By Emma Ryan
DONEGAL councillors have called for the creation of helpful and informative resources to help support defective block homeowners with their applications to the new scheme.
At last week’s meeting of Donegal County Council, two motions were submitted asking for more support to be made available to affected homeowners.
Cllr Paul Canning asked the Council to initiate public information webinars with a view to sharing information on how the scheme is delivered and how it works, in order to help homeowners work their way through the application process.
In a similar tone, Cllr Rena Donaghey proposed that the Council takes proactive steps to ensure widespread public awareness and understanding of the recently introduced Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme.
To achieve this, she suggested promotion and provision of information on council platforms including the website and social media channels and the creation of an information leaflet containing frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the defective block scheme.
The leaflet will be designed to present complex information in a clear, concise, and easily digestible format, ensuring that residents can make informed decisions about their participation in the scheme.
She suggested the leaflet along with comprehensive details about the Defective Block Scheme, be distributed to every household within the County.
The councillors believe it is vitally important for accurate information to be provided to local residents.
Cllr Paul Canning said the webinars should run along with the application process and be created in laymans terms so people can easily understand the content.
“The webinar should have a pause and save option, and also a question and answer section within the webinar.
“Forget about the jargon, put it in laymans terms because now that we have a scheme, we need to get the process going,” said Cllr Canning.
Cllr Donaghey said her motion was similar to Cllr Canning’s which shows there is a real need for resources.
“I want to thank the staff in the defective block scheme because it was a mammoth task and the amount of patience and work that went into this was phenomenal.
“We need to give the defective block families all the help we can – step by step – all throughout the stages from start to finish,” said Cllr Donaghey. Cllr Donal ‘Mandy’ Kelly seconded the motion and said anxiety and stress is impacting homeowners lives everyday and some people are “making matters worse by giving out false information.”
“It is very important that people are getting the right and accurate information.
“It needs to be in laymans terms so people can understand it and should go through An Post to every single household in Donegal.
“These measures will empower people to make decisions and the people of Donegal deserve to have these answers,” said Cllr Kelly.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said, “The Council is considering the use of other communication and information mechanisms that would be helpful.
“This would include further utilising our official communication channels, social media, including the use of potential webinars where it can be helpful for homeowners to work their way through the process.
“This would be particularly helpful for example in going through the process of making an application, as it would appear to date that there are some early challenges in this regard.
“In conclusion, while there has already been significant information made available, the Council will be making further arrangements as outlined in the motion, where we can be of practical assistance.”