublin and North Leinster availed of the pyrite scheme and I would expect the people of Donegal to be afforded the same level of redress,” Senator Mac Lochlainn said.

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Minister Damien English did confirm again that a mica redress scheme has been signed off on. What the scheme will look like has not been disclosed but it is understood the Government is steeling itself for a bill that could run to tens of millions of euros.

Estimations suggest five to ten per-cent of homes impacted by defective mica blocks will have to be rebuilt with the rest requiring some level of reconstruction work.

Senator Padraig Mac Lochlainn said that while he was content a redress scheme was on the horizon, he was not happy that it was being superseded by Brexit.

“I asked Damien English face-to-face on Wednesday if there was a scheme and he said yes, it is there and it is done. The reason it has not come across yet is because of the Brexit issue which he says has bumped it off the agenda on a number of occasions.

“I told him I am not happy about that but all I can do is report that the scheme is going ahead.

“I am conscious that there are potentially thousands of homes impacted here and that people are very distressed. But my responsibility is to get this over the line and I am not going to play the political condemnatory game. The minister is saying it is going to happen and if that is not the case then I will unleash political hell as I’m sure every other political representative in Donegal will,” Senator Mac Lochlainn added.

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