DONEGAL County Councillors are being urged by defective block campaigners to travel to Dublin to demand a meeting with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.
Campaigner Tomas Devine is calling on Dongeal’s 37 elected councillors to go to Dáil Éireann on February 8 to have a “frank and face-to-face discussion” with Minister O’Brien. He said those affected by mica in Donegal were no longer prepared to “take the crumbs from the table” and want nothing less than 100 per cent redress.
“We have decided that instead of asking thousands of people to go back to Dublin again as it is not really fair but it’s time our 37 elected councillors, including our mayor, did so.
“It’s time they demand a meeting with Darragh O’Brien to tell him that we are not taking crumbs from the table any more. This situation is out of hand.”
Mr Devine said mica-affected homeowners in Donegal have been campaigning and fighting for well over a decade.
He said the piecemeal progress is no longer acceptable and said he fears it is only a matter of time before tragedy strikes.
“I have been in to homes where I have seen grown men and women cry, and elderly people whose homes are about to fall down around them and they have absolutely nowhere to go or nowhere to put a caravan.
Renting in this county is not an option. With rental prices soaring the way they are, the €15,000 rental accommodation allowance to secure alternative housing will not be enough. What do they do then?
“We need 100 per cent redress. The homeowner built their home on good faith but the government has failed them. It’s time to put that right once and for all.”
Mr Devine said it is anticipated mica campaigner Paddy Diver and Chair of the Mica Action Group Lisa Hone will accompany the councillors to Dublin. Bus(es) are to be provided.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Paddy Diver said this trip to Dublin is not a mass protest.
“It is taking a step back to see what our representatives are doing for us instead of the people.
“It has been the people that have done all the hard work bar a few councillors. It is the homeowners that have done all the campaigning, bringing the issue to the fore and going and doing all the homework.
“We want the councillors to represent the homeowners and do something for us this time,” he said.
A homeowner in Gort na Greine in Letterkenny, which is one of many estates yet to be taken in charge and which suffers very frequent water outage and pressure issues, said the forthcoming meeting will also provide an opportunity to put those matters to the minister.
“I believe these issues are under Minister O’Brien’s remit. Myself and other residents are living in extreme conditions, it is truly shocking to go without a water supply for days on end at a time in this day and age.
“We want the councillors to stand outside Dáil Éireann and demand a full, frank and face to face meeting with Darragh O’Brien. They need to tell their paymasters this is not happening any more.”
Meanwhile, there has been a push for volunteers to come forward to discuss how they can best contribute. A focus group structure is being put in place to ensure everyone’s skills and time are put to good use.
If you are interested in playing a more active role, the Mica Action Group will be holding a meeting in the Station House Hotel in Letterkenny on Tuesday, February 2 at 7pm.
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