Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty has called on the Government to ‘stop dithering’ and act by bringing forward credible financing solutions to assist homeowners in Donegal affected by defective concrete blocks.
He says those impacted by the Mica scandal have had their lives destroyed, and have been failed by the redress scheme brought forward by Government.
“I and my colleague Deputy Mac Lochlainn have raised these issues consistently with the Government, Central Bank and banking sector. So many face significant funding shortfalls to rebuild their homes and lives and face significant upfront costs that are not supported by the scheme.” according to Deputy Doherty.
The Donegal TD describes the ongoing situation as ‘unsustainable’, suggesting:
“There must be bespoke arrangements to address significant finance shortfalls including the provision of bridging finance. The banking industry has brought forward proposals to provide bridging finance to address these upfront costs that are not provided for under the scheme. These proposals have been with the Government for over a month now. There is no more time for dithering and delay – households cannot afford.”
Below is the response Deputy Doherty has received from Finance Minister Michael McGraph:
‘I fully understand the difficult situation faced by homeowners whose houses are affected by defective concrete blocks.
The Government response to this issue is led by my colleague – the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage – who has put in place a scheme of financial support to help affected homeowners. As remedial works progress, homeowners will be eligible to apply for grant payments in stages, on submission of interim valuation certificates by a competent building professional.
However, I am aware that some homeowners have identified potential challenges with commencing remediation work in circumstances where advance payment is required by building professionals prior to receipt of the first grant payment and despite confirmation of homeowners’ eligibility for the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme.
Along with my Government colleagues, I will continue to work to ensure that the Scheme operates as effectively and consistently for all affected homeowners. I have therefore asked my officials to engage with stakeholders and officials in the Department of Housing to identify options for addressing the issue raised, with the overall aim of supporting homeowners.’