A MOTHER living in a mica-crumbling home with nowhere else to go fought back tears yesterday as she told of how she could be just days away from being evicted.
Donna Gamble lives in Liskey, Ballindrait, with her 11-year-old son.
A homeowner, Donna’s mortgage repayments fell into arrears following the breakdown of her marriage.
Her home is severely mouldy and rain is seeping in through the growing cracks caused by mica.
Speaking to the Donegal News Donna said she is in a Catch-22 situation of not being able to sell her home because of the arrears and not being eligible to join the council’s housing list because she is a homeowner.
She said the situation is having an awful impact on her son, who asks her every day if they are going to lose their home.
“I’m at my wit’s end. I just don’t know what I am going to do. I can’t turn left or right.
“When my marriage broke down I fell behind in my mortgage repayments on my own. I approached my bank for help with the repayments, but the bank didn’t help me. I approached the Council and they told me I can’t join the housing waiting list because I already own a house. I also can’t sell the house because of the arrears and because it has mica.”
Donna, a student in Atlantic Technological University (ATU) in Letterekenny, said she received a letter on Monday informing her court proceedings are being issued against her.
“The bank is going to repossess my home. I have absolutely nowhere to go. My son and I are at the stage now that we are going to be thrown out of our home and we will be homeless. We were already in a very tough situation because of mica.
“My son is taking it very bad. I made the decision to be honest with him about it. Every day he asks me, ‘are we going to lose our home?’”
Meanwhile, prominent mica campaigner Paddy Diver said mica-affected families are being plunged into further despair because of soaring energy costs and the concrete levy. Last week’s Budget introduced a 10 per cent levy on concrete products with the intention to offset the cost of the Mica Grant scheme.
Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Brion has urged the government to abandon what he described as a “badly designed levy” on concrete products, which would “punish” first time buyers and also push small building contractors “over the edge”.
His party debated a Dáil motion on Tuesday evening.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Mr Diver said the situation is taking its toll on people’s mental health. He said marriages are breaking under the strain.
“There is so much despair among families at the minute. There is pressure coming from everywhere. Marriages are splitting up over the pressure from mica, and now added to that we have soaring energy costs pushing up fears. Mica homes are already too hard to heat, and the price of coal and electric is going up.”
He said he knows of parents who are dressing their children in double or even treble layers of clothing to keep them warm.
“Families are living in horrendous conditions. There is absolutely no emergency accommodation for mica-affected families. Mental health is really starting to suffer now.”