Deputy McHugh calls for increased Redress cap

by Kate Heaney

DONEGAL Deputy Joe McHugh made an impassioned plea to the Minister for Housing in the Dáil on Tuesday night, appealing for the government to increase the cap on the defective block homes scheme by ten percent.

He cited the humanitarian cost, the trauma and the anguish families have endured for the past 10 years, and called for the cap to be increased to allow all homeowners to rebuild their homes.


The cap, which is currently at €420,000, leaves around 50 per cent of affected homeowners €100,000 short, meaning a substantial number cannot contemplate fixing their homes. The legislation allows for it to be increased by 10 per cent at the annual review in June.

The Carrigart man, who lost the party whip because he failed to vote for the government redress scheme which he saw as flawed, told Minister of State Malcolm Noonan in the Dáil that while government say there is no robust data there is human data.

“Trauma over 10 years, anguish for families struggling and people want to see light at the end of the tunnel. I would ask officials to take seriously the human impact of what is happening here.

“We were hit with Brexit and Covid-19 on our shores and we dealt with them immediately but we did not deal with this immediately. We must have the focus of all departments at the highest level,” Deputy McHugh said.

He pleaded that homeowners be included around the table in the new expert review group scheduled for June 29, stressing that “it is the people who have gone through this who are the true experts in their own right”.

He asked deputies to visualise their homes, irrespective of size.

“They bought their blocks in good faith and now the house is falling down and is worthless.


“You knock your house down and continue to pay the mortgage on a house that does not exist. You need to raise around €100,000 so add to your mortgage. Is this fair? I think everyone in this house knows the answer to that.”

He pleaded for the minister to show empathy in these final months of his department.

“Use the understanding of your wisdom and efforts to recognise the human condition and try to bring of bit of light at the end of the tunnel and give the ten per cent.

Deputy McHugh told the Donegal News yesterday that Taoiseach Simon Harris wants him to come back into the Fine Gael party fold but

Deputy McHugh is still insisting on the two items he wants included.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you bring it up, there just seems to be arguments against the proposal which has no extra cost.

“I put on record last night that the government are holding the line because they don’t know where this scheme is going. If they hold the line and are not open to conversation, the frustration builds.

“I believe the homeowners will get justice eventually but at what cost and I am not speaking financially,” he added.

He compared the August 2017 floods in Inishowen when the government immediately threw €20 million at the problem and half of the Cabinet visited the area within a week because it was treated as an emergency.

“Until this is treated like a humanitarian emergency things will not improve,” he concluded.

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